One Soul Thrust – Who Is Lying To Them

One Soul Thrust
One Soul Thrust

There’s a rather neat sounding Canadian rock band called One Soul Thrust. They’ve got some good things going for them. Decent sound. Excellent musicianship. But…

They are having massive problems. Their first CD went Platinum. Unofficially. Supposedly it’s been downloaded 100,000 times from torrent sites. Note that I say supposedly. If you do a search on The Pirate Bay, you get no returns. You do a search on ISOHUNT and you get no returns. You do a search using Google for the term ‘One Soul Thrust’ and ‘filetype:torrent’ and get no results.

Weird. So I started digging deeper. I visited Demonoid, Torrentreactor, Fulldls, and a bunch of smaller sites that most people will have never heard about. I was not able to find one single torrent file anywhere of One Soul Thrust’s album.

OK, this was after all a Main Stream Media article. The Main Stream Media doesn’t understand the difference between a Torrent Protocol and a Gnutella Protocol, so I downloaded and installed a Gnutella protocol application called Frostwire.

Now you have to understand that there are several companies that are paid to seed the Gnutella network with garbage files. I didn’t bother to install any of the technological work arounds which would have hidden me from them. As a result, I got all of their fake answers. But that’s all I got.

Search Number One
Search Number One

This was search number one, carried out on the band’s name. note that the file sizes would have matched a single MP3 file, and that One Soul Thrust hasn’t released a Greatest Hits Album yet, only a debut album. But the fakers gave me results for the nonexistent Greatest Hits Album, along with ads for free IPads, and claimed one song was ‘BEST SONG EVER!’

Search Number 2
Search Number Two

For search number two, I was searching for the complete album. Notice again that the fakers offered me up the nonexistent ‘Greatest Hits’ album. I am looking forward to One Soul Thrust releasing a Greatest Hits Album some time, say in ten years. but it’s a bit early yet 🙂

Search Number Three
Search Number Three

For search number three I went back to looking for individual tracks. It offered me up tracks from nonexistent torrent trackers. And the tracks are probably nonexistent as well. I haven’t asked the band, but they haven’t talked about being in the studio, and they’ve been posting pretty constantly during the last two months. I’m sure if they’d been spending time in the studio that they would have mentioned it, but there’s a track that swears it’s a February 2011 release. I’ll bet the damned thing is a Windows virus. Not that it’s any concern to me, I don’t run Windows.

Now at this point I had to give up. It’s possible that their album is available on a closed tracker. If it is, I don’t have any way to check. A closed tracker is by definition, closed, and they aren’t going to give access to some curious guy like me so I can write about what I find. There’s probably dozens of other places I haven’t thought of looking. I don’t know the ‘pirate’ networks, and I don’t have the contacts. But the places I checked are the popular places. If someone’s album got downloaded 100K times, this is where it would happen, and I can’t find it there.

So like Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman on Mythbusters I’ll call the theory that One Soul Thrust’s debut album went Platinum on the torrent sites BUSTED, unless someone can supply me documentation that proves otherwise.

Is the article a lie? Not necessarily. I think the reporter got handed something, and didn’t have the skills to do the research to check the information. You’ll note that there’s no links or screen shots to back up the assertions.

Did One Soul Thrust really know what was going on? Here I’m certain that the answer is no, and I have damned solid reasons for believing this. They are a good band. Technologically, well, let’s just say that they are a little 1990s…

Take a look at their website. It’s what is commonly known as a postcard site. One page, no animation, no real attempt to attract the fans to the site. There’s not even a link to Itunes! If you want to check out, or buy their music from Itunes, click here. It’s really pretty good. I bought the album. But the point is that first thing they teach you in Ecommerce 101 is make sure there’s an easy to find BUY link on your site. You have to make it quick and easy for your customers to buy your stuff. And they don’t do it. In fact their website fails just about every single Ecommerce test in existence. The only one it passes, is that they have one.

Any band that is this technologically backward, isn’t a band that is likely to know a lot about torrents. But they are likely to believe whatever they are being told by someone they trust, and if that someone is lying to them, well, they’d believe the lies. And it’s possible that the lies go further back. I’ve spoken to their PR agent, who seems like a nice guy. Being a nice guy doesn’t make you technically capable. In fact I get the impression that he isn’t.

Right now I’ve pissed off the Band members by telling them that the website is terrible (it is) and telling the PR guy that the website is terrible (it is). So they aren’t listening to me. In fact I gather that they are pretty annoyed at me.

I’m used to people being annoyed at me. That’s normal. But they need to sit back and start asking questions. Am I the right person to be annoyed at? Exactly what is going on here? Does anyone have any documentation to prove the allegations that there have been 100K plus torrent downloads?

