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We're NOT Going to be Friends : Jack White vs DJ
June 1, 2007 9:02 AM   Subscribe

A Chicago DJ broke the Icky Thump silence and Jack White's heart in the process. Q101's Electra received a presumably illegal copy of the White Stripes' new album and aired the entire thing (a week after the first single's video hit the internet, weeks before the official June 19 release and well before the album had even become prominent on the shadow internet). According to Electra, Jack White called from Spain to sternly reprimand her. In an instant, hearts were crushed and pirates emboldened as the album's radio rip spread through the back channels of the web.
posted by pokermonk (69 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Jack White called from Spain to sternly reprimand her

If this was really an illegal copy, replayed on Q101 ahead of time, lawyers would be transferring ownership of Q101 to White's record label by now. Since that's not happening, it's reasonable to assume the phone call and post are just promo material.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:06 AM on June 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't think I did anything wrong, and I don't think I am helping to ruin the music industry. I think I made people excited for the new White Stripes record. I know that was our intention.

Oh bullshit. The White Stripes don't need help getting people excited about their new album. She played the record to get people to listen to the radio station. I didn't hear what Jack White said to her, but dammit, if an artist has the decency to call you on the phone like a regular person and talk instead getting his lawyers to sue you, the least you can do is consider that not everyone will be cool with you leaking their music before they want people to hear it, and that to assume that everyone is okay with it is "doing something wrong".
posted by 23skidoo at 9:11 AM on June 1, 2007


it's reasonable to assume the phone call and post are just promo material.

It's not even that theatrical for the White Stripes. Remember how they originally claimed to be brother and sister, not a former couple?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:14 AM on June 1, 2007


DJs certainly dont have that kind of autonomy. They are on-air personalities and havel little to no say what gets played, let alone single handly playing a pre-release album. Its safe to assume this came down straight from radio management and most likely was approved by someone on that label. In real life this gets you fired and sued.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:17 AM on June 1, 2007


A major radio station owned by a large publicly-traded company "leaks" the entire album without clearing it with management and lawyers? Sure. That's likely.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 9:20 AM on June 1, 2007


The White Stripes don't need help getting people excited about their new album.

well, some people, anyway.
posted by quonsar at 9:25 AM on June 1, 2007 [4 favorites]


Some of the comments to her post are great, and a lot of people do seem to be aware that this seems more like a planned marketing effort than anything else:
______________________________________________
Anonymous said...

thanks for airing the new cd before it comes out. i totally recorded it and burned it to cd. now i don't have to buy the album!!

i gotta go now and upload it to limewire.


thanks again!
5/31/2007 9:17 AM
______________________________________________
Anonymous said...

I can't believe people actually think these highly choreographed "leaks" are for real.......chumps
5/31/2007 9:22 AM
______________________________________________
Anonymous said...

You played the album without the permission of the artist or the label. what did you think was going to happen?

I hope you get fired.
5/31/2007 9:32 AM
______________________________________________
posted by micayetoca at 9:26 AM on June 1, 2007


I feel for Jack in this situation: If any DJ played an entire White Stripes album, I'd be pretty pissed at them too.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:33 AM on June 1, 2007


"If this was really an illegal copy, replayed on Q101 ahead of time, lawyers would be transferring ownership of Q101 to White's record label by now. Since that's not happening, it's reasonable to assume the phone call and post are just promo material."

Well, no, not really. Playing the music isn't illegal, even pre-release. And, while it stretches credulity somewhat, it's easy to claim this was "news," which has broader protections.
The only real issue would be whether they were streaming the whole album, since that's illegal under the DCMA.

