The White Stripes’ Jack White has taken Emmis alternative WKQX (Q101)/Chicago, and in particular midday host Electra, to task for “leaking” the band’s new album on air last week.
As Electra recounts from a blog entry she posted on May 30:
“At 2 p.m. today, during my show, Q101 became the first station in the world to play the new White Stripes album, ‘Icky Thump.’ It's awesome. It's really, really, unbelievably brilliant and awesome. I was giddy and excited to share it with fellow fans.
“At 4 p.m. today, Jack White called Q101's main offices from
Q101 APD/MD Spike tells R&R that Electra didn’t “leak” anything and that she was instructed to play the entire album on the air.
“First of all, we don’t leak records,” Spike said. “That record leaked on the Internet and we got it and I played it. To leak a record would mean that I got some kind of exclusive copy that nobody had and put it on the radio and then everybody got it from there. I got the [Internet] link from a college kid.”
Spike theorizes that the band’s label, Warner Bros., gave vinyl copies to magazine reviewers ahead of the release and somehow a copy made its way to the Internet in MP3 form. Spike says the station was served a cease and desist order from the label a few hours after they played the album. R&R has placed a call to Warner Bros. Records for comment.
“There is a bigger issue here, though,” Spike continued. “The record companies want us to be a part of new music, but they want us to call it new music when they want us to call it new. A lot of the 18-34 year-olds that listen to my station had this record two weeks before I did. For us to then go on the air and say that this is new music just sounds ridiculous. The best way that we can exist in their world and be one of them is not pretend that something doesn’t happen when it actually does. The best that we can do anymore is to be as quick as our listeners are.”
As for the White situation and his call to Electra, Spike says, “Electra is a great DJ, but she’s a DJ. She didn’t run and get the record. All she did for an hour was talk about the album coming out and how great it was. She didn’t get on the air and tell people to go download it on the Internet. The bottom line is, she didn’t put anything out there that wasn’t already out there. Not to mention that it wasn’t her choice to play the album.”
Still a little startled by the incident, Electra added this postscript to her blog entry:
“I also still think Jack White is an incredibly talented musician, and I still think the new record is amazing. I just don't think I'll be able to listen to it without feeling like crap for a good long while.”
The official release date of the White Stripes’ “Icky Thump” album is June 19.