Published Jan 22, 2015While the rush release of Björk's new Vulnicura album earlier this week has put the album into listeners ears legally, there was much more to the story than simply putting the leaked songs up on iTunes. As label One Little Indian tells it, there were a number of hoops to jump through following the "nightmare" album leak.
Speaking to Billboard, label founder Derek Birkett explains that while dealing with an illegal leak two months ahead of the album's originally scheduled March release hindered the promo campaign, delivering an immediate digital release likewise proved to put One Little Indian in a bind.
"Overall, the advice was to do a pre-sale on iTunes with the instant gratification of two or three tracks," Birkett said. "Björk ideally wanted to get the whole record out, and to cut a very long story short, she made a mostly artistic decision that she wanted to get it all out. She felt very passionately about it."
Putting up the whole LP onto online retailers had angered physical distributors, though, with Birkett saying Rough Trade Germany had threatened to stop working with Björk. "We had to switch some of our partners for other partners," Birkett said. "It had a massive, massive impact on us."
A plan to give fans who pre-ordered the physical version of the album on Amazon nearly soured after iTunes started selling digital copies of the record, with Amazon alleging One Little Indian was pulling a marketing scam to put Vulnicura at the top of the iTunes charts. iTunes temporarily sold Vulnicura in an exclusive deal, but Amazon is now selling the set digitally as well.
"Basically what happened is I panicked and gave it to iTunes because I told them, 'All these deals are going down and we're losing a lot of money,'" Birkett continued. "I told them to put it on the cover and we'd give them the exclusive. Then I realized the political implications of giving iTunes the exclusive."
That said, Birkett explained that, unlike Madonna's team, the label will not be pursuing legal action against the album leaker.
Vulnicura, Björk's "heartbreak" album made in the wake of her separation from artist/director Matthew Barney, is still slated to arrive physically on CD and LP on March 3, while you can grab the digital version now.