Further, for all the Kill the DJ comments, Jack White's a tremendous ass, and may have called even if this whole thing was approved from the top.
posted by klangklangston at 9:34 AM on June 1, 2007


They probably will even pay a royalty for playing the album.
posted by smackfu at 9:39 AM on June 1, 2007


Jack White's a tremendous ass

But the kid sure can play guitar.
posted by NationalKato at 9:39 AM on June 1, 2007


1. Someone from the label hands radio station copy of new album and tells them to "do whatever you want with it."

2. Radio station hands new album to DJ, says "we think you should play this on your show this week."

3. DJ, excited, plays it.

4. Artist, who is overseas and probably out of touch with whoever handed the album over from the label, hears from friends/family/whoever that the album has just been played on the radio, freaks out, calls station and yells at DJ (and cohorts).

While everyone except the DJ herself profits from this, I'm not convinced this is a conspiracy. It just sounds like a lot of miscommunication and an overly reactionary musician, and the world is in no danger of running short of those.
posted by kowalski at 9:44 AM on June 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


Bad music played on radio station.
News at, um, well, now I guess.

This "viral marketing" thing sure has enhanced our lives.
posted by Outlawyr at 9:57 AM on June 1, 2007


Nobody tell Neil Finn how much I'm enjoying the new Crowded House, which comes out in July.
posted by davebush at 9:58 AM on June 1, 2007


Isn't it illegal to play more than n songs from one particular album within n hours on a radio station, anyway?
posted by notsnot at 10:01 AM on June 1, 2007


Bad music played on radio station.

Awfully judgemental there.
posted by smackfu at 10:03 AM on June 1, 2007


Isn't it illegal to play more than n songs from one particular album within n hours on a radio station, anyway?

(no)

And yeah, this screams unnecessary publicity stunt.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:03 AM on June 1, 2007


In related news, Paris Hilton Jenna Jameson and your female friends had absolutely nothing to say about my cock.
posted by elpapacito at 10:03 AM on June 1, 2007 [4 favorites]


I don't think he's an ass per se; I can see why he'd be upset, although honestly, I wonder if his viewpoint is out of touch with the tenor of the times. I think it's a theme in their music - the loss of innocence and whatnot, and I can see why. As long as people find it reasonable to download music, they're going to be fine with people playing music on the air before they're supposed to.

Shame that people's justifiable outrage at record companies and corporate rock translates into downloading music that the artists don't get compensated for. Welcome to the jungle indeed.
posted by rmm at 10:10 AM on June 1, 2007


The Wired article on how file sharing actually works was fascinating. Thanks for that. I was unaware.
posted by Miko at 10:14 AM on June 1, 2007


"I don't think he's an ass per se; I can see why he'd be upset, although honestly, I wonder if his viewpoint is out of touch with the tenor of the times."

No, seriously, two things— One, why would he be upset? Because the release date wasn't honored? So fucking what? Two, he's an ass. I say this coming from working in the Detroit area music press for about five years, and both covering him and talking to people who have. The shit with Jason Stollsteimer from the Von Bondies (though Jason's also a bit of a dick, at least when I met him he was), and myriad other infantile behavior from Jack White has pretty much proven him to be an exceptional guitarist who's also a tremendous asshole.
posted by klangklangston at 10:18 AM on June 1, 2007


kowalski nails it. when it's an intentional publicity stunt, the artist himself doesn't call or let a radio station attribute words to him that imply he's sort of being a dick for the sake of sales. when it's an intentional publicity stunt, the manager calls and pretends to get upset ON THE AIR because that just gets played and played and played over and over again and the public image of the artist suffers negligable damage, if any at all.
posted by shmegegge at 10:20 AM on June 1, 2007


Isn't it illegal to play more than n songs from one particular album within n hours on a radio station, anyway?

Well, there is a law (17 USC 114), that says you can't play more than 3 tracks from a given record per 3 hours, and that you can't play all 3 in a row. OTOH, it applies to "selections of sound recordings from any one phonorecord lawfully distributed for public performance or sale in the United States", and this record is not that.
posted by smackfu at 10:23 AM on June 1, 2007


I see from the TV schedule that Jack will be availing himself of subsidy from my licence fee to advertise this self same product nationwide this evening. Whiny little tit wank.
posted by biffa at 10:30 AM on June 1, 2007


1) How did he hear the broadcast in Spain? Just happened to be browsing a net stream?

