US Man Charged with Stealing 100+ Songs from Recording Artists

US Man Charged with Stealing 100+ Songs from Recording Artists

A Texas man has been charged for his part in an alleged conspiracy to steal music tracks from 20 recording artists and release them online.

Christian Erazo, 27, from Austin, has been charged with aggravated identity theft, conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Between 2016 and 2017 he’s alleged to have worked with three others to target two music management companies in New York and LA.

The group is said to have obtained employee log-ins which enabled them to access the companies’ cloud storage accounts and steal over 100 songs from 20 artists that had not yet been released. They illegally accessed one company’s trove over 2300 times in just a few months, the DoJ said.

Erazo is also accused of hacking the social media account of an LA-based musician and producer and using it to send messages to recording artists and producers asking them for tracks.

The music obtained from these ventures was later released online in public forums, causing the victims financial losses, the court documents allege. In one case an entire album that had been in production for a year was effectively scrapped, potentially costing its creator $2m in lost sales.

The conspirators then allegedly tried to pin the blame for the attacks on someone else. A member of the group emailed one of the management companies claiming that an unnamed “Individual-1” was hacking the firm’s cloud storage accounts.

Erazo and others are said to have repeated the allegations to undercover officers posing as music executives, claiming he was helping them “for the love of the artists.”

He’s later alleged to have sent an email to one of the conspirators claiming the scheme was the “perfect cover-up.”

Music is big business. In June this year, world-famous band Radiohead revealed that a hacker stole lead singer Thom Yorke’s minidisc archive and was asking $150,000 in return for not releasing it. The band subsequently decided to publish the 18 hours of music themselves and donate the proceeds to a climate change group.

Source: Information Security Magazine