Deadlines/Brief

Music videos are so 80s/90s, right? They belong with the era when MTV screened wall-to-wall vids instead of 'reality' TV? Try telling that to the millions who bought Gangnam Style; were they really simply loving the music? 1.6bn (and still climbing) have viewed the video on YT, not to mention the many re-makes (school eg, eg2), viral ads + celeb link-ups (even political protest in Seoul) - and it doesn't matter how legit it is, this nightmare for daydream Beliebers is making a lot of money, even from the parodies + dislikes. All this for a simple dance track that wouldn't have sounded out of place in 1990 ... but had a fun vid. This meme itself was soon displaced by the Harlem Shake. Music vids even cause diseases it seems!
This blog explores every aspect of this most postmodern of media formats, including other print-based promo tools used by the industry, its fast-changing nature, + how fans/audiences create/interact. Posts are primarily written with Media students/educators in mind. Please acknowledge the blog author if using any resources from this blog - Mr Dave Burrowes

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Streaming album for publicity: The xx

Attempting to echo the viral style in which they broke through to mainstream success, the xx chose to offer free streaming of their new album to help publicise its release, linking this into a graphic global map that added points of light everytime it was streamed. Fans soon launched a campaign to light the entire globe by getting someone in every country on earth to stream it.

This is a clever response to the challenge of digitisation, though a risky one - before digitisation buying an album was generally a risk, as you wouldn't have heard much of it before purchase. Now, you may be able to stream it, you'll often get snippets of each track on Amazon, or you could illegally download it via BitTorrent or some equivalent as soon as someone rips the CD and uploads the tracks.

What is also interesting here is the implication for the 'release date':
Music downloading and social media have made the pre-release album stream an integral part of the modern music marketing scheme, and Beggars Group hoped the visualization would draw attention to the physical release date.
"It's really hard to focus people on a release date – it's almost like the release date has become something that's become an adjunct to the whole campaign," said Farrell. "Even though for most bands and from the label perspective, it's the most important date because the record's available for sale everywhere."

Here's the full article:

How the xx shared their new album Coexist by releasing it to just one fan

Superfan in London given album to share online before its official release – and snowball effect causes host site to crash
The xx, Shepherd's Bush Empire
The xx: going viral. Photograph: Jim Dyson/Redferns/Getty Images
To recreate the word-of-mouth phenomenon that made them famous, the xx shared their album stream Coexist with a single fan just outside London last week – days before its official US release.
It was a risky marketing move that set out to test whether the band could replicate their initial viral success with a map that tracked shares with a visualization on the Coexist stream's host site.
Twenty-four hours after the stream was shared with a fan on Facebook, the site crashed from the millions of streams, with the average user spending 2.1 hours on the site.
"From a statistical perspective, it's one of the most significant album premieres we've ever done," said Adam Farrell, vice-president of marketing at Beggars Group, which owns the Young Turks label on which the xx's records is released.
Farrell said the xx were instantly able to determine the superfan who would first receive word of the stream due to their frequent postings on xx-related social media.
"The fan was the only one listening to it for an hour or so. It seems like they were hogging it for a bit," Farrell said.
Once the superfan finally released the stream, it spread quickly among the xx's online community, avoiding the eyes of music blogs until the next day, when media outlets finally got hold of it.
"What we saw on the first album was a real word-of-mouth phenomenon we had never seen before," said Farrell.
To promote the xx's second album Coexist, the label had to find a way to inspire the same sort of virality that greeted the band's eponymous debut. Beggars Group then entered talks with tech companies, and Microsoft agreed to create the visualization, which was inspired by Aaron Koblin's visualization of flight patterns in the US.
The stream's visualization prompts a burst of lines as the album is distributed across the globe, cascading from its origin to the opposite ends of oceans, where it then radiates to another point on the map.
Music downloading and social media have made the pre-release album stream an integral part of the modern music marketing scheme, and Beggars Group hoped the visualization would draw attention to the physical release date.
"It's really hard to focus people on a release date – it's almost like the release date has become something that's become an adjunct to the whole campaign," said Farrell. "Even though for most bands and from the label perspective, it's the most important date because the record's available for sale everywhere."
Coexist's release was one of Beggars Group's biggest album premieres. The group – which owns and distributes several other labels – counts Vampire Weekend and Jack White among their clientele.
A day before the album's official US release, the viral move made it to the homepage of Reddit, where fans motivated by the visualization initiated a campaign to get the album spread in each country of the globe.
Despite its success, Farrell doesn't plan on replicating this visualization site for other bands: he says he finds it especially suited to the sensibilities of the xx.

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