One Little Indian founder Derek Birkett describes the fallout following the leak of Vulnicura.
London-based independent hub One Little Indian Records were forced to rush the release of Björk’s highly-anticipated Vulnicura album earlier this week after the project was leaked online. One Little Indian rushed to make the album available for legal purchase following the leak, which occurred two months prior to the scheduled release date. In doing so they faced another set of challenges.
“Overall, the advice was to do a pre-sale on iTunes with the instant gratification of two or three tracks,” Birkett tells Billboard. “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.”
Pushing the entire album out via digital channels did not sit well with physical distributors, with Birkett revealing that 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.”
“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 said. “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.” The digital store agreed to maintain the exclusive for a few days, after which Amazon agreed to support Vulnicura.
Berkett said despite the “nightmare” behind the album leak, One Little Indian will not be pursuing legal action against the album leaker – unlike Madonna’s team, who pushed for the arrest of an Israeli hacker this week.