Band Release Project Task 10 Muse – The Resistance
When a band releases a new album
When a band releases a new album there are many aspects which create a successful campaign which results in high sales and hype.
I am going to look at the hype that came before the release, the release itself and any articles that surrounded it, reviews of the album, magazine articles/covers, merchandise, any use of YouTube etc to promote and comment on how successful I believe the release was.
The Hype…. On 16 June 2009 it was confirmed on the band's official website that the album would be released on 14 September 2009. In a Twitter update by Wolstenholme on 23 June, it was revealed that the band had completed the album, with only mastering left to complete in New York. On 3 July, the band began updating their Twitter profile with the track listing for The Resistance , which was completed by the end of the day. On 14 July, Muse confirmed via Twitter that the first single from the album would be "Uprising". www.wikipedia.com – Source From the above exert from Wikipedia we can tell that muse used www.twitter.com to promote their new album, they released their album release date as a post. This was a very good idea as the younger demographic will most likely be following bands like Muse on Twitter and by posting it on the site they created hype and excitement around the release with their existing fans. www.nme.com followed Muse’s release from the very start, commenting on both the style and the expectations of the album. This meant that subscribers to nme.com would have been notified, whether they were muse fans or not. Again, this makes sure that their target demographic knows about the album release, creating excitement for both old fans and new.
More Hype… Muse release new album track listing via Twitter By Niall Byrne on Monday, 6 July You may know already but the new Muse album is called The Resistance and is due on September 11th in Ireland (14th elsewhere) this year. What you may not have known is the track listing for said album was released via the band’s Twitter account and looks like this: Uprising Resistance Undisclosed Desires United States Of Eurasia (+Collateral Damage) Guiding Light Unnatural Selection MK Ultra I Belong To You (+Mon Coeur S’Ouvre A Ta Voix) Exogenesis: Symphony Part I (Overture) Exogenesis: Symphony Part II (Cross Pollination) Exogenesis Part III (Redemption) These are all examples of the excitement and hype that surrounded Muse’s release. It’s their first album in 3 years and has been self produced by the band and mixed by Mark Stent (a British record producer). Interestingly, Muse gained a larger fan base last year when one of their track’s was feature on the teenage film, ‘Twilight’. The second movie in the series is being released this November and a song from ‘The Resistance’ is going to be featured on the soundtrack. By creating a link between the films and the band, Muse have gained a new fan base from the fan base of Twilight, which is massive. By creating hype around the album release both from Twilight and the fact that they haven’t had an album in 3 years, they have achieved lots of suspense and tension around the release.
The (pre) Release… An important aspect of the Muse album release was that a track from the album ‘Uprising’ was released for free online a few days before the official release of the album. It gave fans a taster of what was to come and may have persuaded people to buy the album in its entirety. Also, no torrent/download sites managed to leak the album before the release date, which is unusual.
The (actual) Release… When the album was released, there were many magazine articles, interviews and podcasts that coincided with it. The magazine covers for both NME and Q seem to be creating a rebellious image for Matt Bellamy with the use of a pull quote on NME and a rebellious image on Q. This seems to indicate that this album is very much their own, and possibly controversial (which it is). Interestingly, Chris Wolstenholme (bassist) was featured in ‘Bass Player’ magazine with respect to his Bass skills, and featured tips and lessons on how to achieve his sound. This type of publicity means that the album is not just mainstream, and that hardcore ‘muso’s’ will also be noticing it for its musical quality. BBC Radio 1’s website features a video interview with Muse about the album and the tour. Their website was also closed before the release of the album, with a count down clock showing the number of days until the album release. This means that existing fans who did not know about the album would see the release date if they went on the website.
