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Jared Leto's battle between art and commerce in 30STM documentary 'Artifact'

In the trailer for “Artifact,” the 30 Seconds to Mars documentary premiering April 26 on VH1 and Palladia at 11 p.m. PT/ET, we are introduced to frontman Jared Leto, speaking on stage in front of what appears to be a sold-out stadium. Leto asks the crowd of fans, "How many people have a copy of our new record?" An excited cheer erupts. "And how many people stole that copy on the internet?" The faithful followers cheer enthusiastically.

Artifact, 30STM Documentary premiers Saturday, April 26
Artifact "Photo courtesy of 30STM, used with permission"

The trailer continues with Leto narrating, "After a decade of struggling we finally achieve worldwide success and we decide to make a film about the making of our next album. But it quickly turned into something else.”

The cameras follow the band chronicling legal disputes and difficulties producing the album, “This Is War.”

In 2008, 30STM was sued for $30 million by Virgin/EMI, the band’s parent label, for breach of contract following the group’s attempted exit from its agreement over a royalties dispute.

"This was not a fight against a record company, but against corruption," Leto tells The Hollywood Reporter. "A record company can be a beneficial thing - to have a team of people around the world to help you realize your dream - but a corporation that engages artists with these convoluted contracts that leaves them in a state of terminal debt? Just because you can get away something doesn’t mean it’s okay to do. The battle between art and commerce is something we dealt with consistently from the time we were signed, and even today."

“Artifact” took home the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival People’s Choice documentary award and the Audience Award at the 22nd Gotham Independent Film Awards.

Leto hopes the film gives audiences “a greater understanding of how things work in the music industry.”

“We weren’t the Rolling Stones or some supergroup, otherwise maybe we could afford to battle a corporation for some time," he told Billboard Magazine. "We were a small band who had a little bit of success who believed in the fight for fairness. Hopefully, the technology industry and the labels will continue to take a look at how they operate and make deals and realize there’s plenty to go around.”

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