Tonight in Seattle:  

Major label bands are scrambling to think the most "out of the box"

Sometimes I'm not sure what comes first, the chicken or the press release.

Seems these days major labels are scrapping the bottom of their creativity bins to try to figure out what will sell records. Since they already know it isn't talent that sells records, it must be a press release; a press release proclaiming they've broken barriers and done something completely different than any other artist has ever even dreamed of. That is surely the way to remind the radio hits' fans (those folks that don't keep up with the New Release Boards or subscribe to the fan club RSS feed) that they do still exist and they have a new record coming out.

Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails have gone the route of trusting that the music itself is enough to keep their fans and curious folks supporting their lifestyle. Even Of Montreal is tapping into their thinktanks to get the word out about their new record with multiple "value add" options to the purchase of the album.

Meanwhile, Fall Out Boy is handing out donut boxes with t-shirts and cds inside to random passers by (way to take care of the super fans dude) and this past Thursday Oasis put together their own Rock Lottery:

—Innovative Launch of "Dig Out Your Soul" Features City Street Musicians Performing Unreleased Songs—

NYC & Company, New York City's marketing, tourism and partnership organization today announced a partnership with Warner Bros. Records for the launch of the new album "Dig Out Your Soul" by British band Oasis, in stores October 7, 2008.

The launch will see Oasis use the streets of New York City as the stage to premier their new music. Entitled "Dig Out Your Soul in the Streets," the launch which will be captured in a documentary created by NYC & Company's creative agency of record, Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) New York, will take place on Friday, September 12, 2008 beginning at 10am with an intimate rehearsal session where their new songs "The Turning," "Bag it Up" and "(Get Off Your) High Horse Lady," along with new single "The Shock of the Lightning" will be taught to an eclectic group of more than 30 New York City street musicians from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Music Under New York Program. That same afternoon, the street musicians will take to the City streets to perform three unreleased Oasis songs publicly for the first time.

What's your read on this new "think outside the box" / "go grassroots" phenomenon? What's been your favorite / least favorite idea thus far? Do you have any big ideas?

Personally, even though it isn't major label, I certainly fall prey to the fancy marketing -- most recently when Keith John Adams offered to write a song for the first 40 people who pre-ordered his new record.

I think what Keith John Adams did was appropriate for his aesthetic and his fans. He is a musician who is all about intimacy and fun, so that was a creative way to get the attention of people who will enjoy supporting him.

However, when I run into some street team dude on Cap Hill who is asking random people to listen to a copy of the latest major label faux indie rock (especially some of the quasi-metal emo-pop bands) on a discman I am embarrassed for the dude, the poor tourist he is trying to assault with the CD, and pretty much humanity in general.

It's not just the hustle: It's the content of what's being offered (that cool hip-hop girl wasn't the least bit interested in the new Slipknot I saw a kid trying to force her to listen to right before the Block Party opened this year). My various parodies with The Saturday Knights were mostly understood by people because (1.) They offer unadulterated fun in their content, like KJA, and (2.) It's making fun of the hustle in general.

I see drug dealers selling mints more these days too on 2nd and Pike (from the yells of the kids who have just been burned in a deal), and McCain is offering a New Plan. The desperation of hacks of all types is soul-crushingly obvious.

lipstick on a pig

That's totally true James @ 2.

$100 says the big costume idea at this year's Halloween parties will be pigs with lipstick.

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