2) If he heard about the airing second hand, isn't acting on such hearsay a bit dodgy?

3) Isn't this a time when sensible businesspeople call in their lawyers to handle discussions rather than calling to rant in person?

4) Since when do DJs decide how to fill an hour of airtime? This ain't WKRP, baby -- this is corporate radio America in the 21st century. I smell fish.

5) Why isn't the label handling the dispute?

6) The DJ is stupid, or a liar, or both. Nobody even peripherally involved in the music industry would believe it was kosher to air (what amounts to) a bootleg of an unreleased album. I mean, honestly.

7) I suspect we're being scammed for promo here, boys and girls.
posted by CheeseburgerBrown at 10:46 AM on June 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


Jack White's a tremendous ass

What rock star isn't a tremendous ass?
posted by blucevalo at 10:52 AM on June 1, 2007


No, seriously, two things— One, why would he be upset? Because the release date wasn't honored? So fucking what?

Clearly he has worked really hard to keep this album out of the pirate circles until its release date. That isn't an easy task and usually isn't accomplished. If I put a lot of effort into something that was likely to help me get more money and then failed for any reason, I would want to throw a temper tantrum as well.

Honestly, I'd be surprised if any of you wouldn't be a bit irrational in the face of a significant loss of potential money and a failed effort.
posted by aburd at 10:56 AM on June 1, 2007


Anyone with a 'Netflix Project' invite, email in profile.
posted by acro at 10:57 AM on June 1, 2007


What rock star isn't a tremendous ass?

The serious junkies and cokefiends are usually pretty svelte.
posted by freebird at 10:58 AM on June 1, 2007


If he is such an exceptional guitar player, why doesn't he use any of that ability on any of his music? /smirk

Also, publicity stunt, but it would be funny if Jack were completely unaware and called in sincerity.

smackfu: What is this you're referring to? Entire radio stations used to work off of the album rock format, and I can't even count the number of times I've heard radio stations play the entire "Dark Side of the Moon" or similar albums.

Satellite radio also does this all the time.

Something is screwy here.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:59 AM on June 1, 2007


This conversation is like watching farkers debate if something's a photoshop. "Look! Look at that pixel. Do you think that pixel's supposed to be like that?" Fucking jesus, you minging dickbolts, not every coincidence is a ploy for sales.
posted by boo_radley at 11:00 AM on June 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


For the record, Q101 in Chicago (WKQX) is owned by Emmis Communications. While not on the scale of Clear Channel, Emmis owns some 20 stations.

If this was truly (and it's not) a DJ inspired stunt (and, really, it's not) she would have been fired halfway through the broadcast. The fact that the hotline from the Program Director wasn't ringing by track #2 indicates that she was told to play this work -- at that time, in that matter.

This is a stunt, nothing more, nothing less.
posted by eriko at 11:02 AM on June 1, 2007


boo_radley: This circumstance is a little out of the ordinary, however.

Common sense tells you that there is no way this DJ would still be employed and the large corporate owner not involved in a huge lawsuit over this.

Which seems more likely to you:

1. DJ risks her entire career (as she would be blackballed from the industry) and her company's financial future to play leaked White Stripes album, and gets personal rebuke from Jack White in Spain saying "don't do that".

2. Planned publicity by one large corporation in tandem with another.

It is not *impossible* it is #1, but #2 sure seems a tiny bit more likely, like 10,000% more likely.

Dontcha think?
posted by Ynoxas at 11:07 AM on June 1, 2007


smackfu: What is this you're referring to? Entire radio stations used to work off of the album rock format, and I can't even count the number of times I've heard radio stations play the entire "Dark Side of the Moon" or similar albums.

