Korn have pushed up the release date of their Take a Look in the Mirror due to an online leak, following the lead of recent moves by G-Unit and Jay-Z.
Korn's sixth album will now drop on Friday instead of November 25. It joins the ever-growing ranks of rushed releases that include albums by the likes of Metallica, Eminem, Nas and 50 Cent as artists increasingly scramble to get their music in stores before everyone's already heard it via downloading or bootlegging (see "When Jay-Z, Metallica Get Leaked: How Record Labels Deal").
But diminished album sales is only half the reason Korn are releasing the follow-up to 2002's Untouchables four days early. Take a Look in the Mirror is the first album the bandmembers produced themselves, and they want fans to hear the music as it should be (see "Korn Return To 'Sheer Hate And Anger' For New Album").
"We really wanted to put it out [early] because we want the kids to hear it the right way," frontman Jonathan Davis said. "Because when you get the album on the Internet, it's all screwed up. We produced it ourselves and we want them to hear it the way that we did it."
Davis said the webmaster for www.korn.com noticed songs "Break Some Off," "Deep Inside," "Y'all Want a Single" and "Right Now" online late last week, and the decision to bump up the release was made almost immediately. Unlike Untouchables, which leaked months before the album came out, the days that separate the leak of Take a Look in the Mirror from the scheduled release seem to indicate that someone at the manufacturing plant is the culprit.
"From our end it was cool, but once it goes out to the plant ... When you make a million records, you have boxes of them lying around, and I'm sure someone just picked one up and took it," Davis said, adding that increased security measures, such as watermarked CDs, should be implemented to discourage future leaks.
"Watermarking is like a digital fingerprint," he said, "so if it winds up on the 'Net, we know where it came from, and I think that they should do that with the plants, so we can tell which plant is to blame and make them liable for it."
As an incentive for fans to buy the album, Take a Look in the Mirror will feature an expanded CD booklet with early photos and extensive liner notes. Additionally, a limited-edition digipak version is bundled with a DVD that includes all the band's videos and some home video footage.
Still, Davis rejects the notion that most people who download the tracks for free will eventually purchase the album to get the complete package. "The hardcore people might buy the album anyway," he said, "but if people could get it for free, they'll get it. Why would they go out and buy it? They don't care about the artwork. I think kids who are downloading music are basically killing our industry."