Jack White Gives Q101 DJ Electra a Tongue Lashing for “Leaking” Icky Thump–Spanish Subtitles Not Included

Woooaahh! Chicago radio station Q101 played the entirety of the new White Stripes album, Icky Thump, on air yesterday at 2pm. At 4pm the station got a ring a ding ding from Mr. Jack White himself–long distance from Spain, where the White Stripes are currently touring. The phone call was all business, with the main objective being to give Electra, the radio DJ to did the deed, a piece of his mind–and then some. This phone call sounds like my worst nightmare.

On the one hand I understand why Electra would want to play the album for the world to hear–as a fan of the band, I too am excited about the new material. On the other hand I would NEVER go ahead and play the entire album on air without the specific consent of the White Stripes. Longtime followers of the group will know that Jack White certainly has strong opinions on 1. America 2. artist’s rights 3. the internet — and lord help the person who crosses him.

I can’t believe that the station allowed something like this to happen… can’t they get in a whole load of legal trouble for doing this? AND they have basically screwed themselves for any coverage of the White Stripes and perhaps of ALL Warner Brothers artists. I can’t think of any major label that would want to work with a DJ/station after a stunt like this! I can’t believe this DJ has not been fired yet.

I don’t want to seem like a corporate fascist or anything, but I think we can all see how much this could have been an act of passion–as any rational thinking person would think long and hard before playing an entire album before its release.

Sometimes I think Jack and the labels can be a little overzealous about hating some things (such as having Product Shop NYC shut down for linking to downloads of “Conquest” and “You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You’re Told)” AFTER they had removed the links by request of the label !!!!), but I gotta side with the man on this one–Q101 totally effed up on this.

You can read a first-hand account of the phone call right here on Electra’s blog. Comments on her post are now disabled, so please feel free to leave your two cents about the situation right here. Thanks to J for the link.

Look, we all make mistakes–although it’s hard to believe, I would be willing to buy into the whole idea that the DJ didn’t “know any better” because sometimes people really are that clueless–but when someone is shown the wrong of their mistakes and they continue to insist that they were in the right and then NOT say “sorry” for any damage they might have done (I didn’t hear the on-air discussion but “I’m sorry” didn’t seem like that was said in the aforementioned blog post)–well, I just find that flabbergasting.

PS- I read some of the supportive comments people left for Electra on her Myspace page, and one in particular really got my goat: “Jack needs to take a lesson from Trent on how to use leaked music to his advantage and STFU.” Umm…Trent Reznor is not FOR people releasing his music in an unauthorized fashionhe’s against record labels screwing over consumers by charging retarded expensive prices for CDs and in addition to that, it seems as though he is in FAVOR of artists self-releasing their material and taking control back from the record labels about how their music is distributed and at what cost.

I have to stop thinking about this. The stupid is hurting my head. Read more commentary at my homies Web Vomit and Stereogum.

Author: laura

I run The Modern Age.org

66 thoughts on “Jack White Gives Q101 DJ Electra a Tongue Lashing for “Leaking” Icky Thump–Spanish Subtitles Not Included”

  1. The whole thing reeks of a dj/station being too opportunistic with something special in its hands (that in the end didn’t deserve), I love the Stripes to death but Miss M. Age you’re right, with everything Jacks said before about the internet and leaking, as if you’d play it, knowing it’d get leaked!

    Whatever happenned to the joy of listening to an album on it’s release day? Shame on you electra.

  2. hell hath no fury like a jack white scorned. YES I’M THE FIRST TO SAY IT!!!
    if she didn’t know the wrath she would incur from him for this act then she’s clearly not as big a fan as she says she is. OH SNAPZ!!!

  3. she got almost everything she deserved, if she got it all, she would be out of a job right now. being an enthusiastic fan is no excuse for this kind of stupidity. i don’t see how so many people refuse to see why this is fundamentally wrong. this is way beyond a simple desire to just do some promotion, but i guess you can’t expect nerds with voicecrushes on their beloved indie station dj to get off their high horses about this.

