Friday 1 March saw the release of When I Get Home, the eagerly anticipated follow up to Solange’s acclaimed album A Seat at the Table. The promotion for the record has included a retro website takeover and a 33 minute visual. We take a look at some of the most innovative album campaigns.
1. Stone Roses
Manchester indie heroes Stone Roses teased their 2015 reformation with a series of lemon posters. The white posters containing the famous lemon image from their iconic self-titled album mysteriously appeared in their home city fueling speculation that a new album was in the works. It was eventually revealed that the band would be reforming for a tour and releasing a new single.
2. Iron Maiden
In 2015 Metal Royalty Iron Maiden heralded the launch of their new album ‘Book of Souls’ with an 8-bit retro online game. Click here to play.
Known for his distaste for the internet and record labels, Prince decided to get his music to his fans for free in 2010 with the release of his album 20Ten. The CD came free with the Daily Mail.
For her 2014 self-titled visual album, Beyonce made one of the most surprising moves in music marketing – no marketing campaign. The album simply appeared with download services and no fanfare.
5. Wu-Tang Clan
In 2014 Hip-Hop pioneers Wu-Tang Clan released a double concept album entitled ‘The Wu – Once Upon A Time In The Shaolin’, but there was only one copy and it toured art galleries. In order to listen to the record fans had to catch it at its nearest stop on the tour. Once the tour ended it sold for approximately $5m making it the most expensive piece of music ever sold.
6. Arcade Fire
To promote their 2013 release ‘Reflektor’ Arcade Fire mobilised a team of graffiti artists from around the world to spray the album’s title.
7. Katy Perry
To publicise the release of the lead single from her 2017 album ‘Witness’ Katy Perry’s team chained disco balls near global landmarks. Fans could hear the single via headphones beside the ball.
8. The Sex Pistols
A boat ride to go down in music history, The Sex Pistols released the infamous single ‘God Save The Queen’ during the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. They celebrated by playing a very loud gig on the Thames.
9. Michael Jackson
As a means of subtly raising awareness for his new album ‘HIStory’, in 1995 Michael Jackson floated a humongous effigy of himself down the Thames. The stunt reportedly cost a cool $30m.
Solange’s team teased an album with a relaunch of the futuristic myspace style website Black Planet, which was originally created in 1999. Fans have interpreted this as a means of honouring the black community she grew up with. Black Planet was the brainchild of Stanford graduate Omar Wasow and was heralded as one of the first online spaces for people to creatively express the black experience. It was eventually eclipsed by the mass appeal of corporate social channels like facebook and twitter. Solange is reminding us of Wasow’s work, giving him his dues whilst pointing to the reason the site became obsolete.
Wasow told Vice ‘In 1999 almost every story that talked about black people on the internet was focused on the digital divide, how black people were lagging behind in their use of technology. So when we launched people were pretty skeptical that there was even a market for it.’
Solange’s Black Planet page includes a gallery of fine art photography including stills from her short film, tour dates, a newsletter subscription page and links to buy her new album. Solange live streamed listening events around her home city Houston. The events included Q&As with the singer. The visual to accompany the album includes animation, a horse rider, Back to the Future style DeLoreans and a woman welding.