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IGN reveals part of Guitar Hero 5 lineup 10:08 am // Thursday, May 28, 2009

Posted by Jill in advertising, gaming, news.
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According to this article on IGN.com, part of the new band roster for Guitar Hero 5 has just been posted (perhaps Activision has to do the scavenger hunt, too?).  The Smashing Pumpkins make the (randomly-ordered) list at numero uno, alongside some other exciting acts.  No news yet on what songs will be included, but here are the bands:

  1. Smashing Pumpkins
  2. David Bowie
  3. Mötley Crüe
  4. Attack! Attack!
  5. Dire Straits
  6. Johnny Cash
  7. The Derek Trucks Band
  8. Sublime

Great.  Now I’m going to have “Santeria” stuck in my head all day.  Hat tip to SlingeroGuitaro on Netphoria for the news.

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.

“You’re still just a rat in the six sides of steel cage!” 7:57 pm // Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Posted by jjb in advertising, amusing, wrestling.
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No, that’s not Billy Corgan’s response to James Iha’s remarks…it’s the last line of his adapted, abbreviated spoken-word rendering of “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” in this promo for Total Nonstop Action wrestling.  Any1 got the lossless audio??!?2

(Thanks to HU reader Norman for the tip.)

Together they ride, side by side 6:50 pm // Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Posted by jjb in advertising, amusing, hipster runoff, tao lin.
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Carles, for the first time, has mentioned the Smashing Pumpkins on his popular weblog Hipster Runoff:

Can’t believe the Smashing Pumpkins ’sold out’ and let VISA use their song in their commercial. jk. happy 4 them. Billy Corgan seems like a chill bro who has been through a lot [via 1979 tonight, tonight]. Kinda sad how we’re all getting older and music ‘that was cool during our youth’ is being used to encourage us to buy stuff with money that we don’t have. h8 marketing. sad on the inside. Need to buy a flat screen tv to cheer myself up. Might also buy ‘a wii’ and ’some marijuana/lean.’

He also ‘explains’ who he ‘is’:

This has been a music video recap by Carles. Carles is a full time student at a high level digital arts graduate program. He is also a Teaching Assistant for Digital Media 101:Lessons in Photoshop, InDesign, and iMovie.

And the author of the first two comments on the post?  Tao Lin.

White House aside, pink ribbon scars everywhere you want to be 12:21 am // Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Posted by jjb in advertising, amusing, interview, politics.
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At the very end of an interview conducted Tuesday afternoon, Politico’s Patrick Gavin asked Congressional testimony-giving rocker Billy Corgan this well-timed question:

The phrase “Today is the greatest day I’ve ever known” would be a pretty good campaign slogan.  Any chance you’d loan that to Obama in 2012, or anybody else?

It was but one week ago, of course, that the credit-card company Visa launched a major television advertisement using the Smashing Pumpkins song in question…which makes Corgan’s response hilarious:

Well, as soon as one of their staffers did the research, with the idea that I wrote the song about suicide, they may want to kill that. [laughs]

HU Podcast #36: Archivists, Apologies, and Visa 10:04 pm // Monday, March 9, 2009

Posted by chris in advertising, machina, podcast, smashingpumpkins.com, tinted windows.
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There were lots of topics for this week’s show, but once again the big news centered around marketing alliances rather than musical output.  Hopefully our next show won’t require that I get an MBA in preparation, although based on tomorrow’s events I may need to go to law school instead.

Listen to the whole show (57:15)


This week’s topics:

-Chris, Jason, Jill, and Andrew

-Kind of a Girl is released online.  We discuss Tinted Windows’ first single and whether it will turn younger fans on to the Pumpkins.  (7:30)

-The Archivist.  It’s not a new police procedural on CBS, it’s a new position in Team Pumpkins.  Jill has no inside info on his role, so we speculate wildly on when we’ll see the fruits of Frank’s labors and debate whether this is a job for a fan or a professional.  (8:22)

-Billy apologizes to the denizens of the new o-board, and we try to figure out what he’s apologizing for.  (7:42)

-Today plays while Morgan Freeman waxes poetic about Visa.  The panel is divided in our reactions to this financial stunt, but no one can argue that the band is reaching a wide audience.  Even Jill’s mom noticed. (21:22)

This Week in Pumpkins History
-Machina is released, and we reminisce about practically every song.  (7:22)

Song of the Week
-Today, Toronto, Canada Jan. 3rd, 1996

We may be back next week if Billy’s Congressional visit proves to be worthy of discussion.