  4. Well said Laura! Ditto to your every word. Sadly, Miss Electra is wringing this out all she can. I understand much airtime on 101 was given to mocking Jack and this whole event all during today. Shame on them ALL. Unfortunately I feel a bit of a Stripes backlash from this on the horizon and it will be completely undeserved.

  5. Oh please – you don’t mind posting links to some of the new songs – or links to WS magazine articles – all for FREE without permission, but to this you’re indignant?! I call HYPOCRISY! (and not a just a little bit of JW egomania – good god it’s an album, not a cure for cancer) In the immortal words of Sgt. Hulka, “lighten up Francis”.

  6. Last night I was having a conversation with a friend about what would happen when the White Stripes’ record leaks; this is pretty much exactly what we anticipated. Honestly, has this woman never read an interview with Jack White before? Obviously the man was going to be peeved. And I mean, it’s just common sense: don’t play an entire record before it’s released without permission. It’s just not nice.

  7. i’m not that shocked that the album leaked, i’m more surprised that the leaking was done by an American radio station and all at once. and perhaps it’s slightly hypocritical, but I think there is a difference between linking to one or two songs on other sites or a few pages of a magazine and going ahead and playing an ENTIRE ALBUM on air or posting an ENTIRE MAGAZINE.

  8. oh and might I add with so little respect for the artist. if what Charlotta said is correct–they’re milking this for publicity all they can–making fun of Jack and basically rubbing everything in his face. this is why i don’t listen to the radio–i’d much rather listen to music free of shock jocks and DJs trying to make a name for themselves.

  9. I think Jack White’s reaction is pretty ridiculous. What possible difference can it make if people hear an album a week or so before its debut date? Anyway, the White Stripes are always making a point of trying to release their albums quickly– why do they act like luddites when it comes to the internet? It seems to me that if they really wanted to release albums “as quickly as possible” as they’ve said prior to several of their releases they would use the internet as a distribution tool instead of setting arbitrary dates to release their music on a dying format like CD.

    And why does Jack White have to bully some DJ because she played his album a few days earlier than he wanted it to be played? It’s not as if (1) sales are damaged, (2) the product wasn’t finished, (3) thousands of people are going to hear it in the next few days anyway. My only guess is that he’s concerned about sales, which doesn’t make much sense because nearly all artists make more from performances than from record sales. I assume he’s upset because his label Third Man Records will suffer some loses from leaked copies, but instead of attacking over exuberant fans, maybe Third Man should try to release records in more efficient ways (iTunes?) instead of making people wait for a physical release.

  10. you know i really doubt that jack white cares about record sales. he uh.. just like things done when he wants them done and no sooner no later. i think we all know how much of an effort the White Stripes make to make special and cool things available to their fans and in addition to their music they put a lot of time and money into creating unique and interesting artwork to create the “full package” which you don’t get just by listening to crappy ripped radio streams.

    and btw, the WS HAVE adopted technology like iTunes (the first place you could get the single, “Icky Thump” was through that site) and you can pre-order legal copies from the site as well.

    i do believe the artists should have the right to say when their work is ready for consumption and you can’t really blame them for wanting to control that kind of thing–on the other hand there certainly comes a point where you have to let things go…i think Jack’s threshold for NOT “letting things go” is a bit of a higher than most people’s.

    if people want to be old fashioned on music distribution to a fault, i think it should be their choice…not something forced upon them by a 26-year old DJ from Chicago.

  11. oh and I don’t think Jack was necessarily “bullying” this girl. no one would have known about him calling her to yell if she didn’t blog about it NOR if her co-workers decided to make a big stink about it on air. they’re the ones taking pot shots left and right.

  12. A few weeks earlier, not days. It’s his work and he should be allowed to release it when he wants to. Electra and her co-idiots would like you to believe they’re victims, but the fact that they made this situation public and are boasting about being the first station to play the album makes it abundantly clear that they knew exactly what they were doing. These are not simply over exuberant fans, but manipulative opportunists. It’s not fair to the band, or the other stations that play by the rules. If they were showing a movie on their web site before it’s release date, you can be sure the movie studio would crack down on them. If crappy copies from their web stream surfaced, you can be sure the creators would be pissed.

