Madonna was in Africa in late November, visiting schools built by her Raising Malawi nonprofit, when the first leak hit the Web: 40 seconds of "Rebel Heart," a defiant, dance-y track she had recently been working on. Three weeks later, the leak became a flood. Madonna was back in New York on December 17th, when fans started alerting her via Instagram that 13 demos recorded for her unfinished 13th album, also called "Rebel Heart," had been illegally posted online and were spreading like wildfire.
It was an unprecedented leak: Nearly a full album's worth of work arrived four months before its planned April release date. "She was devastated," the singer's longtime manager Guy Oseary says.