“Why r people so gullible???” 1:39 pm // Friday, March 6, 2009

Posted by jjb in advertising, amusing, video.
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The artist behind the webcomic Xkcd once wrote that “The Internet has always had loud dumb people, but I’ve never seen anything as bad as the people who comment on YouTube videos.”  Is it true?

Here are my favorites among the few comments that have been left on the Smashing Pumpkins’ latest, uh, commercially viral vid:

richpon1973 (1 day ago)

is that morgan freeman?

hey now, he really like smashing pumpkins after all!

KIDSCOTCH (16 hours ago)

Ha sell out,I don’t blame him but he still is a sell out, If Kurt was here he would be doing Pepsi commercial, I always thought this song was about suicide, have a Visa, that’s what it’s all about

Fuck you, I always thought your music was over rated anyway

smashingdan07 (11 hours ago)

billy corgan quote “And I will never sell out” yea right , its not like the super bowel commercial where he was promoting a new song this song is 16 yrs old but hey i still got to love the pumpkins

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’s Jill at SP.com: “Unsportsmanlike conduct!” 3:49 pm // Friday, February 13, 2009

Posted by jjb in advertising, analysis, smashingpumpkins.com.
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She deconstructs the charge of “rank opportunism” that was hurled at the Smashing Pumpkins in the wake of their recent involvement with a Hyundai advertisement.

HU Podcast #34: Ohayou FOL 7:45 am // Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Posted by chris in advertising, FOL, podcast.
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This week on the podcast we were graced with the presence of Eric, who gave us a Japanese perspective on the FOL Super Bowl release and talked a little bit about his work with SPFC.org.

Listen to the whole show (1:10:39)


This week’s topics:

-Chris, Jason, Jill, Andrew, and special guest Eric

-Our impressions of FOL, a surprisingly complex song.  Eric makes his debut with a flourish and an obscure reference.  Is FOL a Zeitgeist outtake?  Plus, Jason extends an invitation to another special guest.  (9:25)

-We shift gears and talk about music in advertising, and Jason and Eric re-enact a mid-90’s television staple.  (13:11)

-The blogosphere reacted to the Pumpkins’ appearance in an ad with their usual evenhandedness.  Jill and Jason psychoanalyze music bloggers, and we discover the true meaning of the zero shirt.  (28:24)

-We talk with Eric about his work on the SPFC and touch on the early days of Smashing Pumpkins fansites.  (6:55)

This Week in Pumpkins History
-James Iha releases Let it Come Down.  One of us has been anticipating his follow-up effort for some time now.  (6:33)

Song of the Week
-FOL, studio

Typically I avoid studio releases for the song of the week to avoid legal wrangling, but in this case because we spend most of the podcast critiquing it I thought FOL would be appropriate.  I urge everyone who listens to it at the end of our podcast to send your email address to Hyundai so as to keep us out of the courtroom.

Rolling Stone Super Bowl Wrap-Up 8:12 pm // Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Posted by Jill in advertising, blogging, covers, FOL, football, video.
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Rolling Stone’s Rock&Roll Daily Blog published a roundup of Super Bowl music coverage last night.  They highlighted the Smashing Pumpkins just after Bruce Springsteen’s camera assault, so…  uh… that’s boss. [Who can resist a Springsteen pun?]

See the full list of music highlights here, in case you want to get your fix of MC Hammer (feat. Ed McMahon).

