You can announce and release an album via a simple press release. You can, if you’re feeling a little less lazy, announce it via Twitter. But props to the artists and bands out there who do something a bit more interesting. Here’s 20 of the best….
Aphex Twin – ‘SYRO’
Aphex Twin announced his new album this week with a neon green blimp flying over East London. He also announced details of ‘SYRO’ on Tor, the ‘deep web’. Of course he did. The typically mysterious artist is just one of a select few who’ve used creativity and visual affects to market albums. Here’s 19 of the most interesting.
Arcade Fire – ‘Reflektor’
Mysterious ‘Reflektor’ logos started appearing on buildings, pavements and monuments around the world in September 2013 to herald a new Arcade Fire album. Following criticism from people who had to clean them off, Win Butler said: “The chalk campaign was supposed to echo with Haitan veve drawings that are done in chalk or in the dirt.” Well, that’s alright then.
Pink Floyd – ‘Animals’
It’s one of the most iconic images. A pig. Flying. Over Battersea Power Station. It’s also one of the most successful publicity stunts of all time. The band floated an inflatable pig over the Station during the ’76 photo shoot. The pig broke free and wreaked havoc on Heathrow’s flight path before being chased by police helicopters and making the news for decades.
Kanye West – ‘Yeezus’
In a rare moment of ostentation, Kanye West projected a video of ‘New Slaves’ from last year’s album ‘Yeezus’ at 66 locations across the world. From Berlin to Miami, Sydney to Toronto and LA to NY, people filled the streets as West established his dominion of 2013.
Wu-Tang Clan – ‘Once Upon a Time in Shaolin’
Fractious NY crew Wu-Tang Clan announced secret album ‘Once Upon a Time in Shaolin’ earlier this year. But there’s a snag: there’s only one copy and it’s in Morocco. You can catch it touring through museums and galleries before it’s sold to the highest bidder. A journalist from Forbes heard it and apparently it features… Cher.
Beyoncé – ‘Beyoncé’
We were all hunkering down for the festive break in 2013 when Queen B decided to release the biggest album of the year. The self-titled album went online with a high-production video for each track. It was a complete secret and sold nearly a million copies in three days.
Taylor Swift – ‘1989’
Swift’s surprise announcement this week that she’s been working on an ‘official’ pop record for the last couple of years came via a Yahoo! livestream, which she announced on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. “This new album is a rebirth for me,” she said.
Lady Gaga – ‘ARTPOP’
Lady Gaga announced her ‘ARTPOP’ album with a… tattoo. She posted a picture of the typography etched on her arm on fan social networking account Littlemonsters.com. ‘New ink new album,’ she wrote alongside the shot.
Foo Fighters – ‘Sonic Highways’
Foo Fighters began posting geographical coordinates to their social media channels earlier this month (August, 2014) which when pieced together made up the artwork for their eighth album ‘Sonic Highways’ with a figure of eight in the middle.
Boards of Canada – ‘Tomorrow’s Harvest’
Scottish electronic legends made a comeback in 2013 with a convoluted marketing campaign. It started with a copy of a mysterious 12″ turning up in a NY record store before a breadcrumb trail of codes which eventually led to a Soundcloud link of new music.
Kurt Vile – ‘Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze’
The cover art for Kurt Vile’s 2013 album ‘Wakin On A Pretty Daze’ was revealed as a mural in the industrial area of the singer’s home base of Philadelphia. It was painted by street artist Steve Powers aka ESPO. Earlier this year a local man attempted to cover up the piece with white paint as he said it was “attracting graffiti to the neighbourhood.”
Daft Punk – ‘Random Access Memories’
Rumours were flying that Daft Punk would be playing a secret set at California’s Coachella 2013, following the announcement of their debut album. Though the band were sunning themselves in the nearby Palm Springs they instead screened a trailer for ‘Random Access Memories’ on the main stage’s big screens, attracting almost as much excitement as a gig.
Vampire Weekend – ‘Modern Vampires Od The City’
The band teased the name of their third album, which will be released May 2013, by placing the album title in the classified section of the New York Times under the ‘Lost And Found’ header.
Vampire Weekend – ‘Contra’
It’s those indie stalwarts again. The band announced their 2009 album ‘Contra’ by placing anonymous shots of the album’s artwork – a Polaroid picture taken in 1983 of a young blonde model – on music blogs and papers. It was revealed to be the cover of their new LP, but then the model Ann Kirsten Kennis found out and sued them for $2 million. Oops.
Katy Perry – ‘Prism’
Katy Perry revealed the name of her fourth LP ‘Prism’ in a typically flamboyant fashion – by having a massive great big articulated lorry stating the album title painted gold and driven around the streets of Los Angeles. She then retweeted all of her fans that were able to snap pictures of it.
Jay Z – ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’
The artwork to Jay Z’s 2013 LP ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’ was unveiled next to one of four remaining copies of the actual Magna Carta in Salisbury Cathedral. The rapper went and checked out both historical documents before his set at Wireless Festival, driving down in an Aston Martin.
Rihanna – ‘Unapologetic’
It seemed like such a brilliant idea. Rihanna would promote her seventh studio album, ‘Unapologetic’, by playing seven shows in seven countries in seven days, taking a private jet load of journos with her for the ride. In reality the writers called a mutiny and the whole thing was a bit of a disaster.
Foster The People – ‘Supermodel’
More fans of the mural, Foster The People prepped the release of their second album ‘Supermodel’ with a massive rendering of the cover artwork on a wall in downtown Los Angeles. It was saved by the Mayor of LA after he was delivered a petition signed by fans who was aghast at news it would be painted over.
30 Seconds To Mars – ‘Up In The Air’
Jared Leto’s LA band launched their single ‘Up In The Air’ into space with the help of NASA. The first copy was launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida to the International Space Station in the SpaceX Dragon Cargo Capsule, alongside in excess of 1,200 pounds of scientific experiments and cargo.
Death Grips – ‘No Love Deep Web’
Dearly departed Sacramento provocateurs managed to incur the wrath of their label Epic by leaking their 2012 album ‘No Love Deep Web’. Oh, and the album cover was a selfie of Zach Hill’s cock. They were dropped shortly after.