  13. i also wonder about this “someone” that gave them the album–does that mean they played a copy that wasn’t even intended for them? and I quote, “someone gave us a copy of a record that we were really excited to play”.

  14. There are posters at the Little Room who reside in Chicago saying that this call was “re-enacted” throughout today with Jack’s part of the call stated “verbatim”. The DJs apparently were having great fun egging on their listeners and mocking Jack and “the man” aka Warner Bros. Q101 better hope they have good lawyers retained, they might just need ’em. The Stripes don’t deserve this AT all. Makes me sick.

  15. I bet they got it from a print journo. Promo copies were encoded to prevent downloading and eBay sales and it worked, but obviously a radio stream can’t be traced.

  16. i happen to love the white stripes. i also happen to think that jack white can be a bit of a priss sometimes, if you know what i mean. remember the time that radio station balloon flew up onstage during one of their shows and jack got all pissy and made everyone wait five minutes? well, actually, that was cool. he just seems to take himself too seriously at times. tries to be too much like bob dylan circa asshole 66 tour. it’s all very complicated. he was right to get pissed, though, in this case. he did work a whopping 3 (italics bold underline) weeks on this album 🙂 just typical chicago, i tell ya. TYPICAL! chicago should be punished. let’s see, what’s cool about chicago?…………..i’ll get back to you when i think of it.

  17. Well I Live in chcago and I listen to electra and sherman and tinkle every day on the way to work and comming home from work. As a fan of emmis q101 i have heard them do this before with other bands and this is the first time they have had any public backlash from the band. Most bands love getting the publicy and historically they have played the cd once and never played it all the way through untill it comes out legally but they get to talk about on the mourning show and rest of the next few days and they do it as a preview of comming attractions.

    I really think the whole thing is kinda silly. the band should welcome the fact that they get radio play in general. There are so many good bands out there that never get play on the radio. hence why most people gave up on the radio because radio gets handcuffed in to playing what the record label forces them to play. i feel pretty awesome to live in a city that has a radio station that has backbone and isn’t scared of the legal out come but does what they think is right for the fans and the people that listen to the station. do think the white stripes would feel the same way if they never get radio play and they are fighting to become the next big thing. This whole thing is dumb. I understand the whole artist thing i have friends that many bands most of them where on the radio stations side.

    I think jack white needs to get off his high horse and come back to earth. he needs to get mad at the leak not the messenger. I love the white stripes i think there a great band. what makes them more special then the local band playing at the metro or some bar. this is sad a day because this could change how we in chicago listen to radio. we as a public everyday lose more freedoms and now the radio might run scared because companies and artists are scared to lose money and the record industry in general is an evil industry. they force you to listen to what they think you to hear pay off the radio stations to play what they want so when one radio station decides to be a little bit rogue the artist cries boo hoo. its dumb and i doubt that it was even copied and downloaded because i think q101 is smarter than that.

    Jack white is a priss he needs to lighten up and what i dont understand as fans of the band why do u defend the band i think he was out of line. Wouldn’t you want to hear the album as soon as possible because you know this isn’t going to be the last record jack white or the white stripes makes. my message to jack white “hey take off your diaper amd grow up.”

  18. Jack White has every right to be furious over this leak. As most of us long time fans understand, Jack likes things done HIS WAY. The CD isn’t officially released until June 19. If you remember his last CD, GBMS, he sent vinyl to the press so that it couldn’t be leaked. He can be as big of a priss as he wants, it’s HIS music. He created the White Stripes and he has a vision of how he wants this party to play out. Let him have his way. If you don’t like it, don’t buy the CD, don’t see an amazing live show and don’t read this blog. That’ll show him!

