When albums splurge out online before the official release date, normally you could not contain the angers of the record company; even with a large metal bucket with a self-sealing lid. "We must strip naked the journalist/presser/passer-by who did this and beat them until they cry" is pretty much the line.
But what about if the it's the label itself that bungles? Let's say, for example, that Universal managed to botch the release of its biggest album this year, U2's No Line On The Horizon?
UMG’s Australian branch is being blamed for accidentally leaking the album, offering high quality downloads for purchase from their digital music site Getmusic.au. The downloads, which were being sold roughly two weeks before the album’s February 27th Irish release date, were available for about two hours before the error was noticed, Forbes reports. By then, it was too late. The album had been downloaded and passed along via P2P servers and message boards.
Hilariously, Universal hadn't even trusted journalists with review copies; at preview parties, journos were frisked for recording devices.
Universal appear to have chucked in the towel; the album is now streaming from the U2 MySpace - for anyone impatient with an audio-stream ripping program to make their own, early, cost-free version.