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Big-box retailer, Clear Channel promoting tiny Pumpkins gig in NYC 11:45 pm // Monday, June 11, 2012

Posted by susan in amusing, marketing, news, radio, tour.
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Appliance and electronics retailer P. C. Richard & Son piped up today to reveal, via Twitter and Facebook, that Smashing Pumpkins will be giving a small private performance in New York City on June 19, the day their album Oceania hits stores.

P. C. Richard & Son is the sponsor of the “iHeartRadio Theatre,” a tiny venue that puts on intimate concerts seemingly just so iHeartRadio (read: Clear Channel) network stations can run ticket giveaways. Pumpkins fans can enter for a chance to win tickets via an app on P. C. Richard’s Facebook page; one might presume that some New York area Clear Channel station(s) may have a few tickets to give away, as well. For those not among the chosen 200 spectators, judging from the recent appearances by Carrie Underwood and B.o.B., the performance may be streamed live online.

Corgan to tout Oceania “album experience” at SXSW conference 1:27 am // Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Posted by jjb in marketing, oceania.
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Todd Wasserman of tech-news site Mashable reports tonight that Smashing Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan will appear at the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin to discuss plans for the rollout of his band’s upcoming album Oceania.

“Our aim is to turn the ‘social’ into a new way to experience an album,” Corgan told Mashable. “By taking the medium one step further we will create an experience with Oceania online and off-line that transcends the single and the single mentality in all ways.”

Corgan will speak on March 12 at a session led by Brian Solis, who works at tech consultancy Altimeter Group but is not a social media expert—which is just as well, as the Pumpkins already have a strategy to garner publicity online:

[Corgan] added that the band is, “Working closely with Superfans as gatekeepers to help interaction on a fan-to fan level by promoting their Smashing Pumpkins related blogs and enlisting their help in maintaining a few official Smashing Pumpkins social media sites.”

UPDATE: Kerry Brown: “LOL”.

UPDATE: HU asked a contact with the band to clarify the typo-marred quotation attributed by Mashable to a publicist. We received the following statement in response, attributed to the “Smashing Pumpkins Digital Team”:

We will not be marketing this record in the traditional way such as releasing a single or a video, the key is that we are going to use technology to bring back the album experience.

Vaporize James Iha. 12:25 am // Saturday, February 4, 2012

Posted by susan in clothing, confusing, fashion, james iha, japan, marketing.
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According to a post on EMI Japan’s website, Japanese fans who buy James Iha’s new solo album at Tower Records will receive a free sticker and a chance to win one of thirty “Vaporize James Iha Archive T” t-shirts. (Iha founded the clothing brand “Vapor” in 2001, and changed the name to “Vaporize” in 2003. You can check out some of the current designs here.) Fans who pick up the album and free sticker at Tower will be able to detach part of the sticker, which then serves as an entry ticket for the t-shirt drawing. A few of the shirts will be autographed by Iha.

Also according to the EMI Japan site, it appears that Iha may also be featured in the March issue of Rockin’ On magazine.

The reissue of Iha’s first solo album, Let It Come Down, is due out on February 15 and is available for pre-order now. Iha plays the EMI Rocks music festival on February 19, and HU contributor Eric will be in attendance. The new solo album, with a yet-to-be announced title, hits stores on March 14.

Thanks to Eric for translation help.

“Billy has the content, they want it, everyone is happy.” 12:34 am // Monday, January 30, 2012

Posted by susan in business, marketing, news, record club.
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Earlier today, Smashing Pumpkins “digital manager” Rynda Laurel tweeted a link to an article about her efforts with the Smashing Pumpkins Record Club (SPRC). The two-page feature appears in the January 26 issue (PDF download) of Sandbox, a newsletter produced by music:)ally, a website about digital music marketing.

The article recaps the Record Club’s activities so far and provides some information about plans for 2012. Laurel reports that the Pumpkins will utilize a “pre-sale” model for any non-digital releases from the Record Club. As tipped by Billy Corgan in his video introduction to the SPRC, the band will solicit fans to subscribe to various musical offerings before putting them into production. Laurel says, “We will offer the product at a specific price that guarantees a specific amount of product to be manufactured. So, for example let’s say that for $50 one can purchase a limited series of live concerts from 1992 in a specifically packaged piece. Let’s say we need 75 fans to purchase it in order to pay for the physical manufacturing, shipping, and our time. We put it online and if 75 fans want it we will make it.” According to Sandbox, such purchasers would receive an immediate download of the music to tide them over until the product is manufactured and shipped, but there is no guarantee that a download-only option would be available for others to buy later.

