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Madonna: I found out that I’d been hacked from my Instagram followers

Madonna: I found out that I’d been hacked from my Instagram followers

In a new interview, the queen of pop says her millions of Instagram followers lent her a hand — by letting her know that her music had leaked online.

Madonna took a nasty tumble last night while performing at the Brit Awards — but it was far from the first ordeal she’s had to endure while promoting her new album, Rebel Heart. Consider what happened in December, when a nasty hack of her personal computer led to dozens of the demos she had recorded leaking online. Quickly, she finished several of those songs and rushed out a six-track EP on iTunes, then got to work prepping the rest of her album for a March 10 release. On Jan. 21, an Israeli man was arrested in connection with the hack, helping bring resolution what she described as “artistic rape.”

In an interview in the March 9 issue of TIME, on newsstands Friday, Madonna opens up about the fallout from the hack, which she says she learned about from a surprising source: her fans. “It was through Instagram that I found out my songs were leaking, because my fans were warning me,” she says. “Aside from the violation of having something stolen from me, suddenly, people were making comments on songs I had no intention of releasing. I thought, ‘Oh my God,’ I have to push myself into overdrive.’ I didn’t sleep for weeks. I didn’t see my kids. It was pandemonium, confusion, paranoia, hysteria.”

In the wake of the unprecedented hacking of Sony, cybersecurity is a hot-button issue, and Madonna says she only expects it to get worse. “I think it’s going to become pervasive in our society,” she says. “People make a living off it. It’s not like you’re a bank robber — there’s some kind of honesty to that crime. With cybercrime, you don’t know who they are. People can hide so easily, and it’s really dangerous. What it represents to an artist to not be able to finish your work, to never know when someone is going to steal something off a server — what does that mean for artists in the future? The fact that this guy was arrested, and that there will be a prosecution, is extremely important to me. Not just because of my stolen art, but for what it means for other artists. I think it will send a very strong message to the world.”

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