In 2002, Eminem’s “The Eminem Show” was leaked weeks ahead of schedule. It was a landmark in the piracy movement, making labels panic- The Eminem Show was the first unreleased CD to hit the second “most played album” spot, according to Gracenote. Like now, eight years ago, analysts found piracy’s effect hard to identify. Would the leak serve as marketing through the hype, or would it cause a decline in album sales? Two years previous, “The Marshall Mathers LP” had also been leaked, but hit a record in sales (10.2 million in the US). As it turns out, The Eminem Show, despite rampant piracy- and despite being banned from Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer- sold a total of 9.8 million copies in the US alone. Among other accomplishments, it became the best selling album of the year, just as his previous album did two years before. Eminem’s label and the album’s promoters had worked fast to combat the piracy, however. Because of the leak, the album was released ahead of schedule and slightly cheaper. It is still difficult to determine which actions effected the sales of both albums.
Since 2002, Eminem has released 3 albums- all of which have been leaked. In 2008, several unfinished tracks (due to be released on 2009’s “Relapse”) were leaked. In an interview with Billboard, Eminem expressed his irritation:
“[I’m] really heated. It wasn’t close to finished, and it even has me doing guide vocals for Dre as a suggestion of how he could lay his verses down. It’s like someone catches you peeping in your window before you got the Spider Man costume all zipped up! Nobody is supposed to see that. We are gonna finish it up though and get it out there how it’s supposed to be.”
Eminem was named the top-selling artist of the decade.