  19. I’m into the old “magic” of buying an album the day it comes out and listening to it in a sitting, bottle of wine, cup of coffee, what have you…liner notes, album art.
    I like to think that maybe Jack White is trying to keep that intact… but perhaps that’s just a lie I tell myself.
    I know that if I was making music in a band that has rules and boundaries like the Stripes, the idea of everyone cutting and pasting an album all over the place would turn my stomach.
    So would an angry phone call from Jack White.

  20. re: Josh. i agree that most band would welcome radio play and most might not have an issue w/ what they did–but what I find really wrong is the fact that the station is making a big joke of it all. i would think that if they were real music lovers and fans of the band, they would be a bit more respectful of the artist’s requests. who made them gods of the airwaves? why don’t they understand why Jack and the label would be upset? what’s done is done, but they are certainly acting like brats right now.

  21. re: CAgirl

    I hardly think having a differnt viewpoint than Jack White on distribution and leaks means I shouldn’t enjoy his muisc or shows.

    Anyway, having people so interested in your music they’ll go to extremes to hear and play it early is a good problem to have.

  22. JudasConstant, obviously Jack doesn’t agree with you and since it’s his music that’s really all that matters.

  23. So the rationalization goes that by only posting SOME instead of ALL it is o.k.? If you’re against leaks of unreleased music then don’t post any. If the band wants people to hear the album in its whole state on the release date – then don’t post leaked songs. Also, photos of entire magazine articles on the WS are more likely to keep fans from buying the whole magazine – why buy the cow when the milk is free. So give me a break – this is all so completely stupid I can’t even believe we’re wasting time posting about it. It is however, excellent publicity (preconceived or not) for the WS.

  24. It’s completely ridiculous that record companies are handing out full-length copies of CDs and not expecting them to be leaked. Many people aren’t going to pay for something if they can get it for free, no matter what it is. It only takes a few minutes to rip one CD and spread it all across the globe. There is no excuse for handing out records like candy before the release date and expecting it to be kept in the right hands.

  25. I’m a little confused, they said on the blog that they were respecting JW’s wishes not to “re-air” the call, does that mean it aired live when he called in?
    The MTV.com article said Warner Bros knew they planned on playing the album, maybe Jack was pissed that even his label wouldn’t protect his wishes, that they’d rather have the publicity?

  26. Oh wait, I reread the article:
    “So Sherman and Tingle were on the air when Jack called. They took the call with me in the studio, off the air.”
    But I’m kind of sickly interested in that call too.

  27. Oh wait, I reread the article:
    “So Sherman and Tingle were on the air when Jack called. They took the call with me in the studio, off the air.”
    But I’m kind of sickly interested in hearing that call too.

  28. Thanks for the article. The station didn’t get an advance copy. WB is investigating the source of the leaked files. Jack White didn’t yell.

  29. why is he being such a whiny faggot about people listening to his music. he should be grateful that so many people are sucking his dick over this because its rubbish.
    i do see how he could be frustrated that the music would be leaked and people would go Christ, this is worse than the last one, im so glad i wont waste money buying the thing now.
    but its going to sell loads anyway and he will still be rich, which is all he must care about if hes neighing on about ‘the damage to the music industry’ to this stupid dj. fuck that nasal egotistical faggot. he shouldnt worry, all his daft fans who are so enamoured with his college student philosophy will buy it and the tshirt and the tour tickets will be sold to the hipster kids who go to any other ‘must see’ gig of the year

  30. Oh, yeah, here we go…I knew it was only a matter of time before the assholes started up again.

  31. I can understand both sides of the story. BUT, I think Jack’s side makes a little more sense on his end. V2 closed house earlier this year leaving both of his bands to find new homes. Do you think they could have gotten more money from WB when it came down to record sales? I know too many people who have BURNED copies of their records.
    How do we fix this?
    The White Stripes have a myspace page. Most people now have a digital camera/ web cam. I say on June 19th we post comments on their myspace page of YOU with a copy of Icky Thump. ( Buy 2 if you could afford it ) Get them #1 on billboard. This should make Jack forget about all this or at least a little less angry. He must have been MAJORLY pissed to call from Spain!