The article also suggests that for the Pumpkins’ 2012 reissues (these being, as previously reported: Pisces Iscariot, Mellon Collie and the Infinite SadnessThe Aeroplane Flies High, and Adore) some “configurations” may be available only through the band’s website.

Laurel, a (former?) business associate of Kerry Brown, has worked with the Pumpkins for at least several months now, accompanying the band on its recent European tour and operating its Twitter account.

Corgan: “We’re trying to [market ourselves] with a wink and a nod.” 11:46 am // Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Posted by jjb in interview, marketing, movies and film, teargarden by kaleidyscope, wrestling.
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Brandon Kim of the Independent Film Channel has posted the first half of a new interview with Smashing Pumpkins bandleader Billy Corgan. They discuss movies (coming in part two), the music business, and reasons to promote the work of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. UPDATE (7/20): Part two of the interview is online now.

Here are two excerpts that center on the playing of roles in rock music and in wrestling and in a wrestling-themed short film featuring rock music:

[Kim:] You’ve said Teargarden By Kaleidyscope is about “The Fool’s Journey.” Are you willing to play the fool?

[Corgan:] Well, all rock and roll is based in artifice. The Ramones were not really the Ramones 24-hours a day. Nor were the Stooges, or even the Beatles. What most people do is try to find a comfortable persona that they’re in alignment with and the public likes and appreciates them for. In my case I don’t mind playing a character that irritates people or makes people question my sanity.

On the “Owata” film:

[Kim:] Why now and why female wrestlers?

[Corgan:] I’d wanted to do something to do with wrestling for a while. Wrestling has a very fascinating subculture. Most people don’t know that wrestling came out of the circus. I got very disappointed with rock and roll as a subculture in the ’90s when I, sort of felt like I wasn’t having a good time with it. It ceased to be something of fascination for me. I found, somewhere along the way, that I could find the same enjoyment out of this subculture in wrestling, that used to find rock and roll. The same kind of mythic aspects to it without it having to be personally related to me.

Corgan gives interview on Rush, punk, marketing, and next EP (!?) 4:57 pm // Saturday, July 3, 2010

Posted by jjb in billy corgan, genre, interview, marketing, rush, teargarden by kaleidyscope, zeitgeist.
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Billy Corgan’s pre-tour media blitz continues as Jeff Niesel of snarky urban weekly Cleveland Scene has posted a new interview with the Smashing Pumpkins frontman. Niesel explores genre, labeling the band “post-punk/goth/metal” and asking Corgan if the band had “punk rock roots.” Corgan’s response:

None of us were really into punk rock. I loved punk music, but I wasn’t a fan in the sense that it influenced my writing. I grew up [with] a musician dad who was very critical of bands that couldn’t play their instruments. And part of what punk was about was that you don’t have to play well; you just have to feel right. I saw Bad Brains, 7 Seconds, and DOA. I loved them and thought they were great. But they never influenced me. There was a moment in time with Nirvana and Green Day when punk came into the mainstream. Everyone pretended to be into punk. But I didn’t want to pretend I was into the Clash because I wasn’t.

Corgan also talks more about the band Rush — specifically crediting Neil Peart’s lyrics as an influence — and he revisits the Zeitgeist marketing controversy.  Perhaps most intriguingly, Corgan may have suggested that the second batch of songs from Teargarden by Kaleidyscope will not be released in the same manner as was the first:

[Cleveland Scene:] Do you really intend to release some 44 songs?

[Billy Corgan:] Yeah. I have more songs written, which is just absurd. The nice thing is that as I get some distance from them, I then realize which ones aren’t that great. The next EP comes out the day of the Cleveland show. I have four more songs ready to go and we’ll try to record some more in September and try to keep outrunning the train.

MySpace publicizes 2nd “Teargarden” song 11:50 am // Monday, January 18, 2010

Posted by jjb in marketing, news, teargarden by kaleidyscope.
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A free download of “Smashing Pumpkin’s [sic?] new song ‘Widow Wake My Mind’” is being offered via a large banner atop the MySpace.com homepage.

