This morning we found a very interesting email from a group calling themselves The Overdub Tampering Committee. Although we're unsure of who all is actually a member of this organization, their mission is pretty amusing. In an attempt to punish people from downloading illegal, leaked versions of new albums, the OTC has been recording subtle overdubs throughout the songs, then re-leaking them to the internet. If you have snagged a naughty copy of a leaked record from a popular artist via Soulseek, OiNK, The Pirate Bay, Limewire and various other sources, chances are you might have downloaded a copy that this group of musicians has fucked with.
So why did the musicians in the OTC decided to do such a thing? According to their recently launched blog, they said: "One of the things that's always shocked us about people 'illegally downloading' music is the blind faith that what they've downloaded is the actual finished product that the band has released (or is about to release). We download and we had this faith too. But one day, about 4 years ago, one of us downloaded a newly leaked album by a very popular band. Excitedly listening to it for the first time we noticed a very out of place death metal song in the middle of the album. The obvious genre change and the ability to check the track listing and run time for each song on a reliable website made it easy to sniff out that this leak had been tampered with. We discarded the leaked files and waited patiently for the actual release where upon we bought it in a store.
This got us thinking: what if this problem got more insidious, subtle, and widespread? What if there was a network of musicians who got a hold of albums right as they leaked, added subtle yet very much additional overdubs all over the album, and then re-leaked it to the internet? We imagined a scenario where someone would get in a car with their friend, he would put on the new _____ album, and you would say, 'Where's all the piano parts?' to which the driver would say, 'What piano parts? This album is all guitars and drums.' Finally, you would scratch your head and say, 'Not my copy!'"
The Overdub Tampering Committee mentioned that the current method of punishing illegal downloaders as criminals is a step in the wrong direction and a huge waste of time. They believe that the sheer annoyance of their tampering of albums could be enough to at least get people talking about the issue. Perhaps simply knowing that you're not listening to the true version of a record could be enough to get your cheap ass over to your local record shop or online retailer to pick up the CD.
Although your average music fan may not give a shit one way or another, it is rather funny to think about how many iPods around the world could contain popular albums with the OTC's special sauce slathered all over it. In fact, they also claim to have heard their overdubbed masterpieces on various radio stations, showing the impressive reach that illegal downloading truly has. The fact that their subtle additions to tracks are blended so well into the songs, making it less obvious that the songs have been tampered with, is pretty brilliant. It is an impressive prank that could indeed help generate a bit of chit chat about the pros and cons of downloading music, as well as what the music biz needs to do to control and utilize this method of picking up new tunes.
So who are the members of The Overdub Tampering Committee? They're remaining anonymous. What albums have they tampered with? They're not saying. Could this all be a bunch of bologna? Possibly, but the probability that they do indeed exist and have been screwing around with leaked albums for the past few years is definitely worth mentioning. You can read more about these fellas as they answer a few basic questions in a Q&A on their blog.
So what do YOU think about The Overdumb Tampering Committee? Tell us!