Indeed. I imagine that radio rules might not apply to satellite or other new-ish technologies, but radio definitely has a history of playing albums straight through. Is this law something recent, or just something that's often ignored?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:08 AM on June 1, 2007


It was already played on the BBC weeks ago, a friend mailed it to me.
posted by poppo at 11:13 AM on June 1, 2007


Metafilter: Fucking jesus, you minging dickbolts.
posted by squalor at 11:14 AM on June 1, 2007


1 DJ and producer are tremendous fans of band, without legal chops. Producer gets review copy of album, loves it, shares it with DJ. Realizes that others like band, would listen to new album as well -- and OMG, Becky, are you thinking what I'm thinking? As for him being a "sensible businessperson" (as cheeseburgerbrown says) -- he's a musician who's flipped out and been in fights with one of his supporting acts. That doesn't sound too sensible either, so maybe he's not all too sensible.
posted by boo_radley at 11:19 AM on June 1, 2007


Q101 became the first station in the world to play the new White Stripes album, Icky Thump.

BBC airing it a few weeks ago, no big deal apparently
posted by poppo at 11:21 AM on June 1, 2007


Corrected link

and sorry i see you have to register to download it. if anyone wants to suggest a place where it can be uploaded/downloaded registration free, feel free to let me know
posted by poppo at 11:24 AM on June 1, 2007


If this was really an illegal copy, replayed on Q101 ahead of time, lawyers would be transferring ownership of Q101 to White's record label by now.

Do you know anything about copyright law at all?
posted by delmoi at 11:29 AM on June 1, 2007




If he is such an exceptional guitar player, why doesn't he use any of that ability on any of his music?


his wife took it all for her superior drumming chops.
posted by quarter waters and a bag of chips at 11:35 AM on June 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


my favourite band of the now
posted by sgt.serenity at 11:36 AM on June 1, 2007


Jack White's a tremendous ass

But the kid sure can play guitar.


i just don't see it.
posted by quonsar at 11:41 AM on June 1, 2007 [3 favorites]


So, has it be determined how the DJ/Radio station got the copy of the album? There's been lots of assuming in the comments, but the only thing I saw in the article was:

"We tried to explain where we were coming from - someone gave us a copy of a record that we were really excited to play, and the whole experience was an hour-long lovefest for him and his band"


Also, that BBC (or gigasize) link was to just one track from the album (of the single that came out already), not the whole album.
posted by stifford at 12:01 PM on June 1, 2007


Limewire? I suppose they also cure those pesky maladies with leeches and a slug out of the bottle yansens miracle cure the got from that nice carpet bagger in carson city.
posted by Jeremy at 12:13 PM on June 1, 2007


This isn't about lawsuits, it isn't about what they do in other countries, and it isn't about the ethics of leaking music.

It's the story of a poor and innocent dj, working for a no-name station, in the middle of nowhere, a woman defined by her love of music, so blindly that one day she stumbled into dark waters, only to be reprimanded by a cold man she once thought lit her fire... and the personal, emotional rollercoaster that ensued.

Except that Q101 is probably the biggest rock station in Chicago - itself the third largest radio market in the US - and all anecdotal indications are that this woman is completely in tune with the mainstream, and understands what it means to capitalize on attention: from the dj name "electra", the tagline "queen of snark", the trite "look at me im kinda weird too" picture, to the fact that she works at Q101, and finally, the fact that the fallout from the call took place on air. I mean seriously. And then this shit gets fanned out on the Blue as some sort of news?

This story is spun to such a great degree in favor of the radio station (and its unsuspecting employees) that it borders on insult. I'm all for free music, but on a professional level, this girl's decision to play an illegally obtained copy of an anticipated album in its entirety is reprehensible. In other words, creating a spectacle, and then saying it wasn't a spectacle, and then switching gears and pointing out how shocked you were by jack white's response.

