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Friday, March 21, 2008

The Raconteurs Thought They Had a Good Plan, Apple Ruined It

posted by on March 21 at 14:17 PM

Earlier this week the Raconteurs announced they would be releasing their new album Tuesday with no press blitz—no advanced copies, no months worth of interviews, reviews, heavily-pushed radio singles, and blah blah blah.

It seems they thought they were in complete control of their music, keeping it from being leaked early.

But Apple fucked up.

According to Idolator:

Looks like the iTunes Store accidentally leaked the Raconteurs’ Consolers Of The Lonely a few days before its Tuesday release—reports are filtering in from people who successfully purchased the album on both the US and UK versions of the iTunes store, and it’s apparently popping up on the peer-to-peer services as well. (In the interest of reporting, I tried buying the record, only to be greeted with a “This album is no longer available” message.) Who among us would not love to be listening in on that angry phone call from Jack White?

Whoops. It is no doubt already available on your favorite file-sharing service.

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While it's certainly possible that Apple made a mistake in this case, it's at least equally possible that the label erred in providing the "Begin Selling On" date to the iTunes store.

The process of generating the AAC files and providing all the album artwork, track names, credits, etc. is all done by the label on their end, then uploaded to Apple. Mis-enter the release date, and iTunes will make available on that date, regardless of the press release pronouncements. I work in the downloadable digital asset industry and we spend a lot of time each week cleaning up the faulty metadata provided by our content providers, and I'm sure Apple has the same problem.

Apple's profits on the iTunes Store are barely a break-even proposition (it's really a marketing tool to sell the very profitable iPods), so their financial incentive to break the release date, particularly for the Raconteurs, who despite their high profile don't sell a lot of tracks, is minimal.

Posted by Tiktok | March 22, 2008 7:54 AM

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