Apparently, David Guetta isn’t a guy you want to cross. Despite his seemingly laid-back nature and endearingly awkward dance moves, Guetta reacted strongly last week when hackers leaked his new single with Nicki Minaj and Flo Rida “Where Them Girls At,” hiring an ex-Pentagon investigator to track down the culprits. It’s a totally badass move for sure, but we don’t think we’re the only ones who consider it a little over the top. That’s why we’re compiling evidence our own OurStage Investigation (sans Pentagon help) to figure out why, exactly, the 43-year-old beatsmith responded so strongly to the thievery and determine if he’s guilty of overreacting.
Exhibit A: Hackers suck, the track wasn’t finished and the thieves added their own finishing touches.
First, the obvious: leaking music is completely and 100 percent illegal. And not only that, it’s just kind of a crappy thing to do. While fans appreciate hearing a new record a few weeks in advance, the pleasure of rolling out new material should go to the artist who toiled to create it. Guetta’s case is even worse, as the track that was leaked was still an unfinished cut and not a representation of his best work. These hackers even went so far as to change parts of the song and say it was Guetta’s. So yeah. Maybe a little rage is justifiable.
Exhibit B: Guetta isn’t the only artist fighting back.
Earlier this month, the California man who violated federal copyright law by uploading Kanye West’s Graduation before it was released pleaded guilty to distributing pirated music. The Beverly Hills Courier reports that 29-year-old Richard Franco Montejano could “face up to five years imprisonment, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000 when he is sentenced July 25.” Looks like Guetta isn’t alone it wanting a little justice.
So far, all evidence points to Guetta’s reaction being a realistic one. But then again…
Exhibit C: This happens to everyone. And we mean everyone.
There’s no arguing that it totally sucks when someone leaks your music online. But to be honest, albums leak more often than not these days. The Beastie Boys saw the clean version of Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 leak in late April. Tyler, the Creator leaked about three fake versions of the highly anticipated Goblin before the thing actually leaked a week before its scheduled release. Hell, Skrillex had two laptops with his new album on it stolen from his Milan hotel, and you don’t see him bringing in the National Guard.
Exhibit D: There are ways to combat leaks without hunting down the uploader.
When Hot Sauce’s clean version leaked, Mike D and co. didn’t waste time finding the culprit. They just slapped the album up on their Web site, saying, “as a hostile and retaliatory measure with great hubris we are making the full explicit aka filthy dirty nasty version available for streaming on our site.” The last two albums from Jersey pop-punks Man Overboard have leaked early, and the band responded by immediately putting them for sale on their BandCamp page. Maybe there’s a message for Guetta hidden in there—just save the cash you were going to use on pentagon investigators or fancy lawyers and start selling the album early.
Guetta Verdict: Guilty. If not of overreacting, then definitely of executing a clever publicity stunt to drum up some chatter regarding the new single. And with the combined star power of Nicki Minaj and Flo Rida, we’re pretty sure “Where Them Girls At” will still do just fine.