Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

The boys in the bubble

David Blaine did it. Keith Duffy commentated on other people doing it for TV3. Now, US rock band Cartel are also about to do it. They are about to live in a very large, transparent plastic bubble for a few …

Fri, May 4, 2007, 10:09

   

David Blaine did it. Keith Duffy commentated on other people doing it for TV3. Now, US rock band Cartel are also about to do it. They are about to live in a very large, transparent plastic bubble for a few weeks. The twist? They’re going to record their second album in that bubble.

From May 24th, this year’s most outlandish music marketing stunt will be broadcast live online with MTV set to transmit selected highlights. Given that we’re talking about a band recording an album in a bubble, it’s questionable just how many highlights will be suitable for screening. Really, how many times do you want to hear the bass player mess up that solo or the drummer moan about his stool?

Cartel’s sojourn in the bubble naturally involves a couple of well-heeled brands. Soft drink manufacturers Dr. Pepper are paying a large amount of dollars to be the title sponsors, while others who are lending their names and cash to this inane mix of marketing, advertising, reality TV and music include fried chicken restaurants KFC and Big Brother show creators Endemol.

For Cartel and their label, the advantages are obvious. Their debut album “Chroma” was released in 2005 and featured a modest hit called “Honestly”. But since details of this stunt were announced, their media profile has rocketed and more people have probably come across the band than ever knew about them before now.

In an online exchange with music business commentator and blogger Bob Lefsetz, singer Will Pugh defended the band’s move. “Of course this is a marketing ploy. There’s not one person who reads about this, fan or not, that isn’t going to see this as a stunt.

“But we are looking at this as our make or break opportunity. This marketing scheme shows the world that we are a real band with real inspiration and real songs, not some American Idol winner or a label lottery contestant.”

While there are probably many bands and labels kicking themselves for not thinking of this first, any success is likely to be short-lived. From now until the day the band hand up their guitars, Cartel are doomed to be known as the bubble band. And, as we all know, bubbles do burst.

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