Chicago-based rock act Wilco's upcoming studio album, "A Ghost Is Born," has been leaked to various peer-to-peer file-trading services in advance of its planned June 22 release through Nonesuch, and t
Chicago-based rock act Wilco's upcoming studio album, "A Ghost Is Born," has been leaked to various peer-to-peer file-trading services in advance of its planned June 22 release through Nonesuch, and the band has taken a novel approach in response.
The group is now streaming the album from its Web site and has given its approval to Justafan.org, a site started by a pair of fans that is accepting "good faith" donations from other fans who have downloaded the album but also plan to purchase a copy upon its release, or just want to give something back.
"These donations are a symbolic down payment or promissory note in advance of the album's release on June 22," reads a post on the site, "and a show of thanks to the band for its continuing generosity and trust -- on behalf of the fans of Wilco and of real, original music everywhere."
The proceeds from the site will in turn be donated to nonprofit emergency aid organization Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontiers. As of this morning (April 6), the site had raised more than $4,000 in less than a week.
Front man Jeff Tweedy's quote on the site sets forth the band's mindset: "The impulse to make music is as strong as it ever was ... making CDs is not our reason to exist. We're a band because we like to play together and feel good about playing in front of people, and we've always made our living doing that. That isn't going to change."
Wilco has much experience with pre-release leaks, stemming from the well-documented saga surrounding 2003's "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot." That album was also streamed from the band's Web site a year before its release, after the band was dropped from former label Reprise and before it signed to Nonesuch. Even after months of being widely available online, however, the album debuted at No. 13 on The Billboard 200 upon its eventual official release -- the band's highest chart showing -- and went on to sell 441,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.