Because right now it’s looking more and more like a set of self serving lies dreamed up by someone trying to panic the artists into supporting tougher copyright laws. And if they are lies, who is lying, and why are they lying? Why is it so important for them to take the chance of getting caught out the way that they did this time, just to pass a law?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Regards

Wayne Borean

Wednesday March 30, 2011

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46 thoughts on “One Soul Thrust – Who Is Lying To Them

  1. The copyright maximalists love spreading misinformation, because their goal is to frighten creators into supporting “tougher” copyright law. The problem is, the tough copyright law we have now is long past benefiting the artists. The only ones who benefit from never-ending copyrights are immortal corporations and copyright collectives.

    At least Bill C-32 is dead. Woo hoo,

    1. I’ve been making that point, that the current copyright laws do not benefit the artists, for a long time. A lot of people don’t get it.

      For that matter a lot of artists are terrified. They have heard my predictions about the demise of the book publishers and the record labels, and it frightens them. They are used to having a ‘boss’ telling them what to do, and even though they stand to make a higher percentage return by dealing direct, the idea of having to do everything (cover, editing, font selection, etc.) is overwhelming to some of them.

      It’s rather like the battered wife who refuses to leave her abuser, saying ‘But I deserve it’, or ‘It’s for the good of the children’ when the only one benefiting is the abuser. And let’s be frank. I regard the publishers/record labels as abusers. They provide little of value, while taking as much as possible.

      One Soul Thrust is an independent. I’m wondering if this isn’t possibly an attempt to push them towards signing with a label. All of the label astroturfers responded with the usual ‘That’s horrible’ lines, none of them bothered to check to see if the story was actually true. Of course none of them ever bother to check if any of the stories they applaud are ever true.

      Wayne

    1. That’s a curious statement. Why am I a giant Douche Bag? For determining that there are no Torrent downloads of One Soul Thrusts Album occurring? For buying a copy from ITunes? For pointing out that their website sucks? For pointing out that the article in Cashbox is a lie? For telling the truth?

      If any of those make me a ‘Douche Bag’ I will wear the label proudly as a badge of honor.

      Wayne

  2. You’ve probably given them more publicity then they deserve. They do have a clip on Youtube that has 78 hits. (Wow, be afraid Justin Bever!) But, one of those is mine. 🙂

    1. I think they deserve the publicity – their music is pretty good. Their problem is that they don’t know the business side, I mean, not having a link to ITunes on your web page? That’s so, silly, it’s just incredible. It’s the sort of thing that someone who doesn’t know business does. They put the music in the right place. They put up the website. And then they don’t connect the two.

      It’s the details that can kill any business, and being an artist of any sort, is being a small business. They don’t teach you about that side of it in music school though. All they teach you is how to play a guitar.

      Wayne

      1. Christ, they’ve been in the biz long enough and believe me, they know the business end..this was just poor judgement to post this on many sites and make such a deal of it when in fact, there is no concrete proof..just a statement stating the numbers they perceive to have lost..I dunno bout you, but I don’t believe everything written is in fact, gospel…Hope they figure it out…

        1. ITunes will take links from any site, and if you set up an account with them, will pay you a finders fee for sales that come through your site. A friend of mine wrote a book about Mac OS X, and any he gets a referral fee for any sales through the Apple store, plus his percentage from the publisher. Neither amount is very big, but hey, it all adds up.

          So not having an ITunes link is really stupid. Really, really, stupid.

          Wayne

  3. I’ve looked around a bit, and I think you are correct.

    There is no such torrent. I’ve only found two forums with links to file-lockers (searching on the Goog). The combined views of the two forum threads are about 100. Not 100 thousand, just 100.

    There’s no way they got 100k downloads. Nobody knows about them — searching for “One Soul Thrust” on Google gives about 20k results.

    My guess is, someone is lying to them to sell them their anti-pirate services.

    1. Or to force them into the hands of one of the labels. In one of my more paranoid moments this afternoon I was constructing scenarios. One of them was that the label has some guy who works for them on a ‘Finders Fee’ basis. He finds bands, good bands. Maybe even helps put them together. Say the guy has done it for a while, he has certain skills in evaluating talent.

      So he sees some people, and they’ve got something, but maybe they are missing something too, so he talks to them, and later, he arranges for them to meet another artist, who fills in the missing spots. Now the band is grateful to him, so they take him on as PR guy, but they decide they want to be independent. Problem is he doesn’t get the big bucks unless he delivers them to the label.

