Jack White Shocks the Recording Industry — by Actually Paying Them a Cut!

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Last night, crotchety blues fan Jack White became latest artist to surprise his fans by announcing that his next album, the new one by the Raconteurs (White's non-Meg-related side project), will be out a week from today. Instead of a Radiohead style self-release, though, Consolers of the Lonely will be available in actual record stores (whatever those are) on several kinds of obsolete plastic discs as well as on iTunes and the Raconteurs' official Website.

Most shocking of all, though, is White's unprecedented decision to actually share some of the profits with a record company (especially in light of Trent Reznor's $1.6 million payday last week). According to message-board rumors, he walked into the Warner Bros. offices last Tuesday with the completed album and demanded that they release it by March 25. We'd imagine that the decimated staff at Warner felt nervous, at first, about releasing a record so quickly (since, even in their heyday, it took them six months to get a marketing plan together), but then, eventually, grateful that Jack didn't just release the damn thing on the Internet and keep all the money for himself. (If that NIN double album of synthesizer instrumentals was worth $1.6 million, it's probably reasonable to assume that any album with some singing on it will probably make at least $8 million.)

In an e-mail sent to fans, the Raconteurs explain that the motivation behind the speedy release was "to get this record to fans, the press, radio, etc., all at the EXACT SAME TIME so that no one has an upper hand on anyone else regarding it's [sic] availability, reception or perception." Really, though, if the album is being manufactured and shipped to record stores right now, we're pretty sure it'll leak on the Internet in the next day or so — if it's a stinker, expect us to tell you before the weekend. Plus, Maxim reviewed it last month (2 1/2 stars).

The Raconteurs [Official site]