"It's just part of the general game plan. We send it out, it leaks, we stream it, we proceed," Wilco's publicist, Deb Bernardini tells Billboard.com. Through this leak and stream process, Wilco could potentially benefit from the massive spike in web chatter that album received. In November 2008, the band saw a similar jump in web buzz when they released a free, collaborative single with Fleet Foxes, covering Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released."
According to Nielson's Blogpulse, the term "Wilco" accounted for a little more than .03% of all blog topics being discussed throughout the day. And in the 2 p.m. EST hour, Wilco had become a top ten trending topic on Twitter. Twitscoop.com, a web-based client and statistical tracker of Twitter trends, tracked Wilco in that same hour as having at least 1.5 tweets per minute about the band. "To give a little perspective, about 0.25% of tweeters were talking about Wilco at the peak of the buzz," Pierre Stalislav, co-founder of Lollicode/Twitscoop tells Billboard.com. "This is huge, even if the percentage looks tiny.
"It's definitely made more than a blip in private sharing communities," says Joe Fleischer, Chief Marketing Officer of Big Champagne, a monitoring service of the file sharing world. "It was the primary topic of discussion and most popular of the week. It doesn't have a huge amount of downloads so far; Wilco being more of a niche artist than U2, the numbers aren't quite comparable. But there's a lot of excitement."
In terms of detracting would-be downloaders, Fleischer doesn't see the streaming efforts as having that effect. "It doesn't seem to abate downloading all that much," he says. "But it seems to be best intentioned as a nod to the fans and a nod to convenience. In terms of building excitement, the private sharing communities seem to adore Wilco."
Such is good news for Wilco's label Nonesuch, who also responded by launching a pre-order campaign via Nonesuch.com, where customers could order the CD for $16 or a CD+LP combo for $19. A representative from Nonesuch reported "a good spike" in traffic; Wilco's own website garnered nearly 100,000 hits yesterday alone due to its streaming efforts.