Aslan raised a few savvy eyebrows last week when they claimed that 25,000 people had downloaded their new covers album Uncase’d through Bittorrent sites in the six weeks since release through their label EMI.
As outlined in a press release, the band had discovered that Uncase’d had performed poorly against their previous albums and after some quick searches on the web, deduced that this is all down to people downloading the album through Bittorrent sites.
Billy McGuinness of Aslan appeared on Pat Kenny and Phantom FM last week to talk about the situation and claimed that as a result of this, along with the the decline of live music and album sales have left the band needing to reassess their future.
What if McGuinness was genuinely mistaken though? Establishing true facts and figures from illegal download sites is a particularly hard thing to quantify at the best of times and it’s easy to get wrong so how did they arrive at such a large number?
In an interview on air with Phantom FM last week, McGuinness said the band collated the total amount from sites like TorrentHub which showed download figures for Uncase’d.
The problem is these figures may not be accurate as outlined by Gambra, a member of the popular alternative music Irish forum Thumped.com. When you do a search for something which does not exist as a torrent on many of these sites, the results page throws up fake torrent links with fake statistics designed to make the owner of that site some easy ad revenue.
The fake results page I looked at as linked to by Gambra show four fake links to download Uncase’d with over 26,000 downloads of these files. Each time, you refresh the page you get different set of random numbers but the files do not exist at all. You can try the same thing with your own name and you’ll get approximately, 25-30,000 “downloads” like I did for files with names like “Niall Byrne.full.rar”.
Searches for real torrents of Uncase’d throw up two real looking ones with a significantly lower share rate than Aslan have come up with (from 2 to 17 seeders, meaning maximum 17 people offering the file at time of writing but there’s no way to tell the exact amount).
Might it be a case that Uncase’d has sold less than expected because we are in recessionary times? Maybe people are being more discerning about their music purchases these days and have decided they don’t need an Aslan covers album?
Digital attempted to contact Aslan but they could not be reached for comment.