Tech Rag & Bone
posted by June 8 at 12:17 PMon
The online music community (words that should cause any rational human being to cringe) was all a-twitter last week over the news that Icky Thump, the forthcoming full-length release from the White Stripes was leaked by Chicago radio station Q101. According to DJ Elektra, the on-air “personality” responsibly for the faux pas, the hourlong unauthorized broadcast was a “lovefest” for the band.
Jack White didn’t agree. In fact, Jack White was pissed. Upon receiving the news that his new record had been broadcast in its entirety, he phoned the radio station from Spain and ripped the idiotic DJ a new one. It must have been a hell of a conversation; Elektra was rattled enough to post details about the tongue lashing in her blog.
It’s common knowledge that records (along with gossip items, titillating photos, and “insider facts”) get “leaked” all the time by companies and publicists, with hopes of getting an early buzz going. These leaks are very rarely actual leaks—more often than not, a single that makes its way to the airwaves well before release date is the not-so-covert work of an A&R schmuck.
This was not the case with Icky Thump. White, notorious for his exacting ways both in and out of the studio, insisted on limited access and tight controls on advance copies of the record. The folks at Q101 did not have an official advance copy of the record, nor did they contact White’s label prior to airing the entire record in one shot. The broadcast was an illegally obtained download, apparently forwarded to the station by an enthusiastic fan.
The whole incident brings up a lot of issues pertaining to Digital Rights Management and puts yet another chink in the armor of record labels struggling to deal with the very real fact that they are losing revenue generated by record sales on an hourly basis. It also raises important questions about the responsibility of folks manning the airwaves.
I’m not shedding any tears for the major-label pimps who have yet to figure out how to deal with modern technology’s affect on their business. They’ve screwed enough artists and music buyers over the years and leaner times are a good way of forcing a new business model. I am, however, bummed for Jack White. Dude is not happy with the crappy recordings that are making the rounds and I don’t blame him.
The record is a big, giant-sounding piece of work, filled with everything from mariachi horns to bagpipes. White continues to channel the spirit of the mighty Led Zeppelin, and I’m not talking about the Robert Plant-esque eight and some change he’s packing in his front pocket. Icky Thump should be heard the way it was meant to be heard, in all its bombastic glory, not some tinny-sounding third generation rip off the radio.
And, yes, I plan on buying the record when it is released on June 19, even though the clean-as-a-whistle copy I have (don’t ask) will blow your balls off.