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Starts With A Bang

Weekend Diversion: Anti-Piracy Entertainment

“You Done Stole My Album! Uh Uh, No You Better Don’t, Hooker!“

[M]y goal is to always come from a place of love… but sometimes you just have to break it down for a motherfucker.” -RuPaul

On the one hand, you’ve got incredibly hard-working individuals producing some of the best music, movies, television and other entertaining content that exists in this world. You want to enjoy it, you want to support and encourage your favorites of the artists and content-creators out there, but on the other hand, you most likely can’t afford all of it. After all, as Donna Summer legendarily sang, She Works Hard For The Money.

When I was a kid, we’d tape movies off the tv, songs off the radio or make copies of our albums and share them around. When I was in college, we’d download bootlegged episodes of South Park and music .mp3 files without a second thought. There’s no moral dilemma when you have pretty much no money at all; you’re going to pirate your day-to-day entertainment.

Image credit: Columbia University’s American Assembly’s “Copy Culture”, by Joe Karaganis and Lennart Renkema, via

But just because pirates also purchase more than their non-pirating counterparts doesn’t mean that entertainers shouldn’t try and coax pirates into paying for their content. And it also doesn’t mean that pirates shouldn’t be made feel a little ashamed by the artists themselves. As Louis C.K.’s $5 experiment showed, people are willing to pay for their entertainment, especially if you make it easy for them and if you make it a little more personal.

More recently, Will Ferrell took to YouTube to speak to pirates directly.

But arguably the undisputed Queen of the entertainment world — I’m talking about RuPaul here — has pulled perhaps the greatest artist-against-piracy stunt I’ve ever heard of.

You see, she’s posted an entire decoy album on commonly torrented sites, and the results are the perfect combination of entertaining and shaming. Have a listen for yourself to the decoy track of Freaky Money or Sissy That Walk.

Image credit: taken from

What she’s done it take the first 20-to-30 seconds of each track, and then faded it out, and just recorded herself speaking directly to the fans. What’s her message?

Hey, who hasn’t illegally downloaded an album? But when it’s somebody that you admire or that you want to support, child! How am I gonna keep my lace fronts on point if I can’t make a living doing what I’m doing with that ‘Freaky Money’?

Sometimes chiding them, sometimes goading them, sometimes just letting them have it for piracy, this is pure entertainment gold!

Image credit: via the Huffington Post,

As she eloquently said in an interview:

“We work so hard on this music. So we thought, why not flood the torrents with a decoy album that educates consumers on why it’s important to buy music?”

And this hasn’t just worked as far as giving fans something to rave about; this is her highest charting album of all time! And many of her fans who would have simply pirated the album have been sufficiently shamed that they quickly changed their tunes.

Image credit: screenshot via

Even some anti-piracy hawkish lawyers are behind this move, and who wouldn’t be? Whether you’re a RuPaul fan or not (and, really, who isn’t?), you’ve got to appreciate the moxie and the creativity of an entire album devoted to this clever banter? To get the real album — as she implores you — head on over to iTunes.

But the irony isn’t lost if you want a copy of the decoy version; as TorrentFreak notes, you’ll have to pirate it!

Image credit: Pirate Bay screenshot, via

And that’s the most novel, creative and entertaining thing I’ve come across this week; thanks for sharing it with me!

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