Guns N' Roses Streams Unreleased Album For Free

Guns N' Roses today officially debuted "Chinese Democracy," its unreleased album from 1991, on MySpace, where it's available for free streaming.

The move comes a few months after Kevin Cogill, a blogger at Antiquiet, was arrested and charged with a felony for leaking nine of the album's 14 tracks. Cogill, a former Universal Music employee, recently agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor and is not expected to face jail time, according to Wired.

No one seriously disputes that Guns N' Roses has the right to decide when and where to release its tracks. Still, one has to wonder whether the government's decision to arrest and prosecute Cogill, for leaking tracks that arguably served to create buzz for the 17-year-old album, is the best use of taxpayer money.

Yes, maybe Guns N' Roses lost some potential sales from people who downloaded the tracks for free. Then again, groups like Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails have proven that many people will buy tracks even when they're available as free downloads.

Consider, people bought 1.75 million hard copies of Radiohead's "In Rainbows" -- more than either 2003's "Hail to the Thief" (which sold 990,000 copies) or 2001's "Amnesiac" (900,000) -- after the band made the entire album available for free downloading.

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