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Jack White and Q101

October 21st 2009 01:48
This isn't really breaking news. It happened May 30, 2007. But on that day, Q101 (the only good radio station in Chicago) played the new White Stripes album, Icky Thump, in it's entirety. The album was scheduled to be released Jun 19th. Jack White found out that they played it before the release date, and a few hours later, he called the station from Spain to yell at the DJ who played it.

If you Google "Jack White" and "Q101," the first several results are all people blogging about what an idiot Electra, the DJ, is for doing this. And about how much they hate Q101. I felt obligated to make this post to defend Electra and Q101 because no one else is. I don't think anyone that shits on Electra really knows what they are talking about. I read the blogs. Most of them got the facts totally wrong or omitted key bits of information. I just want to clear up all the misconceptions surrounding this event.

Jack White and his Huge Ego

The first result on Google is from MTV.com. It is also the most overwhelmingly negative. James Montgomery, the writer of the article claims the main reason that Q101 is in the wrong is that they did not have permission from the band, or the record label, to air the album. He's right in saying the band didn't give permission. But in our modern times, what the band says or doesn't say really doesn't matter. It's the record label that owns the album. And while they didn't explicitly give permission to play the album, it was kind of implied. A few weeks before playing Icky Thump, Q101 got permission from Warner Bros. Records to play the Linkin Park's then unreleased, Minutes to Midnight. The representative from the label told Q101's station director, Spike, he'd "never tell you not to do it." Icky Thump was also released by Warner Bros. Records. And Spike did contact the record label beforehand to inform them that Q101 would play the album. Therefore, it could be assumed that the label didn't have a problem with it.


Icky Thump had already leaked on the internet. That's where Q101 got it from. Yet James Montgomery says playing the album on Q101 "might very well have led to the album showing up on various file-sharing sites later that day (hint: it did)." How did this guy get a job writing for MTV? What does he think, that someone was taping the radio, and then put it up on the internet? Obviously that would have terrible sound quality. And Electra and callers talked over the intros to several of the songs. And most importantly, they downloaded it from the internet! It doesn't take Albert Einstein to figure out that if it was downloaded from the internet, it was already on the internet! But apparently Jack White doesn't understand that concept either. In his call he told Electra that she was personally responsible for "messing up the entire music business." That's when I realized Jack White is kind of an asshole. Even if Q101 was wrong for playing the album, Electra had nothing to do with it. She was told by Spike to play it.
Electra
Electra

On her blog, Electra detailed her entire experience with Jack White. "Jack asked me to take responsibility for leaking the record, and asked if I was sorry for what I'd done... 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 - but he wasn't having it. He hung up, very, very angry, and I thought I was going to cry." White asked Q101 to not air the phone call, and they respected his wishes, but several months later they aired a verbatim re-enactment of the call with one of the other DJs playing the part of Jack White. Electra and Sherman & Tingle (two other Q101 DJs that happened to be in the studio at the same time Jack White called) made a very convincing argument for why they were justified in playing the album. Basically they argued that playing the album was just like playing any other song. "We're a radio station. We play music. That's what we do," said Sherman several times throughout the phone call. They were giving his album free publicity. If anything, he should be thanking them. It is estimated that radio stations provide between $1.5 to $2.4 billion dollars annually in music sales. I still don't understand why Jack White thought playing the album could hinder his sales. It's not like White Stripe fans listen to an album once, and then never want to listen to it again. The only way it could possibly hurt sales is if it was a really crappy album, and after listening to it, no one wanted to waste money on such a piece of garbage. But any album a radio station devotes an entire hour to playing can't be that bad.

The radio industry is really struggling, just as the music industry is. Both are feeling the negative effects of illegally downloaded music. That's why radio stations and musicians really need to keep up with the times. They need to try new ideas. The old system doesn't work anymore. Nowadays, any album can be heard before its release date. Virtually all albums leak. Electra said: "Our listeners want to hear new music as soon as it's available. We're just reacting to the way it's becoming available."
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6 Comments. [ Add A Comment ]

Comment by Norm

October 21st 2009 22:48
Jack White does sound like quite the arsehole. I think he may have been hitting the blood-sausage a bit hard.

Comment by Anonymous

November 23rd 2009 18:38
I was on the way home from work when all this happened, listening to Q101 on my commute. Electra could barely keep herself together. I felt horrible for her. She runs an excellent radio show, and in my opinion, Q101 has been one of maybe 3 stations I've come across nationwide that are worth incorporating into my daily life. I'll have you know that after that happened, I don't listen to anything Jack White is involved in. I turn the station when it comes on the radio. I discourage people around me from listening to his music. I will never buy a White Stripes or Raconteurs album or any other act he associates with himself. I know my actions have little impact on his wellbeing, but that act has soured me to his music.

Comment by Anonymous

November 23rd 2009 18:38
I was on the way home from work when all this happened, listening to Q101 on my commute. Electra could barely keep herself together. I felt horrible for her. She runs an excellent radio show, and in my opinion, Q101 has been one of maybe 3 stations I've come across nationwide that are worth incorporating into my daily life. I'll have you know that after that happened, I don't listen to anything Jack White is involved in. I turn the station when it comes on the radio. I discourage people around me from listening to his music. I will never buy a White Stripes or Raconteurs album or any other act he associates with himself. I know my actions have little impact on his wellbeing, but that act has soured me to his music.

Comment by Anonymous

November 23rd 2009 18:38
I was on the way home from work when all this happened, listening to Q101 on my commute. Electra could barely keep herself together. I felt horrible for her. She runs an excellent radio show, and in my opinion, Q101 has been one of maybe 3 stations I've come across nationwide that are worth incorporating into my daily life. I'll have you know that after that happened, I don't listen to anything Jack White is involved in. I turn the station when it comes on the radio. I discourage people around me from listening to his music. I will never buy a White Stripes or Raconteurs album or any other act he associates with himself. I know my actions have little impact on his wellbeing, but that act has soured me to his music.

Comment by Mr. Bean II

November 24th 2009 00:52
Well every little bit helps right? Haha

I know exactly what you mean though. People gotta learn to not take themselves so seriously.

Comment by Anonymous

June 23rd 2010 02:28
I remember this part of the argument from q101 was that this album, was basically leaked from the white stripes own camp. No one from Jack's party would fess to this claim but most new albums that are illegally leaked usually involve someone from with the label itself.

I do like Jack's talent for music, I don't hate him for bitching...but if he was pissed about the leak and then it being played after it was already on the internet..he should have tried to have someone figure out the mess or have capitalized on the whole free publicity deal and act like he was aware of it and did a brief Q&A session. Rather that than coming off as dick. He shouldve caused as much stink when his ex wife Meg's home sex tapes hit the internet. Then again that didnt cause much concern since it didnt affect his wallet.

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