The only reason this isn't a bigger story is because, in and of itself, it isn't an indication of any greater trend or development that is worth talking about. But to plead ignorance, and to blur lines between promotional copy and illegal copy, especially in defense of an employee's action within a corporate setting, no less a company that has an extensive promotions department that is tied in with a large number of bands, events and shows that pass through the city - well, that's the part that just eats me alive.
posted by phaedon at 12:13 PM on June 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


god, he's a tool. after reading the story in Entertainment Weekly where he coyly doesn't acknowledge the existence of his wife and child (dutifully named "Scarlett" and dressed in red and white, of course) I am even more convinced.
posted by pinky at 12:20 PM on June 1, 2007


I know for noncommercial radio stations [college radio stations] [I'm actually not sure if that includes NPR as well], there is a law that you cannot play more than 4 songs from the same artist within a 3 hour period.

It's known as: 17 USC 114 (j)(13)
see: http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#114
and search for: sound recording performance complement

I don't know the entire story or her background, but as of now, I don't have much sympathy for her because as phaedon noted,She is not ignorant of basic radio protocol regarding copyright and she's enjoying the attention and the fact that Jack White personally criticized her over the phone.

I'm not a lawyer, just a college radio DJ. And I feel dirty now because I spent 20+ minutes writing this.
posted by fizzix at 12:31 PM on June 1, 2007


fizzix: That applies to "selections" not "songs"
posted by delmoi at 1:04 PM on June 1, 2007


pinky
so Jack "coyly doesn't acknowledge the existence of his wife and child" and that makes him a tool? And what does reading Entertainment Weekly make you?
posted by Sailormom at 1:12 PM on June 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


yes, Sailormom, that makes him a tool. Along with his slavish devotion to his schtick. Reading EW makes me well-informed on what's happening in books, movies, and tv. Is there some trendier or hipper rag that you would recommend instead?
posted by pinky at 1:15 PM on June 1, 2007


"The DJ is stupid, or a liar, or both. Nobody even peripherally involved in the music industry would believe it was kosher to air (what amounts to) a bootleg of an unreleased album. I mean, honestly."

Where are you from? This happens all the time, and has happened for, I dunno, the entire history of FM radio.

As for those het up about the DJ, man, show me where this costs Jack White a dime. Aside from the free publicity this is for him, the worst case scenario, that "pirates" get their scurvy hands on Icky Thump a week earlier, that's what you wanna stand on? Because clearly, folks who were gonna buy the album when it came out won't now because it leaked earlier than it would have otherwise? They were all on soulseek sayin' "If I can't get that White Stripes album today, well, I'm just gonna have to hold off and purchase it legitimately."

Y'know what— Radio used to leak albums all the time, and it was pretty sweet. Try not to let your desire to kowtow to some imagined copyright legislation get in the way of understanding that.
posted by klangklangston at 1:22 PM on June 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Some follow-up....

Q101 has been doing very poorly in the Arbitron ratings for quite some time (not only one of the worst rock stations but also one of the worst, period).

What's also worth noting is the promotion of Q101's Director of New Media to a newly created position of Brand Manager the same day the album was played.

Also, Q101 has supposedly already ruffled the feathers of Warner Brothers by doing a full play of Linkin Park's new album earlier last month (given promotionally). And Interscope via Nine Inch Nails leaks. (These items come from a personal source.)

I'm sure there's some sort of chicanery going on, although I'm uncertain who is manufacturing it and who the "plants" are. And that's what I find interesting about the story at its root. In an environment where information and (more importantly to those with financial interests) intellectual property transfers freely, what is the importance of being able to trust a source? And there's also the element of how IP spreads back and forth between legal and illegal channels and how that murky dividing point can be illuminated for different perspectives depending on the end result.

Blah blah blah.
posted by pokermonk at 1:37 PM on June 1, 2007


People still listen to the radio?
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:40 PM on June 1, 2007


6/1 NEVAR FORGET!!!

THE TERRORIST DJS HAZ BROKEN JACK WHITE'S HART!
posted by eyeballkid at 1:49 PM on June 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Does anyone remember when Q101 played "Nookie" 9 times in a row for the top 9 at 9? man, that sucked
posted by kaytwo at 1:51 PM on June 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


aburd writes "Clearly he has worked really hard to keep this album out of the pirate circles until its release date. That isn't an easy task and usually isn't accomplished. If I put a lot of effort into something that was likely to help me get more money and then failed for any reason, I would want to throw a temper tantrum as well.

