Apparently Jack White and his com padres in the Raconteurs have thrown out the the ‘Steady As She Goes’ aphorism with Monday’s announcement that their sophomore record is finished recording and scheduled for release….in ONE week. The 14 songs comprising Consolers of the Lonely received their final touches the first week of March and were immediately shipped to press for the quickest album turnaround possible. Come this Tuesday, it will be available for purchase in the audio format of your fancy, including compact disc, digital file, and vinyl. For those who are overwhelmed by the numerous format choices available, the band personally recommends a listen on the vinyl recording.
Within the press release itself is a rather long and pointed defense of their hasty release, making it clear that their primary motivation is not to avoid a leak per se. The real purpose, they claim is twofold: make the record available to everyone and in every format at the same time.
1. “We wanted to get this record to fans, the press, radio, etc., all at the EXACT SAME TIME so that no one has an upper hand on anyone else regarding it’s availability, reception or perception.”
Typically, before an album is released in stores, advances are distributed, singles are released, and interviews are conducted for anybody who is anything in the media. The media hypes it, for better or worse, and makes initial impressions on potential listeners. The Raconteurs have strategically left zero time for all of this to affect second born. It’s coming out clean and undefiled by the critic’s first-shot judgments.
2. “Another purpose was to also allow people to have their own choice as to exactly which format they would like to hear the album in IMMEDIATELY, rather than having to wait for their favorite format to become available.”
This great mover called the internet has made it so, so easy to distribute music, whether its through leaks or the artists themselves posting it for sale online before it can package an actual product (e.g. Stars, Radiohead, The Charlatans, you get the picture). So its rarer and rarer these days for a music listener to wait around to buy a hard copy when the tracks can easily be downloaded onto the good old hard drive. Consider this a small test for the record industry. Will more albums sell if they have the same time advantage as their digital counterparts?
That is one thing we’ll have to wait to find out. We’ll find out how the album sounds in no time.
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