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Jack White clickbait letter posted to Third Man Records Facebook page

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Jo McCaughey

It’s been a tough year for Jack White on the internet—there was that time people really cared about his guacamole recipe, the miscontruing of his intentions with his “Music Is Sacred” poem, Tidal (in general). On Tuesday, more trouble: a transcript of White’s online chat with fans made its way around the internet and sensationalized reports of Jack White quitting music and only “being in it for the money” surfaced. 

White’s label, Third Man Records responded, posting a message on its Facebook page. The letter is reprinted in its entirety below. 

JACK WHITE CLICK BAIT BINGO EXHAUSTION

From the desk of The Third Man Council For Internet Regulation and Journalistic Integrity…

Friends, family, journalists, naysayers, believers, tweeter & ‘grammers… I know we’ve all enjoyed our game of click bait bingo with Jack White this past year… Freeze Frame Cubs Games, Tour Manager Guacamole recipes, Tidal, Poetry as Product Placement, Private Chats with Fans.. Whatever it is, fear not because you are in the age of instantaneous negative internet gratification.

It looks we’re there again with something that seemed harmless and innocuous enough: Jack went into a fan forum and did a Q&A with some fans. This has now ballooned up in the press in a way that is suggesting Jack is going to retire, Jack will never play festivals, Jack won’t speak to Meg, etc ad nauseum.. No offense to any journalists that are “just doing their job” in this current 1 hour news cycle environment, pull quote, tabloid atmosphere but this is what happens when you isolate aspects of a conversation between a musician and his fans in a private forum and put it out into the blogosphere in a sensational way. It completely changes the context and intent of those statements, and the conversation.

So please indulge us so we can shed some light on these things and try and readdress some of these items:

* “I don’t belong here” That quote was Jack teasing Vault members about belonging in the Chat room with them, not him belonging on planet earth. It was not an existential cry to the abyss for attention.

* Never touring again – He never said that, but he IS taking a long break from the road (which was previously announced and discussed drama free over a month ago). He said he’d like to do acoustic shows in sit down venues and electric shows in standing venues. He said he doesn’t like festivals but hey, he does them anyway and he makes them work. Bonnaroo and Coachella were two of the greatest shows he’s ever been a part of (hell, we released his Bonnaroo set as a Vault release cause we loved it so much). He is not quitting music. He’s working with the Dead Weather next week, he’s involved in several projects we’re not even gonna tell you about right now cause we don’t want to ruin the surprise. Oh yeah!

* The stuff about Meg… She doesn’t have to answer her phone. He’s not even complaining about that nor is it depressing. The White Stripes is over and it’s been said a hundred times, and maybe that’s just the quickest way for him to answer that question he gets asked a dozen times a day. Jack loves Meg, and she’s an incredible drummer – nobody can do what she does and did with the White Stripes- but those days are unfortunately gone. Let’s move on, Jack and Meg have. And in the meantime we’re still selling their records (WINK!).

* And all the rest… Jack doesn’t “interview himself”, he answered Tidal questions from fans in the fan Vault forum and we posted them for everyone outside that forum to see. The poem he wrote and we posted the other day… it’s part of a larger idea that has nothing to do with music streaming and more to do with our ongoing efforts spread the love language, music and equal respect for all modes of art. Jack is for artists and Third Man does what we can when we can to help them out. That’s our heart and soul right there. Whether it’s printing obscure records or trying to get struggling musicians paid in some way, or bringing attention to writers and poets and film that we love and respect that’s what we’ll always be for.

Lastly, Jack is a guy who just did a tour charging $3 for a ticket price. How are we getting him mixed up with someone who’s ‘just in it for the money’? Everything we do at Third Man is a bad business move! But we do it because we love, music, and art and making new beautiful things exist that previously did not.

Anyway, let’s move on. We need to get back to inventing a turntable that runs purely on tweet retractions and apologies.

Love, 

Third Man Records

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