Billboard: Ray Waddell, Nashville
Kid Rock's latest album "Rock'n'Roll Jesus" and its single "All Summer Long" have been two of the biggest hits of the summer. But it's happened without either being available for download via Apple's iTunes Music Store in the United States.
Rock has been an outspoken critic not only of track downloading but Internet piracy. In a "smartass" public service announcement he recently advised people to steal everything. Eschewing iTunes also proves a point, Rock adds.
"I tell people in my organization, 'Do not ever come up to me and say, "This is what everyone's doing and how they're doing it." Don't ever give me that lame-ass bullsh*t,'" he tells Billboard at a Nashville tequila bar. "As soon as someone says, 'You have to be on iTunes ... they're the No. 1 retailer' ... I don't have to. Because I remember being a kid when I heard a song that I liked, I would jump on the bus, ride to Detroit, get a $2.50 transfer and walk a mile to the hip-hop store to buy the new Eric B. & Rakim record. You're not going to stop people from obtaining what they want if it's available at some level."
However, Atlantic president Julie Greenwald says "Rock'N'Roll Jesus" will be available soon digitally in the States as an album via providers like Amazon, walmart.com, Rhapsody and bestbuy.com.
"We get so caught up in technology and ease [of downloading a single] ... there's nothing wrong with listening to a whole record from start to finish," Kid Rock co-manager Ken Levitan says.
In other news, Kid Rock and his Twisted Brown Trucker band recently cut a new song, "Warrior," for a National Guard commercial. It will be downloadable in its entirety on the National Guard's Web site once the commercial airs. He's also looking at launching signature beer and cigar products.
"I like [branding opportunities] when it's something I'm into, and I'm definitely into beer and cigars," Rock says. "You probably won't see me on the cover of a Wheaties box or selling Tide detergent, because it's irrelevant to me."