Reviews… ‘’ Tellingly, this is Muse's first foray into self-production. It has seen them develop their own particular brand of democracy to settle difference. "Because we didn't have a producer, we had to resolve all the discussions about the music ourselves." Dom told the NME recently. "So if two people were having a disagreement, it was up to the other person to solve it!" Furthermore, the band were under no pressure of deadlines. "We had unlimited time to work on it, which made it much better for us." However, a little faith between these childhood friends was still necessary to see the 'Exogenesis' symphony through to its conclusion. Says its author Matt: "I had to get the other two to trust me a bit with that one. But I think it's turned out amazing," (it has). Preparing to launch their latest juggernaut of a tour on the world's stage, readying the music world for the album event of the year, Muse are asking critical questions of what it means to be a band in these times, of what it means even to be a citizen in these times. However, the most important question Muse ask follows. Momentous, questing, ambitious: when it comes to defining the times with their blueprint of largesse, instead of asking "why?", Muse ask "Why not?“. ‘’ - http://www.ilikemusic.com/rock/Muse_The_Resistance-7856/4 This is positive, personal review of the album, featuring the bands thoughts and quotes on its production. From the ‘(it has)’, it seems that the reporter has a good view of the album. It also comments on Muse’s attitude to the music industry, further emphasising their rebellious approach. When the album was released, there was a storm of reviews about the album as it was quite controversial and different. This is one of those reviews, I will look at a few more over the next couple of slides.
‘’ After the bombastic apotheosis of 2007's two-night stand at the new Wembley Stadium, Muse had two options. Either retreat into their shell and record that acoustic set of 19th-century West Country folk songs, or continue along the trajectory laid out for them by the wilfully apocalyptic Black Holes & Revelations - i.e. to infinity and beyond. While it's no surprise that Muse have chosen the latter course, the wholeheartedness with which this album hurls itself into the abyss of cod-symphonic astral pretension is to be commended. The Resistance's bold flight from the constraints of human reason takes a little while to get up to warp speed. Uprising - the album's first single - is a deceptively conventional glitter-stomp melange of the Dr Who theme and Blondie's Call Me. Next up, the title track posits a theoretically grisly but in practice quite palatable hybrid of U2 and David Guetta. But it's only after Undisclosed Desires has offered Depeche Mode the chance to beef up New Life with an extra disco twist that hyper-space really beckons. Forsaking the subtle understatement of Knights of Cydonia for something a little more, well, out there, United States of Eurasia blasts schoolroom memories of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four through the filter of Bohemian Rhapsody with a brazenness that would make Mika blush. And while the "political" dimension to Matt Bellamy's lyrics owes more to David Icke than it does to Noam Chomsky, the transcendent absurdity of Muse's music is actually the perfect complement to the half-arsed internet conspiracy theories that seem to be his intellectual staple diet. As the second half of The Resistance proceeds - through a lizard-worshipping thrash metal re-write of Lay All Your Love on Me (Unnatural Selection), to the closing Exogenesis, a three-part, 13-minute "symphony", which triumphantly realises a vision of classical music first outlined by Bruno from Fame - the essentially contradictory nature of its grandiose vision becomes ever more apparent. The foundation stones of Muse's musical edifice are the monolithic oeuvres of Abba, Queen and Rush while a quest for the band's real philosophical or architectural touchstones would probably lead you towards Ayn Rand and Albert Speer. But does this incipiently authoritarian source material necessarily invalidate Matt Bellamy's claim to be making a bold stand against "the corporate-ocracy"? It should do really. But the same stubborn spark of unreason which insists on the right of a major label album release to retain such a deluded view of its own revolutionary potential has been the agent of many a historic conflagration .’’ This is a more upmarket review. It is from the guardian magazine and seems to be mostly positive. I find it interesting that the guardian did such a lengthy review on the album, indicating to me that people respected the musical talent.
‘’ I am a total Muse fan, both as recording artists (previous albums are still top of my play lists, and have been since the release of Showbiz back in '99), and live (what a show they put on - breathtaking!!!) I really, really want to like this album, but I don't. I wonder if Muse are falling into Beatles review territory, where people are scared to say they don't like something they do for fear of being branded musically retarded. There are some great moments, and clearly the band (or maybe just M.B) have great song writing and composing talents, but seriously, it just sounds a bit too 80s electro with some occasional rock references thrown in. Don't get me started on the track: United States of Eurasia - there was only one Queen, there can only ever be one Queen, please, lets leave it at that. In fact, some of the songs sound a little like a Celine Dion cover, played in the style of Muse. Previous albums feel like they are a coordinated project, a collection of songs that relate to each other taking the listener along a journey. Previous songs build, from quiet slow intros, haunting warbled vocals and climb to a climactic end. Songs like Knights of Cydonia give me goose bumps every time when the guitar riff kicks in towards the end of the song. All previous albums are awash with this type of moving, and for me engaging music. The Resistance is not. It is slow and brooding, creating, in places, quite powerful music. But I can revisit the old masters for this. Chopin has already been done... by Chopin. I agree with previous reviews, that this album feels like the left over's from previous albums. It never feels like it gets going. A guitar riff short of a full song. Maybe this is the music Muse want to make, but I for one, do not want to hear it. ‘’ This is a review from the ‘customer reviews’ section of www.amazon.co.uk . It has a negative view of the album and has been voted the ‘most helpful’ critical review on the site. He mentions that ‘Muse are falling into Beatles review territory, where people are scared to say they don't like something they do for fear’, which is an interesting viewpoint. Possibly because everyone (BBC, The Guardian) is classing the album as musical genius, people feel they should like it, which could be a marketing angle which Muse were aiming for?
