At What Point Did Wilco (The Album) Become Wilco (The Leak)?

May 13, 2009 at 1:47 am

Yes, Wilco's eagerly anticipated new album, Wilco (The Album) leaked on the Internet last night. How do I know this? Why, Twitter, of course. I was first alerted via, which posted the news at around 12:45 a.m. Then I decided to search back to see when #wilco started trending.

The first mention I found of the new album came at around 8:30 p.m., from user freeloosedirt. Another user, dekkerd, chatted with him about it. But then things didn't get all crazed, capital-letters-and-exclamation-points, HOLY SHIT WILCO LEAKED!!! until 10:30-11:30 p.m. or so. Then the snap-judgment reviews started rolling in, with reactions ranging from "amazing" to"I want Yankee Hotel Foxtrot Wilco back" and "huge disappointment." Someone even did a "livetweet" of the first listen. That's not even mentioning the people putting up links to the actual album for download.

The way these illicit copies spread across the Internet is fascinating -- like a series of dominoes falling. When you look at a Twitter feed full of Wilco fans, you can really visualize the psychology and reality behind something like a big CD leaking early. Plus, by morning, news of the leak is going to hit blogs and mainstream media, more people are going to look for the album -- and the cycle will perpetuate itself even faster. (Now I wonder if the band/label is going to move up the release date at all.) Other musings: Something I've always wondered about leaks of big albums: They tend to happen at night, Why is this? Also, I'm dying to know where this leak originated, because labels increasingly have a tight grip on highly anticipated albums, and don't release promos at all to press for review. How did this even get out so early?  

By the way, I give full credit to the phrase "Wilco (The Leak)" to chrisdotfoster,