UPDATE: The Pumpkin’s [sic?] banner is alternating with at least one other promotion, so it may take you multiple page loads to see it (or you can check out this screenshot). To get the song with no hassle, go directly to the band’s MySpace page.

Lessons in (Anti-)Targeted Marketing? 3:07 pm // Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Posted by Jill in advertising, business, marketing, video.
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Christopher Weingarten at Idolator published an interesting article about an Argentinian ad agency that is taking a serious music promotion detour.  Since we here at Hipsters United have been wrapping our minds around recent Smashing Pumpkins advertising campaigns and their ‘targeted marketing,’ I thought this provided an apt counterpoint:

The ads say that, indeed, it’s more important and rewarding to spend time and money searching out music you like in other genres. The Internet has made it so easy to find out only about your genre of choice–allowing you to spend all day only on rap blogs or only on metal blogs [ed. Smashing Pumpkins blogs?] – that many of us have friends who don’t even know what the fuck a Lady Gaga is.

Weingarten’s claim resonates with our earlier jests about the indie rock ‘echo chamber’ — that it’s easy to get absorbed into the subgenres that occupy much of your time while alienating other worthwhile tastes you might acquire.  I certainly couldn’t have predicted the affinity I’m developing for1960s psychedelia if it weren’t for the Pumpkins.

But really, I won’t lie:  I just couldn’t bury this in the Postchildren.  This is perhaps the funniest music moment I’ve seen since Zwan’s appearance on Jools Holland [R.I.P]:

Thank you, Idolator, for bringing me the lolz.

Visa: “Today” is the greatest day to open a new credit card 9:51 pm // Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Posted by Jill in advertising, business, marketing.
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In a premium TV spot during tonight’s new episode of Lost, Visa aired a new commercial narrated by Morgan Freeman and my ears immediately perked up.  The soundtrack was none other than hit single “Today” off Siamese Dream.

The clip hasn’t yet appeared on YouTube but Visa’s ad site has it.  ‘Luke de Spa’ on Netphoria makes an interesting point, via this Newsweek interview with Billy Corgan in 2004 [emphasis mine]:

Newsweek: The notion of “selling out,” licensing songs, how has that changed? Fifteen years ago, that seems like it would have been unacceptable. Career death. Is all this completely different now?

Billy Corgan: I’m not romantic about the notion of “selling out.” People who are not in your position deciding what is and isn’t selling out I always thought was a crock of s—.  The song I wrote, “Today,” which ended up being a pretty big song — that song literally saved my life. I was completely suicidal, and I wrote that song in a cold bedroom on a day where it was like, “I’m either going to kill myself today, or I’m going to live because I’m sick of thinking about this.” When I played it, it was an intense, extreme feeling. Last year, I was offered heavy, heavy money to license that song. I actually turned down two huge, huge, seven-figure-plus deals last year for two songs.

Newsweek: For “Today” and for which other song?

Billy Corgan: “Tonight, Tonight.” That’s a fundamentally difficult position to be in. At this point, it’s just free money. Song’s already been played. It’s been exploited. The record company’s literally begging me: go ahead and take these commercials. At this point in my life, I don’t feel comfortable. Those songs are the reason I’m alive. If your music is not sacred to the point where it’s a really, really, really heavy decision about whether or not you would allow somebody else to exploit it, then what’s not for sale? For a long time there was this dream that you could hit this utopian point The Beatles hit. “All you need is love.” You’d write that song that would change the world. That seems to have gotten lost. Now songs are just vehicles for personality. The song is not the sacred thing anymore.

UPDATE: We’ve also heard rumors that the ad was aired during American Idol.

HU Podcast #33: O-board 2, Pazz and Jop 8:47 am // Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Posted by chris in advertising, criticism, marketing, podcast, smashingpumpkins.com.
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I originally planned on not having a podcast this week, but with the Super Bowl coming up next week during our usual recording time we decided to come back early to talk about the new official messageboard that is coming to Smashingpumpkins.com and the Pazz & Jop poll.

