We’ve been tracking the story of five classic KLF albums appearing on iTunes, Spotify and other digital music services yesterday and today. It’s either a startling revival of the band’s deleted back catalogue, or a cheeky hoaxer sneaking bootlegs onto the services.
There’s no conclusive answer just yet, but we’ll say this now: don’t get your hopes up for the former outcome. Music Ally has spoken to The Orchard – the digital distributor through which the albums were uploaded to the services.
Here’s the deal: the content came through a subdistributor’s label on the IODA side of The Orchard’s business. Spokesperson Jaclyn Ranere tells us that when music is submitted, the assumption is that people have the paperwork to back it up – proving they own the rights.
In this case, the subdistributor didn’t flag up the KLF albums as requiring that paperwork to be checked, and neither did The Orchard as it made its way onto the various digital services.
“We’ve asked our client to send us the contracts, and in the meantime we’ve now sent takedowns to all of the stores,” Ranere tells us. That’s why the albums were gone from iTunes by this morning, although at the time of writing they remain available on Spotify.
So, it’s still possible – if you’re an enormous optimist – that these are official releases (of, bear in mind, some albums that were always bootlegs rather than official releases in the first place).
It’s far more likely that they’re not, in which case some fans who bought quickly on iTunes have bagged themselves some rarities – but also that there may be ramifications for whoever uploaded the albums and was trying to bag the royalties.
Ranere says The Orchard is reminding its entire client base that they must have proof have ownership for all material they deliver to the company, including a notice in its next client newsletter to head off this kind of situation in future.