"Honestly, I'd be surprised if any of you wouldn't be a bit irrational in the face of a significant loss of potential money and a failed effort."


How is it clear that he was trying to keep it off the internets? I don't get that part. I've seen this album available for quite a while now, and it's very well-seeded.

Meanwhile, if I were a musician I'd be happy that people were downloading my album. It would mean that they'd have that extra money available to pay for my wildly overpriced concert tickets, of which I'd see a greater percentage of the proceeds than I would from the album.
posted by mullingitover at 1:59 PM on June 1, 2007


Well, at least everyone is talking about Q101, amirite? I don't know how many times I've heard DJs bitch because they "leaked something first!! And KROQ got the credit!"

Not that they "leak" something almost every weekend or anything.
posted by sugarfish at 3:34 PM on June 1, 2007


They just did a tune or three on Jools' show.

Meh. They're not tight enough live.
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:41 PM on June 1, 2007


How is it clear that he was trying to keep it off the internets? I don't get that part. I've seen this album available for quite a while now, and it's very well-seeded.

You clearly look in places I do not. And I have looked... a lot... The only copy of this I have seen is the one with her voice on it between tracks and it is a crappy radio rip that crackles and such.
posted by aburd at 5:46 PM on June 1, 2007


You clearly look in places I do not. And I have looked... a lot... The only copy of this I have seen is the one with her voice on it between tracks and it is a crappy radio rip that crackles and such.

It's possible the poster you quoted has seen well-seeded torrents of for the title track/first single which, as most of the people in this thread should know, is also called Icky Thump.
posted by sparkletone at 6:27 PM on June 1, 2007


I think Jack's jacking us around, and I kinda resent that his advertising gunk has spilled into MeFi. This place was damn close to 100% marketing-free a while back. But ever since the first PepsiBlue was allowed, we've been sliding downhill. Every week, MeFi is successfully used to pitch some damn viral marketing. It's fucking polluting the place.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:31 PM on June 1, 2007


"You clearly look in places I do not. And I have looked... a lot... The only copy of this I have seen is the one with her voice on it between tracks and it is a crappy radio rip that crackles and such."

Dude, SLSK and Limewire both have it, and it was only just killed on Rapidshared.org. I bet it's on Oink (though I've never bothered with them, honestly— I don't need a second job in making sure my ratios are good), and I bet it's on infinite number of leak boards.
posted by klangklangston at 10:54 AM on June 2, 2007


"If I can't get that White Stripes album today, well, I'm just gonna have to hold off and purchase it legitimately."

Ha. I'm with the DJ. It depends on who you're working for: yourself, the artists, the industry, or your listeners. If it's the latter, you play the album.

Isn't it illegal to play more than n songs from one particular album within n hours on a radio station, anyway?

I feel for Jack in this situation: If any DJ played an entire White Stripes album, I'd be pretty pissed at them too.

WTF?! Are we talking about the united states of fucking america? Are you contending that it's either illegal, unethical, or immoral to play an entire album on the radio? Would you have me cut movements from symphonies too? Am I only allowed to broadcast 30 seconds of comments by political figures? ;)
posted by mrgrimm at 12:08 PM on June 2, 2007


FWIW, Modest Mouse's latest is excellent, IMO.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:17 PM on June 2, 2007


Dogpile on five_fresh_fish in 3.. 2...
posted by tehloki at 7:57 PM on June 2, 2007


But I also like a good bunch of the White Stripes work, too! They can both be good!

[ducks]
posted by five fresh fish at 8:00 PM on June 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


This Jack White, he vibrates?
posted by beelzbubba at 8:47 AM on June 3, 2007


Well past the life of the post, here, but got word from a source that this was 100% legit (no viral).
posted by pokermonk at 6:57 PM on June 5, 2007


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