Vijay Iyer’s Album “Mutations” Got Leaked Early Then Pirated. Here’s What Happened Next.

Vijay-iyer-mutationsWhile some people might think that music pirates wouldn't be that interested in a classical album from a well-known jazz pianist, the recent leak of Vijay Iyer's "Mutations" is a reminder that piracy happens in all genres. When Iyer discovered that his album had been leaked and then pirated a few weeks before release, he contacted his manager Steve Cohen. Cohen then turned to Topple Track who provided a low-cost, immediately implemented solution to what initially seemed like a devastating blow.

Vijay Iyer is kind of a big deal and the release of "Mutations" received a preview at Grammy.com and positive reviews in the NY Times and WSJ.comtwice, among many other responses.

You can find out more about "Mutations" in the minidoc below:


Vijay Iyer – Mutations

A few weeks before the release of "Mutations," Vijay Iyer discovered that his album had not only been leaked but that pirates had responded enthusiastically. So he contacted his manager Steve Cohen, President of Music + Art Management.

I spoke with Cohen yesterday who said that he previously had a general awareness that there was some pirating going on but, despite Iyer's status, assumed it wasn't really a big problem for a jazz musician and certainly not one that would affect a much heralded release.

But after a quick search of Google, Cohen realized that one aspect of the problem was that some search results for "Mutations" were getting crowded by and even overwhelmed by links to content lockers and related sources for pirated content.

Cohen related that in the past he would have simply turned to the record label which, in this case, did get involved. But after talking to Topple Track, whose founders share his office, he also asked them to put their exceptionally low-priced service to work for them.

Soon Topple Track was finding a much larger number of links and files and issuing more takedown orders than the label because, as Cohen put it, they're specialists.

Topple Track's Approach to Fighting Piracy

I also spoke with Topple Track cofounders Zach Marburger and Brandon Cook who said they basically got a phone call and in a few minutes their system was tracking down and sending DMCA takedown notices to content lockers (to remove files) as well as sites and search engines linking to such sources (to remove links).

Responding quickly is especially important for dealing with piracy of new releases because that's when the biggest flurry of illegal content tends to be traded. While Topple Track will continue to automatically monitor the situation, the weeks up to and immediately after the album's release were key.

Now a search for "vijay iyer mutations mp3" returns results dominated by links to legitimate sources and coverage with the bottom of the screen full of links removed at Topple Track's request.

You'll still find a few of what appear to be links to pirated content with torrents multiplying like rabbits but the takedown game is one of whack-a-mole.

As the Topple Track cofounders pointed out, piracy can't be eliminated but key problems can. They focus on low-cost, automated solutions that are particularly good at such things as identifying and removing links to pirated content on Google which is a major directory for such content.

No genre is free of piracy if people care about the music. But there are tools for addressing it in a proactive manner such as YouTube's Content ID and Topple Track.


Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/Facebook) is currently relaunching All World Dance. To suggest topics about music tech, DIY music biz or music marketing for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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  1. Ok, so if Topple Track is so good, then why is the Piratebay still working?… Nobody could ever remove content from the biggest torrent site, of course you can send DMCA or whatever messages, they will laugh on it… BTW I just searched “Vijay Iyer” on the Piratebay, and they have his album LOL

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