Bad habits lead to...jail. Adrian Kwiatkowski is facing prison after absconding with unreleased music he reportedly hacked from singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran and hip-hop artist Lil Uzi Vert following an investigation that began in 2019.
Ed Sheeran is a polarizing musician. Some love his songs, others believe he’s a pop sellout chasing a check, and one man apparently just wanted to hack him. That man was Adrian Kwiatkowski, who authorities say hacked the “Bad Habits” singer-songwriter along with rapper Lil Uzi Vert, getting away with some of their unreleased material. Kwiatkowski, a 23-year-old from England’s Ipswich is now facing 18 months in jail for his actions, says BBC News.
“He selfishly stole their music to make money for himself by selling it on the dark web,” said Chief crown prosecutor Joanne Jakymec, as quoted by the BBC.
A search of Kwiatkowski’s laptop revealed that the hacker had 565 audio files, some of which were unreleased tracks from both musicians—two specifically belonged to Sheeran. After selling the material on the black market for cryptocurrency, reports show that Kwiatkowski made £131,000, or roughly $148,085.
Authorities launched an investigation in 2019 after multiple musicians claimed to have been hacked by someone under the pseudonym of Spirdark. After tracing Spirdark’s email and IP address to the UK, the City of London Police were alerted and Kwiatkowski was arrested that September. In addition to the 565 audio files on Kwiatkowski’s laptop, authorities found an external hard drive that contained an additional 1,263 songs by 89 artists.
Kwiatkowski admitted to receiving Bitcoin payments in exchange for the songs and pleaded guilty to three charges of unauthorized access to computer material, 14 charges of selling copyrighted material, one charge of converting criminal property, and two charges of possession of criminal property.
Now, Kwiatkowski is looking at 18 months in prison. That sure is a lot of work to hear some half-baked Ed Sheeran tunes.