The Internet giveth and the Internet taketh away: Kid Cudi, the Cleveland-based rapper who shot up to national prominence in no small part because of the viral spread of his single “Day ‘n’ Nite,” has just been hit by a damaging Web leak. His debut album, Man on the Moon, was set for release on September 15th, but SoftSailor reports that it’s already making the rounds on torrent sites.
Kid Cudi’s ascent wasn’t just a phenomenon of the viral Web. Like nearly all successful rappers, he was aided by the viral but decidedly analog mixtape scene, thanks to the success of his 2008 mixtape A Kid Named Cudi. And unlike someone like Dane Cook, whose fanatical MySpace strategy brought him millions of friends and a revitalized career, Cudi has had the benefit of Kanye West’s patronage this past year, and was even featured on the opening track on West’s 808s & Heartbreak.
But web buzz helped. Cudi’s breakout single “Day ‘N’ Nite,” which you probably heard early this summer if you listened to a radio and/or went to a club, has more than 72 million listens on MySpace, and the top three versions of the music video have a combined 50 million plus views on YouTube. And the Crookers remix of the song, which helped fuel its popularity, was totes viral.
So, talented aspiring musicians: this ‘Internet’ thing can help you shoot out of nowhere and get the audience you deserve, fast. But then once you’re big, that same pesky Internet will burn a hole in your pocket with leaks and keep you from capitalizing off your music.
Still, there’s a dark silver lining to the whole affair for Cudi; Softsailor also reports that torrent files of Man on the Moon are being used to spread viruses. Maybe there’s something to that overused word “viral” after all.
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