Merchandise… http://muse.mu/shop/ Interestingly, the official muse site is the only place you can find a comprehensive selection of Muse merchandise. This could be deliberate to make it seem exclusive and special. The prices are quite high, but the items are well designed. The ‘United States of Eurasia’ flag is an intriguing product as it suggests that Muse wants people to come on board with their conspiracy theories, rather than just listen to their music passively.
Promo Shots… These are all very serious, brooding images. They want to represent themselves as serious musicians. They are dressed formally in all the photos, therefore they do not want to be seen as ‘grungy’ rock stars However, the juxtaposition of the graffiti’d wall behind them makes them seem appealing to teenagers. A news article states ‘Known for their obsessive, mostly Goth fans ‘. The are dressed similarly to the old Goth band ‘The Cure’.
Album Art… ‘’ In The Resistance cover, the person on the long walk towards earth gets the choice of living a world on the outside, in the vast, endless possibilities; the coloured tiles signifying everything has its fair chance of a difference, or continue living his perfect, predictable and safe, already good life on planet earth as it is. One or another has to go. Although in Exogenesis it gives cons to both worlds since the people saw the outside as their last chance to continue and spread their life, but they eventually realize that the reason that earth became what their current planet of inhabitant is most likely destined to be is cause of mankind's disruptive ways. It's all in human nature.’’ Muse are known for their interesting album art, and this most recent addition to the collection has caused much discussion. Many fans believe it is the best yet, or on the same par as ‘Absolution’. The above quote is from a fan on Muse’s forum. There is a 10 page thread discussing the album art, showing the hype and interest that Muse has caused with the release. http:// board.muse.mu/showthread.php?t =66488&page=2
The Tour… Muse have also kicked off a tour that coincides with the album release. Many band’s do this as it creates extra revenue due to fans wanting to see their new songs live. It adds to the hype of the album release nicely because Muse haven’t toured for almost 3 years.
How successful was the promotion?... Muse Debuts At Top Of Euro Chart British rock band Muse goes straight to No. 1 on Billboard's European Top 100 Albums with its fifth album "The Resistance" (Helium 3/Warner Music). David Guetta's "Sexy Chick" (Gum/Positiva/Virgin/EMI), featuring Akon, withstands the challenge of Madonna's "Celebration" (Warner Bros.) to start a third week atop European Hot 100 Singles. The Muse album goes straight to the top in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Holland, Ireland, Norway and Switzerland. Outside Europe, it tops the charts in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Korea and Mexico, in addition to a career-best No. 3 debut on the Billboard 200. Across Europe, the No. 1 rankings in Austria, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Italy and Norway are Muse's first in those markets. In the United Kingdom, the album's first week generated 148,000 sales, the highest weekly tally there for a British act this year, and well up on the 115,000 for Muse's 2006 predecessor "Black Holes and Revelations." Matthieu Lauriot-Prevost, SVP, international marketing, Warner Music, tells Billboard that the album "has taken Muse's popularity to the next level. There's a palpable sense of genuine excitement amongst both their long-term following and the newer fans." http://www.billboard.com/album/muse/the-resistance/1281351#/news/muse-debuts-at-top-of-euro-chart-1004016049.story From this article we can tell that the promotion campaign was successful as Muse gained the top place in album charts across the world following it’s release. Muse Debuts At Top Of Euro Chart
The Youtube Hype.
Now I have discussed the media areas that Muse used to promote their album and how successful it was, I am going to show you some examples of the promotion they did using Youtube…