There was a lot of hype surrounding album releases in 2013. A number of superstars and each superstar did the album release their own way and showed us that there are a lot of ways to express your artistry in album hype. So I give you the my top 5 list of best marketed album releases. In no particular order they are:
Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
When I went to SXSW in March of 2013 I first caught wind of the new Daft Punk album. Walking off 6th Street I stumbled upon a huge banner that hung across the side of a building. Two giant helmet heads looked down at the passing public. Soon after, came the Daft Punk Saturday Night Live commercial(s) and the hype was on. The marketing campaign for Random Access Memories was a perfect example of knowing who your target audience is, and what they’re looking for. Daft Punk fans are looking for style, mystery, and above all great music, especially in the form of the near mythological electronic duo Daft Punk. The noise only got bigger as the year rolled on and you almost couldn’t get away from “Get Lucky” Daft Punk’s massive hit.
Arcade Fire – Reflektor
I was all over the Reflektor release. The band released snippets of information here and there but launched a full-out guerrilla war on large metropolises around the world with their Reflektor graffiti campaign. It was a little low tech but it did the job. They paired that with the very high-tech partnership with Google Labs for a super cool interactive video, plus a high art video. Plus the band stole all of the hype from CMJ through a series of sold out shows as a The Reflektors in small clubs during CMJ.
Beyoncé – Beyonce
On the opposite spectrum of the hype machine we find Beyoncé. She surprised the world when she dropped her album on December 13th. This surprise album became one of the most talked about albums just as the holiday season was going hard. She paired her album with an iTunes exclusive and got press for her Walmart stop when Amazon and Target refused to sell it. Beyoncé showed us that you don’t need a long lead up to generate hype and traffic. You just need to be a massive global superstar who hasn’t really ever stepped out of the public eye, as she’s tied to one of the biggest hip hop stars in the world, and they can just yin and yang each other to stay in the forefront of our consciousness forever.
Jay Z – Magna Carta
Speaking of Beyoncé’s husband, Jay Z is also on this list for top marketed albums because of Magna Carta. Although his album marketing was perhaps ultimately not as successful, it still garnered a lot of talk, attention and sales. Jay partnered with Samsung and pre-sold 1 million copies of his album to Samsung customers. The response from fans was overwhelming for Samsung and Jay Z fans reported errors and some annoyances from the whole process. Nevertheless this type of gimmick is probably only getting bigger in the industry but I think generally people are over it.
Kanye West – Yeezus
Arguably one of the more artistic album release was for Yeezus, Kanye West’s fantastic new album. Kanye set up projection screens across cities around the world for the release of his single New Slaves. Not only did it garner press and attention but it was the perfect way to get a feel for the edgy rugged sound of Yeezus. Kanye continued to get press with his choice in Yeezus merch and videos that became viral sensations through several incarnations.
- Snoop Lion – Reincarnated
This guy changed his persona (for a time) and released a new album with a fun and interesting flavour. I enjoyed the Snoop Lion record. The documentary that Vice made is a fun time too. It’s pretty much what you expect but at the very least I believe that Snoop loves music and is a true artist.
- Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
This album was so hyped by the indie rock world that I purposely avoided it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great album but still it’s too much. I did notice that the band embraced lyric videos in new ways. Combining a traditional video and a lyric video to create an even more engaging version.
- Run The Jewels – Gave the album away for free, filled venues, toured relentlessly.
- Katy Perry – Remember the gold trucks?
- Childish Gambino – because the internet movie