Obscure Canadian Band Mistakes Spam for 100K Illegal Downloads
Tilbury made his discovery after doing a Google search for the band's downloads on BitTorrent. That led him to a graphic on LimeTorrents, which showed that One Soul Thrust's album had been downloaded 100,000 times. According to the Canadian Recording Industry Association, a band must sell 100,000 copies or downloads of their album, in order to achieve platinum status. Of course, because they didn't actually sell any of the pirated albums, One Soul Thrust couldn't achieve platinum status, and wouldn't see a cent of revenue.
Upon hearing the news, the band members lashed out against illegal downloaders, under the pretense that they'd been cheated out of Canadian dollars. "We paid to create that album totally out of our own pockets. People think of illegal downloading not hurting anyone, but we're real people too -- with real mortgages, real family to feed and real bills to pay," lead-singer Salem Jones told TorrentFreak. "By downloading our album from pirate sites, people have stolen from us, our families, everyone involved in the production of our album, and their families."
Then the CRIA got involved with the story, and used One Soul Thrust as a prime example of the damage that rampant piracy can wreak. TorrentFreak, however, soon realized that the band's claims of 100K downloads smelled a little fishy. Aside from their relatively small online following, One Soul Thrust's torrents literally impossible to find on any site. TorrentFreak openly wondered whether the claims were some kind of publicity stunt, before discovering the real issue: spam.
Turns out, Tilbury's statistics came from a spammy graphic on LimeTorrents, which generates inflated download numbers for any search query. Type in 'One Soul Thrust,' or 'Lady Gaga,' and the graphic will be the same -- 100,000 illegal downloads for whichever file you're looking for. It's a trick designed to increase site traffic for advertisers. And Tilbury fell for it.
TorrentFreak reached out to the band for their reaction to the fake controversy, but has yet to receive comment. Angry as the band may have been about not getting any revenue from their 100,000 downloads, it'd be interesting to see how they feel about not having any revenue nor any torrent popularity, either. Thus far, One Soul Thrust's only response has been curious tweet, which read, "So...the music thieves are after us now."