  32. “JudasConstant, obviously Jack doesn’t agree with you and since it’s his music that’s really all that matters.”

    Yes, but I’ve yet to see a plausible counter-argument that supports his position and I’m simply stating my opinion on the matter. Certainly I’m not expecting to change Jack White’s mind about what he does with his music, but I still find his methods puzzling and detrimental. There’s no reason not to voice an opinion that disagrees with him on this subject as it is relevant to the conversation.

  33. Did WB actuallty OK them playing an exclusive? From what I read, I thought the station manager said WB KNEW they were playing it (sounds they announced it several times before playing it), but I didn’t get the impression that WB actually gave their blessing. I don’t know, maybe I am reading it wrong….

    Either way, while I don’t think the dj/station did such a terrible thing in playing it, I do think they should have accepted the fact that Jack just didn’t like what they did and let it rest. Instead, it sounds like they’ve been total jerks about it.

  34. why dont the band and company just send the songs they want playing, then they cant bitch when people promote the record, however sort of not very good it is

  35. i’ll feel sorry for his kids if they ever sneak downstairs a little too early in the morning to peek at their xmas gifts..

  36. Can you imagine, if Jack called in to that radio station at 4pm central time that is like what, 11pm in Spain? Shouldn’t he have been out celebrating his first show (well not counting Nashville)?! He must have been super pissed.

  37. People still listen to the radio? What!? Seriously though, this whole thing just speaks to the irrelevance of the radio in this country. Shame on Q101 for dragging us and the Stripes into their sewer. Don’t fall for it kids. Radio is dead.

  38. Remember when artists ENCOURAGED radio stations to play their music prior to release? It was called “promotion.”

  39. And by the way, Jack…most artists would be peeing themselves just to get a major-market radio station to even play their new SINGLE. When one devotes an entire HOUR of airtime to plugging your forthcoming record, the correct response is: “Thank you.”

  40. From the absolute beginning of the White Stripes Jack has said that he works within a box. He stretches and moves within the box. He likes the confinement. Don’t you think that promoting yourseld on a radio station falls outside the box? I do. I think that he wants you to discover the joys of the band within his confines. Wbhy can’t you just play by his rules???? It’s his game.

  41. “i feel pretty awesome to live in a city that has a radio station that has backbone and isn’t scared of the legal out come but does what they think is right for the fans and the people that listen to the station”

    —What?? Why would the fans’ or the radio stations’ wishes EVER take precendence over that of the artist? Do you understand that the radio station essentially made the entire album available to be copied and passed around the internet? I think it’s pretty awesome that Jack White is the one with the backbone to stand up for his rights against bratty whiners who display their “fandom” by stealing music and self-interested djs and stations co-opting the artist’s right to release music how he chooses. Nobody does anybody a “favor” when they go against their wishes. People just wanna steal music and this radio station just wants help, and screw the artists. Don’t fucking pretend their “helping” bands. At least be honest.

  42. God Bless DJ Electra (horrible name) for doing what she did because as a longtime fan I couldn’t be happier to hear what Jack and Meg have been cooking up.

    Because I was able to download a shitty quality version, does that mean that I’m not going to head to the shop and buy two copies?

    Absolutely not!

    All this “leak” has done is create an insatiable need to hold a physical copy of an incredibly excellent record.

    Mentioning the word “record” makes me wonder if this will have a vinyl release?

    I own one of 300 “Get behind me Satan” albums on vinyl and I paid a good sum for it because The White Stripes are worth the loot…

    Hopefully I’ll have to spend 30 bucks maximum for a wax version of this splendor!

    Jack and Meg, don’t be mad at the horribly named DJ Electra, she was doing what a fan does….she lost control and couldn’t hold back her happiness.

  43. “Why would the fans’ or the radio stations’ wishes EVER take precendence over that of the artist?”