      Everyone knows that illegal downloads are killing the industry, so he invents this story that 100K copies of the band’s debut album have been downloaded, which would have taken them Platinum if they’d made the sales in Canada. Since they are selling through ITunes, which is a 70% cut for the artist, this also could have earned them about $696,500.00 in the year since the album was released, which is a pretty nice chunk of change, even accounting for studio costs, mastering costs, equipment costs, etc., which the band had to pay out of pocket.

      When the band hear this, they are upset. After all, this is the guy that put them together, and has never lied to them in the past (that they know of). They trust him.

      So then some argumentative asshole walks in, and starts questioning everything. The first thing he does (about a week ago) is tell the lead singer (in private email) that the website sucks, that it looks like something from the 90’s. Now guess who probably set up the website? He then proceeds to give a detailed deconstruction, again in a private email of the problems with the website…

      Then I posted this last night.

      The band isn’t very tech savvy. They are damned good musicians (a hell of a lot better than I am), but they don’t understand technology. They also don’t understand business. You don’t run a website for a business that doesn’t have a BUY button. You have to offer your customers a place to spend their money. Your fans want to support you. So why do I have to post the freaking link for them? Why don’t they have it there themselves?

      To me it looks like they’ve been set up to fail. But hey, as I said, I’ve been feeling exceptionally paranoid today. Could be the drugs. The ones I’m taking to break my cigaret habit (Chantix) are nasty bastards. However smoking is worse. And I’ve only got four weeks to go.

      Wayne

      1. (Please take the following as constructive criticism.)

        Try apologizing, it’s the grown-up thing to do. Just tell them you are sorry, that you didn’t mean to be rude, that you are not some stupid internet psychopath, stop telling them their website sucks and try to politely and non-patronizingly explain that somebody is lying to them, which is the only thing that really matters here. A good start may be to rewrite this blogpost so it doesn’t stray from the point, which is: there have NOT been 100k pirated downloads and for some reason somebody is lying to them.

        I don’t personally know this band, nor particularly care about what happens to them (and if they don’t care either, it’s their funeral), but I think regardless of what happened between you, your suspicions do hold water and I would strongly urge them to listen to what you have to say.

        1. The Band itself hasn’t said a thing to me since I published the article. Their hired PR guy on the other hand is livid. He claims that he has screen caps that he delivered to the CRIA which prove that there were 100K torrent downloads. My response was that if he had the screen caps, he should publish them, because at present, based on the available evidence, there is no proof that 100K torrent downloads occurred.

          So I’m waiting to see if he publishes the screen caps. My personal guess is that he won’t, because they don’t exist.

          What is really curious is that Steve Kane, the President of Warner Music Canada, immediately jumped to the defense of the PR guy. Now the PR guy supposedly represents independents, the very people that Warner doesn’t particularly like all that well, because they take the money right out of Warner’s pockets, and here’s Warner’s President defending him. Odd, isn’t it?

          Wayne

  4. (Links below are in Swedish. Use your favorite translation service if you need a translation.)

    Something similar happened in Sweden about two years ago. A copyright maximalist wrote an op-ed in a major newspaper about a new band with a record which had been illegally downloaded 80000 times: http://www.expressen.se/kronikorer/lizamarklund/1.1507028/liza-marklund-trang-inte-ut-vara-musiker

    Some people tried to investigate this number, being confused that they could not find the record on any file sharing networks. The next day some people found the answer, using some comments one of the artists wrote on his MySpace page. It turned out that the number came from a search on nowtorrents.com (now defunct), a site that would give fake search results with high number of downloads, no matter what you searched for. And of course it was impossible to actually use any of the search results. When clicking on the search results you would simply go to another site where you were offered to pay for a pdf containing instructions on how to download: http://ulfhedlund.se/2009/03/23/sanning-eller-konsekvens/

    Although nowtorrents.com is now defunct, I would guess this high number of downloads came from a similar fake download search site.

  5. I found this band on Bit Torrent. I bought the album BECAUSE I found it on bit torrent. Next time, I’ll spend my money elsewhere and skip all the bitching and false accusations. You should all be ashamed of yourselves.

    1. Really? Where did you find them on Bit Torrent? I searched every Bit Torrent site that I knew of, and not one of them carried the torrent. None of them.

      And because of the sort of research I do, I know a hell of a lot of torrent sites, including a lot of sites that more people have never heard of. In other words I don’t believe you. Prove it.