Listen to the whole show (1:03:47)

(download)(iTunes)

This week’s topics:

Panelists
-Chris, Jason, and Jill

-The debut of O-board 2 is upon us.  Aren’t there enough ways for Pumpkins fans to connect with each other already?  How does increased traffic to SmashingPumpkins.com benefit the band?  Plus, we once again discuss the Pumpkins and advertising, which was oddly prophetic considering the news that dropped yesterday.  (23:35)

-None of the critics polled by the Village Voice mentioned the Pumpkins this year.  We mock some of those who made the list, and ponder whether this bodes ill for Billy’s “singles only” strategy going forward.  (28:36)

This Week in Pumpkins History
-Zwan releases Mary Star of the Sea.  We discuss the Loudness Wars.  (6:29)

Song of the Week
-Honestly, Paris, France February 8th, 2003

Audio for the Affluent 5:18 pm // Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Posted by Jill in analysis, audio, marketing.
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Yesterday, SP.com featured LiveSmashingPumpkins.com’s newest offering: a bundle that includes download rights to all soundboard shows on the current tour.  Sweet.

So I clicked through to this ad.  And my jaw dropped.

livespdotcom.png

This package includes 23 shows, 16 of which are the two-night Black Sunshine / White Crosses shows.  And, I think the shock of the numbers speak for themselves.  But you might wonder, how much would I be saving if I chose to buy all of these separately?  Well, here’s the number-crunching:

livespbundleanalysis.png

Aside from the reported issues (like gaps, dissatisfaction with vocals, and repeated song segments), the recordings sound terrific.  But for $350?  Why not offer a more reasonable bundle, like a 5-pack download for $50?  Or include a significant discount with concert ticket purchase?

Corgan a no-show at “masterclass” 11:23 pm // Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Posted by jjb in marketing, news.
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That EQ Magazine event scheduled for tonight? Didn’t happen:

CANCELED: An Evening with Billy Corgan, a Live Online Masterclass, October 22nd
We regret to inform EQ readers and online users that this event has been canceled.

Back to School with Billy Corgan 12:36 am // Saturday, October 18, 2008

Posted by Jill in advertising, marketing, news.
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Billy Corgan is taking his great marketing alliance with EQ Magazine to new heights after his recent feature and exclusive interview. An “EQ Online Artist Master Class with Billy Corgan” will feature an open Q&A session for all the “recording-related questions you never thought you would get a chance to ask.”

The event is planned to take place next Wednesday, October 22nd at 7:30pm PST (11:00pm ET), since the Smashing Pumpkins will presumably be setting up camp on the West Coast. There is a fee to register: $9.95 gets you a dial-in to the live viewing and “nine additional viewings of the archived webcast.” Hmm. To register, go here.

Has anyone attended an online master class with EQ before? It looks like they’ve done one on signal processing before.

TNA wrestlers are the real, if real ever was 3:30 am // Monday, September 15, 2008

Posted by jjb in marketing, venues, video, wrestling.
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The Smashing Pumpkins wouldn’t consider Hammond to be Chicago, but those developing promotional material for the upcoming Total Nonstop Action pay-per-view event “Bound for Glory IV” couldn’t seem to repeat the word Chicago often enough. The venue? Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates.

Their contrary views on suburban identity notwithstanding, TSP and TNA have finally aligned themselves from a marketing standpoint. The band’s recent single “TaraNtulA” has been creatively recapitalized chosen as theme song for the big smackdown, and there may be more partnering in the works:

TNAwrestling.com will post more information in the coming weeks on the Smashing Pumpkins teaming up with TNA.

Below: These guys don’t want to fight every single night? (YouTube)

The “Pumpkins Approach” to music release? 11:53 am // Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Posted by Jill in amusing, bloc party, marketing, sales.
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In an amusing interview with Rolling Stone, Kele Okereke of British indie giant Bloc Party gets all teary-eyed and waxes poetic about his band’s upcoming album, Intimacy:

It was totally hush-hush but we didn’t want to go the whole In Rainbows route and give away for free. We live in a capitalist world and I do want to get paid and I do want to eat.

Ah, the sweet smell of money-makin’, money-money-makin’ in the morning.

But wait!  He goes on to further explain the hard-and-fast marketing tactic behind recent one-off single release “Mercury” (“Superchrist” or “G.L.O.W.,” anyone?):

We’re kind of just making it up as we can go along. You can do that these days and it’s pretty exciting I think.

Indeed. So is the key to making friends with the press blatantly discussing your strategies?  We know Jared Paul thinks so.

But so far, Bloc Party has gotten no snarky remarks on Pitchfork or Stereogum or [enter ad nauseum music blogs here].  Quel dommage!

