As with Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories before it, Arcade Fire made a grand show of rolling out their new album Reflektor, unveiling hints and details and images and ideas about it before finally letting anyone hear a note of music. It seemed a bit sloppy at times, like when the title track leaked ahead of time, but the whole thing, in retrospect, was a very precise operation. And it worked, too; the album debuted at #1 in countries around the world. And now that the campaign is over and the album is out, The Hollywood Reporter spoke with members of Arcade Fire’s team about how they pulled it off.
It’s interesting to read manager Scott Rodger referring to the band as “a small band that’s punching above their weight” when they’re easily one of the biggest bands in our corner of the world, and when they’ve already scored a #1 album and an Album Of The Year Grammy. But it’s true that the band used nontraditional means to market the album — playing secret shows and placing a TV special after SNL rather than pushing a song to radio or unveiling a megabudget video.
The band’s publicist Steve Martin points out that many of the more unconventional ideas came from the members of the band themselves. But they also had muscle behind them. Even though Merge released Reflektor, the band contracted with Capitol Records for things like distribution and promotion; that’s how they ended up playing on the roof of the Capitol Records building. And the handlers made a fascinating decision by giving one outlet a chance to review the album before anyone else; it wasn’t an accident that Rolling Stone was the first outlet to publish a review. Read more about the strategy at work here.