The band was given the option to buy back the recordings though eventually Reprise just turned them over for free. Wilco then streamed the album on their website in September 2001, before signing with Nonesuch records and officially releasing the album in April 2002.
Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is one of those albums that is known more for the circumstances of its release than its actual music. Initially the suits at the label refused to release it because they found it too arty and inaccessible, so Wilco offered it up for free on its Web site. After thunderous critical acclaim, the same parent company bought the album back and gave it an official release.
A win for The Artists vs. The Man. And a hell of a great album to boot.