After Björk’s new album Vulnicura leaked onto the Internet two months early, the Icelandic singer responded by releasing it for immediate digital purchase. In a new interview with Billboard, Derek Birkett, founder of Björk’s record label One Little Indian, details the behind the scenes drama which ultimately led Björk to take the route she did.
According to Birkett, Björk consulted several industry friends, including Arcade Fire and Paul McCartney manager Scott Rodger, before deciding to release the entire album digitally. “Bjork 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.”
Several physical retailers were angered by the decision, however, fearing an early digital release would hamper physical sales. Rough Trade Germany threatened to end its relationship with Björk all together.
One Little Indian also received pushback from Amazon after Vulnicura was initially released through iTunes, contending that the label was “engaging in a marketing scam.” Amazon had originally agreed to make the album available for free download to anyone who purchased a physical copy.
“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 explains. “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.” Ultimately, Amazon agreed to sell Vulnicura.
Birkett says Björk has no plans to pursue legal action against the individuals responsible for the leak, as Madonna has done following the hacking of her own new album.