Song leaks are a gift and a curse for most recording artists. While bootlegging is an inevitability at this point, some record labels offer advance songs as an element of their marketing strategy, or to test the waters for feedback from the online community. Artists us leaks to build exposure, to apply pressure to a stubborn label, and sometimes to create controversy by leaking music before it's intended for release.

Recently several artists have seen such strategies backfire; Bishop Lamont and Omarion were both dropped from their respective labels for allegedly leaking music without consent. Leaked tracks are generally traceable, technology is not always the pirate's friend.

An unprecedented number of tracks have leaked from Jay-Z's highly anticipated 'The Blueprint 3,' leading many to assume foul play. Five new Jay tracks have appeared on the 'net over the past week or so. Most of the songs are said to be from the album, and at least four ('Off That,' featuring Drake, 'Reminder,' 'Venus vs. Mars' and 'Ghetto Techno') were produced by Timbaland.

While Jay has been silent about the leaks, former protege Memphis Bleek has been quick to point the finger, claiming the culprit has to be a member of Timbaland's camp.

"Man , you know where that's coming from. That's Timbo's camp," Bleek stated in a recent interview. "Somebody is playin' dirty. It's cool though. I like to see the people's opinions. I've been reading the comments on Jay's records saying that the beats don't sound like this or that. I think they just set the bar too high for my guy."

While Bleek's claims have not been corroborated by any other evidence, Tim has been said to be unhappy with the amount of work he was able to contribute to 'The Blueprint 3,' as he was hoping to produce the majority of the album. Tim also allegedly held his best beats back from Jay this time around, stashing them for the follow-up to his recent platinum-seller, 'Shock Value.'

As for the response to the leaked BP3 tracks from the online community -- most seem underwhelmed. Jay's past collaborations with Tim (i.e. "Big Pimpin") have produced some of their best work, yet the songs we've heard thus far from the two have been decidedly under par. Whether the song leaks turn out to be a marketing ploy to gauge the marketplace for Jay's new, more electronic sound, or have been released with malicious intent, has yet to be seen. Ultimately the music on the album should speak for itself.