Album trailers are the new press releases
We had the Muse album trailer earlier in the week, The Antlers have previewed something called Undersea, The Killers trailered ‘Battle Born’ yesterday, Die Antwoord put one out in January and then made the video private, and on the day ‘Watch …
We had the Muse album trailer earlier in the week, The Antlers have previewed something called Undersea, The Killers trailered ‘Battle Born’ yesterday, Die Antwoord put one out in January and then made the video private, and on the day ‘Watch The Throne’ hits Dublin, we are reminded of Jay-Z and Kanye’s said trailer for that album last year.
Now Frank Ocean has released this cryptic video for Channel Orange.
So for something that was previously the preserve of movies, why albums? Talking to major label peeps this week, they see it as a good way to generate chatter around a record. It gets fans talking, gets snippets of the music shared, and creates intrigue around what a record could possibly sound like. In an era where the old-fashioned TV appearance before an album release is harder to secure, and even harder to get fans who are used to watching things on demand to tune into, an album trailer is a simple, cost-effective mechanic to add an online media layer to the promotion built around a release. Album announcement press releases used to just go to media who would filter the news out through their outlets, which would then drip down to fans. With the dissemination of album trailers, everyone is on to them straight away, sharing, commenting and guessing about the nature of their favourite act’s new record.
Then there’s the other subplot of how music videos – and their home online with the internet being increasingly visual – have changed. Big-budget music videos waned around the same time MTV stopped showing them, but an interesting, arty and creative video will always find a sharable spot online. As listening to new music has become watching music on YouTube, it makes sense that this visual element is also injected into an album’s promotion. A gimmick? Maybe. But they’re working.