    This probably isn’t the best news, but we’re at the point now where it has become increasingly impossible for the artists wishes to take precedent. The increase in data transfer and independent “news sources” like blogs has removed any sort of code of ethics or coporate control and allowed for instantaneous transfer of information. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is up for debate, but musicians are going to find it harder and harder for their wishes and intent to be followed without some sort of interference from the public

  44. I agree with what someone’s comment from yesterday: All this “leak” has done is create an insatiable need to hold a physical copy of an incredibly excellent record.

    Provided that full, CD quality music files aren’t leaked within at least a week, I see The White Stripes benefiting from this crappy radio rip. It’s created an enormous buzz around the album that previously wasn’t there. The fact is, “Icky Thump” is an American rock & roll CLASSIC, and I’ll love the day when I can throw out this crappy radio rip, and lay down the cash for my real copy.

  45. I feel that if people dont start to control them selves on issues like this and then go and theif music, eventualy the music industry will just copy-right their C.D’s. This basicaly means they dont work on P.C’s, and yes people will record it, BUT, from hearing radio rips before, they suck! I feel there is nothing betetr in the world than having the physical item in your hand, putting it into a CD player and being over joyed by the buetiful music that seeps from the speakers.

    This Electra women sounds a complete dope, if i were Warner, i would never send anything to that station again. I understand her being exited about it, but we all love knowing were heard something that others havnt yet! So she should have kept this to herself. Mr. White is completely on the right side of the fence for this one. Bravo for him telling her off!

    Carnt wait till the album!!!

  46. I feel that if people dont start to control them selves on issues like this and then go and theif music, eventualy the music industry will just copy-right their C.D’s. This basicaly means they dont work on P.C’s, and yes people will record it, BUT, from hearing radio rips before, they suck! I feel there is nothing betetr in the world than having the physical item in your hand, putting it into a CD player and being over joyed by the buetiful music that seeps from the speakers.

    This Electra women sounds a complete dope, if i were Warner, i would never send anything to that station again. I understand her being exited about it, but we all love knowing were heard something that others havnt yet! So she should have kept this to herself. Mr. White is completely on the right side of the fence for this one. Bravo for him telling her off! One more thing, i dont think the stripes care about the money, look how many free vinyles they ahve given out over the years! Including the fabulouse NME Rag and Bone!

    Carnt wait till the album!!!

  47. she is an idiot. i think jack should definettly take leagal action. i bet he could get alot of money.on her myspace she says she is a big fan and didnt meen to do anything wrong. well thats just retarded. playing someones whole, unrealeased album on the radio is just stupid. and all the people on her myspace saying jack is a douchbag are idiots too. i dont think they would like it if this happend to them.

  48. I understand Jack’s anger, but it is misdirected. The fact that the album was not protected by the people who produce, manufacture, and manage that end of the music is who he should be directing his anger at. I know that if the ppl i entrusted to protect my creative work failed to do so, they would wind up in court.

    WKQX happened to get it’s hands on the album, not Electra, Q101 management gave her the album and the green light to play it. So quit with “I hate Electra” crap! I listen to here everyday and think she is one of the best DJ’s this city has.

    There have been numerous bands in the past that have “leaked” their albums, and it’s starting to become the in thing to do to promote albums these days.

    There are also bands out there that have been trying to release their material for years now but can’t due to legal complications, hello Nirvana.

    So if it wasn’t leaked intentionally, the Jack White can eff himself for not firing his management. I’m not gonna buy another CD or piece of music that has his name attached to it till he apologizes to Electra personally.

  49. Jack White needs to be thankful somebody actually likes that crap he puts out enough to want to listen to it/play it in the first place.

    Why’s he so pissed? Does he NOT want people to hear the music? If anything, this will boost sales. It’s not like she burned copies and was handing them out on Michigan Avenue.

  50. Electra is thanked second, only after God, on Icky Thumps booklet insert which comes with the new, and might I add, brilliant, CD.

  51. To Carla:

    Electra is actually the name of a dog that Jack and Meg used to have. Do you really think they would thank that cunt second out of everyone in their liner notes?

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