      Wayne

  6. Good article. I almost forgot that Frostwire still existed, but I certainly don’t miss all those fake files.

    This whole situation really sucks for the band. I feel bad for them more than anything, because they have a perfect opportunity to win new fans, but here they are squandering it over something silly. If you’re getting 100,000 downloads, and you converted only 1% of those to purchase a $5 CD, that’s still $5,000 dollars in your pocket that you never would’ve had before Bittorrent. In the age of cheap recording, that’s more than enough to recoup costs. In fact, you could probably buy your OWN Protools setup for 5K.

    The problem is, as you pointed out, they’re absolutely terrible at using the internet to their advantage, due in part to their lack of understanding. They’re clueless, as evidenced by their 90s-inspired website, a youtube channel devoid of content, and an archaic “HELP THEY’RE STEALING FROM OUR FAMILY AND OUR FRIENDS’ FAMILIES” attitude towards downloading.

    If I found out 100,000 people had actually downloaded my music, I’d be ECSTATIC! For these guys to antagonize their own fans, it’s a huge waste of a career-making opportunity.

    Here’s what I would do if I was the band:
    1- Redo their website immediately with a Paypal Donate button and an iTunes link
    2- Offer an exclusive incentive for actually purchasing their record (autographed? private show? unreleased demos?)
    3- Make every attempt to actually interact with their fans, by collecting email addresses, social network profiles, etc… If they can get 100 new extremely loyal fans, they can fund their next album entirely on Kickstarter and they wouldn’t have to worry about recouping costs.

    I mean, they can do whatever they want. My music will ALWAYS be free to download from as many venues as possible, though. It’s a changing business model, and any artist who is stuck in the past like this will never succeed.

    1. One of the joys of not running Windows is those fake files are harmless to my system. I pity the poor bastards running Windows.

      Yeah, I pointed out all those points to the band, before I found out that the numbers were fakes, and that there weren’t any downloads to convert. They weren’t interested. They’d apparently drank too much Cameron Tilbury Kool Aid.

      Now that they know that the numbers are fake, what do they do? Cameron has made total fools of them in front of the entire country. If Cameron gets murdered, well, we have four suspects with really strong motives. God what an idiot. You’d think he would have gotten someone with some technical skills to check his findings before shooting his mouth off.

      Wayne

  7. Too bad this wasn’t about Anvil, because I suspect _they_ would be very excited to get 100,000 downloads. 😉

  8. Came here from your comment on boingboing.
    Good job in figuring this all out.
    A shame that the band & manager does not seem to be willing to accept the facts.

    What makes me sad is an article that quotes someone saying the band “lost 100k fans”
    Even if 100k people download your album and don’t pay for it. You can bet most of them are fans. And if they really had so many fans they could book a show every week and pack the venue of their choice which would earn them real money and probably far more than they would get in royalties anyway.

    1. Um, well actually in this case since they uploaded the album to ITunes themselves they would have been earning 70% of the album price, or about $7.00 per album sold, so it would have been pretty significant. Remember, they aren’t signed to a label, so if you buy a copy of the album, the money goes directly to the band, less the 30% ITunes handling charge.

      So go buy it. They won’t get rich, but at least they will know that someone cares.

      Wayne

  9. Methinks something smells very fishy here beyond the download / piracy claims. While OST may be a real band, I have to wonder if they were put up to this. In fact, I wonder if the whole idea behind this scenario was to allow Cameron Tilbury / CRIA to make unwarranted claims that they hoped would gain traction in the mainstream media in to influence public consensus and possibly legal circles up there.

    But, I could be totally off on this…

    1. I’ve been wondering whether there is more to this than we are seeing as well. The problem is I’m not a music industry expert. I do however know some, and I’ve posed the question to them. We’ll see what they come back with.

      Wayne

  10. Tilbury’s site no longer features this story, and the band has dropped their Twitter status re: music thieves. Perhaps cooler heads have prevailed?

    1. The band claimed that it wasn’t them that sent the Tweet. They didn’t explain who did, but let’s face it, a lot of people leave their computers logged on, and walk away from them. If the screensaver doesn’t request a password, well, anyone can do anything…

      As to who has been damaged, I think it’s Cameron who’s reputation took the real hit. It wasn’t the band who made the claims after all. I still don’t think we’ve heard the full story here though. It just doesn’t sound complete for some reason.

      Wayne

  11. “Over the past 35 years, The Mad Hatter (aka Wayne Borean) has held a variety of positions, in a variety of industries. In addition to be [sic] one of the few people …”

    … Can’t conjugate verbs …” Sorry. Spitting on the mat a bit 😉

    When someone doesn’t understand something (especially when it represents a semi-legitimate threat) they tend to fear it. My guess is that someone who didn’t understand how the false search hits work told them about it, they saw it, and immediately jumped to the conclusion they were being ripped off.

    Great article.

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