Raconteurs to avoid leaks with quick release

Jack White's other band, the Raconteurs, announced the release of its forthcoming album one week before it goes on sale.

Back in the old days (like 2007), the marketing strategy for new albums included a prerelease "rolling thunder" PR campaign. First came a single, followed shortly by the video.

Then a few chosen reviewers would get early copies with "NOT FOR RESALE" imprinted across the front, allowing them to have their reviews ready slightly before or on the release date. Retail outlets would receive promotional matter, like cardboard cutouts of the band standing in front of the album cover. A few warm-up shows would feature songs from the record. Meanwhile, somebody--a reviewer, a disgruntled record company employee--would leak the entire album to file-trading services.

You're announcing an album a week before it's released? What is this, 1979? Raconteurs

Jack White and Warner Bros. have decided to dispense with all this for the upcoming release of the Raconteurs' new album, Consolers of the Lonely. Today, the band announced that the entire album will be released simultaneously online, on CD, and on vinyl next Tuesday. No advance singles, no reviewers' copies, and perhaps not even a video at release (they just finished shooting it).

The band would have waited even longer, but knew that the news of the album's imminent release would have slipped out, and didn't want this quick-release strategy to be seen as a reaction.

And why not? Radio stations hardly play this kind of rock 'n' roll anymore, and fans don't need reviewers to tell them what to think: the huge Jack White fans will buy it regardless, and more casual fans probably would have formed their opinion after sampling the leaked version anyway. This way, the band saves promotional money and the release date might actually be cause for excitement, rather than the jaded "oh, I downloaded that months ago" response that greets most album releases today.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Rosoff is an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, where he covers Microsoft's consumer products and corporate news. He's written about the technology industry since 1995, and reviewed the first Rio MP3 player for CNET.com in 1998. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network. Disclosure. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattrosoff.


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