Pumpkins manager thrills to “Beginning Is the End” sales 11:35 am // Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Posted by jjb in amusing, interview, marketing.
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Gus Wenner of Rolling Stone today gets a quote from a member (above, center) of “the Smashing Pumpkins organization”:

“The Smashing Pumpkins organization is thrilled with the immediate results they have seen for their song ‘The End Is The Beginning Is The End’ being chosen for Watchmen,” says Pumpkins manager Jared Paul. “This is a good example of the future of The Smashing Pumpkins. We are looking for great marketing alliances to support the band’s past and present musical offerings.”

As a guy who’s marketing the music of an alternative rock band, Jared Paul has wicked insight into the sort of quotes that should be given to Rolling Stone. I mean, Mr. Paul may have (understandably) flubbed the song title, but otherwise, I think he sounds so rock and roll! I’m sure Rolling Stone readers will agree, trampling over themselves in their hurry to buy the music of and otherwise identify with the vehicle of cool that is The Smashing Pumpkins. Kudos to you, Mr. Paul. Way to leverage that brief interview to enhance the band’s brand positioning as you move forward into a new era.

HU Podcast #10: Residency DVD and Off-Season Marketing 5:35 pm // Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Posted by chris in cheap trick, marketing, podcast, radiohead, releases, thefutureembrace.
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machina mysteryAfter a bit of a hiatus the podcast returns with a full slate of panelists three-quarters of a panel. Barring any unforeseen business travel, we should be able to stick to our weekly schedule at least until the end of the summer. This week we talked about the residency DVD, which seems on track to defy the odds and actually get released, and a topic near and dear to my heart: marketing.

Listen to the whole show (1:01:36)

(download)(iTunes)

This week’s topics:

Panelists
-Chris, Jason, and Andrew

News
-Billy is playing with Cheap Trick on June 28th, anyone want to iReport it for us? (2:04)

-A new single is announced for September, will it be a pop hit or a sweeping epic? Plus, we make our first reference to the Machina Mystery on this podcast. (7:11)

-IMDB reveals more information about the residency DVD, which is scheduled for the end of this year, and provides a unique interpretation of alphabetical order. (7:12)

In-Depth Discussion
-With the news slowing to a trickle, fan sites start going dark as fans enjoy the summer weather and forget about the Pumpkins until the next blitz begins. Now that the band is label-less and in charge of their own marketing, does this promotional pattern make sense? I figuratively hire Jason and Andrew to play Madison Avenue Executive, and we all have our own advice for how to keep fans engaged. (31:25)

This Week in Pumpkins History
-TheFutureEmbrace is released. Jason ponders the accolades it would have received had it been released by Radiohead. Plus, I reveal my darkest secret: that I listen to James Iha’s solo album more than Billy’s. (8:36)

Song of the Week
-Lover December 12, 1998

Next week we may be doing a show review for a Gish-era show to go along with the announcement of the rerelease/box set/Gish tour. If so, I’ll post the date of the show we’ll be discussing in the comments for this post later in the week.

“Inside the Zeitgeist” DVD out today 7:49 am // Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Posted by jjb in criticism, marketing, news, pitchfork, zeitgeist.
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This making-of-Zeitgeist documentary is available from Best Buy for $13.99; it will be packaged with a free CD copy of Zeitgeist that contains a previously unreleased bonus track entitled “Ma Belle”.

No, that’s not how it’s being marketed, but that is an economically equivalent way of describing the “re-release” of Zeitgeist. I don’t think anyone would have a problem with the band pricing a new standalone DVD documentary at $14; however, the offer of a $14 DVD/Zeitgeist combo ($10 if pre-ordered) has been met with some hysterically righteous denunciations. Two examples:

  • Pitchfo*k Media has responded to this $14 DVD/CD offer by (again) trotting out an image of a 100-dollar bill with Billy Corgan’s picture superimposed upon it, referring to the band as “$mashing Pumpkin$”.
  • The webzine Prefix headlines an article “Billy Corgan’s integrity R.I.P 2007″ and says anyone who wants this item would “probably better off writing a check for the same amount and sending it to P.O. Box Your Toilet”.

UPDATE: The “full length” DVD reportedly contains the 20-minute-long documentary as well as the promo videos for “Tarantula” and “That’s the Way”. That plus “Ma Belle” for $14? It’s a borderline call for me, but I won’t pretend to be deciding for everyone. Of course, I’m listening to “Ma Belle” right now for $0, so… :)

UPDATE: The in-store price is $10 through Friday.

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