Just as the Offspring predicted, their upcoming album, "Conspiracy of One," is available using Napster, and a fan's Web site has posted 11 of the disc's 12 tracks.
"It's just like we said -- that it would wind up being everywhere but on our site," Jim Guerinot, the group's manager, said Friday. "I'm disappointed it wasn't our site, and it wasn't [sooner]."
Last month the Offspring nixed a plan to release the album for free on their official Web site before its November 14 commercial release because their label group, Sony Music, threatened to sue the band (see "Offspring Nix Plan To Offer Free Download Of New LP").
The Southern California punk group had planned to allow fans who downloaded the album's tracks off offspring.com to register to win $1 million. That promotion is now tied to downloading of the album's first single, "Original Prankster."
"It remains hypocritical, it remains stupid,
it remains shortsighted that instead of each one of those kids who download tracks off [Napster and fan sites] having the opportunity to win a million dollars, we keep them isolated, wherever they are, doing this by themselves, and not help create a greater community for our fanbase," Guerinot said.
The manager said the Offspring were not involved in releasing the songs prematurely, and that he is not concerned about whether Sony suspects they were. "Every other major release that has come out this year has been on Napster at least three weeks before it's in stores," he said.
Representatives at Sony could not be reached by press time.
Meanwhile, the Offspring fan site cooltohate.com, which features all but one of the album's songs as well as lyrics and guitar and bass tablatures, is getting about 3,000 to 4,000 hits a day, according to its co-webmaster, James Farid.
The Milton Keynes, England, fan, who runs the site with a friend in the United States,
said he's been uploading the songs over the past few weeks as they turn up on Napster.
"I've been finding the MP3s from Napster, generally," he wrote Friday during an online interview. "There's someone... I know who has a copy of "Conspiracy of One" and is releasing [the tracks] on MP3 one a day on Napster, but it's hard to find them as a lot of them are fake, so I have to talk to people to find the real ones."
Guerinot said he was unaware of the cooltohate.com site before Friday and said the leaks could have come from a number of sources. "Once the record's been mastered, it's in more than one person's hands."
Farid, who said he still plans to buy the album when it's released in stores, has not been contacted by the Offspring's label about the downloads. "If they did [ask me to remove the songs,] I wouldn't be in any position to argue with them. I'd probably ask [Offspring guitarist] Noodles to back me up on it as I know his e-mail address."
encouraged fans in an October 4 posting on offspring.com to check Napster for the album.
"This record rocks harder than anything we've ever done before, and there are plenty of songs for even the most mild-hearted Offspring fan," he wrote. "You hardcore fans out there are going to sh--! You're just gonna love this record. I hope you all get to hear the whole record soon. Keep searching Napster for it, it'll be there soon enough."
The track listing for "Conspiracy of One":
- "Come Out Swinging"
- Original Prankster"
- "Want You Bad"
- "Million Miles Away"
- "Dammit, I Changed Again"
- "Living in Chaos"
- "Special Delivery"
- "One Fine Day"
- "All Along"
- "Denial, Revisited"
- "Conspiracy of One"