There’s an excellent article on the New Yorker called “The Man Who Broke The Music Business” which tells the story of Bennie Lydell “Dell” Glover, a man who started as a temporary employee at a CD-manufacturing plant in rural North Carolina in the mid-’90s and ended up being responsible for more than 2,000 pre-release leaks from such high-profile major label artists as Kanye West, Eminem and 50 Cent. He didn’t just leak hip-hop, though; Glover also was responsible for leaking Substream favorites like Fall Out Boy’s Infinity On High, Queens Of The Stone Age’s Rated R and Take Off Your Pants And Jacket by Blink-182 [pictured] among countless others. Here’s an excerpt of the story, which you can read in full here:
From 2001 on, Glover was the world’s leading leaker of pre-release music. He claims that he never smuggled the CDs himself. Instead, he tapped a network of low-paid temporary employees, offering cash or movies for leaked disks. The handoffs took place at gas stations and convenience stores far from the plant. Before long, Glover earned a promotion, which enabled him to schedule the shifts on the packaging line. If a prized release came through the plant, he had the power to ensure that his man was there.
The pattern of label consolidation had led to a stream of hits at Universal’s factory. Weeks before anyone else, Glover had the hottest albums of the year.
Glover wasn’t only in the business of leaking albums, though; in fact, he was a physical media bootlegger, selling pirated CDs and DVDs all around town. His illegal activities eventually caught up with him, though: He was arrested by the FBI in 2009 and pled guilty to one count of felony conspiracy to commit copyright infringement. His punishment for having been personally responsible for leaking upwards of 2,000 albums and selling countless counterfeit copies of movies and music? Three months in prison. Another excerpt:
[Glover had] never been sure exactly what damage leaking music actually caused the musicians, and at times he seemed to regard it as something less than a crime.
“Look at 50 Cent,” he said. “He’s still living in Mike Tyson’s house. Ain’t nobody in the world that can hurt them.” He continued, “It’s a loss, but it’s also a form of advertising.” He paused. “But they probably lost more than they gained.”
The whole piece is an excellent read, so you should check it out!