Devo, the New Wave, post-punk, art rock band with a huge cult following and one mainstream hit, just released their first album in 20 years. Something for Everybody delivers “a dozen festive tracks of danceable synth-rock and robot R&B.” It’s a delight for Devo devotees, an intriguing album for new listeners, and an interesting case study in new media marketing for two reasons:
1) Warner Bros Records, Devo, and Cisco partnered on a “song study” experiment. Much like the Devo “color study,” which was conducted to figure out a new color for the band’s energy dome hats, the song study let adoring fans and learned music critics listen to samples from 16 brand new Devo tracks. The top 12 tracks that emerged from the study now comprise the Something for Everybody album.
2) Earlier this week, Devo livestreamed the entirety of its new album on Ustream, accompanied by a live feed of cats. The numbers aren’t terribly impressive – with minimal publicity, the feed saw a couple thousand concurrent viewers at its peak, and over 11K have tuned into the on-demand recording – but it’s a cute and creative stunt, especially for a major record label like Warner Bros.
When all it takes is 60,000 album sales in a week to put you on top of the Billboard charts, labels are constantly turning to social media and online video for innovative ways to market their wares. Devo livestreaming cats is a great example of the type of marketing events artists and enlightened labels can create in a post-record-store world. Next time, though, they should probably use puppies.