Editor’s note: Rolling Stone must be behind on their internet memes:

The voice of a generation and the voice of “Don’t Phunk With My Heart” joined forces in a Pepsi ad. [Bob] Dylan’s “Forever Young” was given a hip-hop makeover and a Will.i.am verse over a bevy of trans-generational stock footage. Here’s hoping for a folk revision of “My Humps.”

Cue Alanis?

Social advertising snafu 11:54 pm // Thursday, January 29, 2009

Posted by jjb in advertising, amusing, david bowie.
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Flickr user liquid7 spotted the errant promo at left, commenting thusly:

      “That is NOT Billy Corgan.”

How the heck did Facebook confuse a countercultural icon like David Bowie with Billy Corgan?





“FOL” hits the track 9:23 pm // Thursday, January 29, 2009

Posted by jjb in advertising, FOL, photo, studio, video.
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Spin.com has posted the Smashing Pumpkins-soundtracked, 30-second “Epic Lap” (around Road Atlanta?) Hyundai Genesis Coupe commercial, and they like it.  The music, anyway:

With their latest venture, a Hyundai Super Bowl commercial featuring an all-new tune, Smashing Pumpkins make selling out sound pretty darn good.

Now, if these fingers are Billy Corgan’s, then “FOL” (“Feel Our Love”?) may have been recorded with the assistance of ProTools.  What, the Mellon Collie tape machine was left at Kerry Brown’s for this one?  Or are we looking at stock footage, or at a mixer with irrelevant labels? Any finger-identification experts available?!  (This is what having only two seconds of relevant pictures does…)

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)


This week’s topics:

-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

Smashing Pumpkins Super Bowl Ad! 5:52 pm // Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Posted by Jill in advertising, FOL, football, news, sports, television.
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According to the PR Newswire, Hyundai will debut a series of Super Bowl ads this upcoming weekend for their new sports coupe, the “Genesis” (ooooh, take that, God).  The ad is scheduled to run immediately before kickoff and will feature the Smashing Pumpkins:

The Smashing Pumpkins band members [Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin] and cellist Yo-Yo Ma will each perform songs to accompany uniquely edited 30-second spots, tailored to their brand of music by editor Hank Corwin. Hyundai selected the Smashing Pumpkins spot to be featured immediately before the kick off of Super Bowl XLIII on Sunday, February 1, 2009.

Not only that, it’s a new track!

Smashing Pumpkins scored a new track titled “FOL,” to serve as the soundtrack for its version of “The Epic Lap.”

Talk about a strategic marketing alliance!

UPDATE (2/2): You can download the full song (titled “FOL”) here after providing Hyundai with a name and email address.

Ticketmaster Plugs LiveSP.com, Promises Free Music 11:29 am // Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Posted by chris in advertising.
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This morning I received an email from Ticketmaster urging me to relive the show that I attended.  While I may not want to relive that particular performance, Ticketmaster also reveals a few other pieces of information [emphasis mine]:

Want to capture the Smashing Pumpkins 20th Anniversary tour forever? For a limited time you can purchase a Smashing Pumpkins Live Download of the show you attended at LiveSmashingPumpkins.com. In addition, everyone will receive a free MP3 of the song “As Rome Burns” with our without purchase!

Each night of the tour was professionally recorded by the band and posted within days of each performance to give their fans a piece of history.

Simply select the show you attended and order your LiveSmashingPumpkins.com Download today!

There doesn’t seem to be any information on livesmashingpumpkins.com about how I can obtain my free copy of As Rome Burns “with our without purchase”, nor whether it is a live version from one of the nights of the tour or a studio version recorded afterwards, but this bears keeping an eye on.

It’s also worth noting the threat that – despite evidence to the contrary elsewhere on nugs.net – these shows will be available to purchase for a limited time. I can’t imagine the purpose of taking them down, but as a proponent of the selling of live shows online I’m glad they are getting some extra promotion.

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.

Totally Random Find 5:19 am // Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Posted by Jill in advertising, jimmy chamberlin, video.
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Netphorian SlingeroGuitaro pointed out a new commercial for GameFly which allegedly features a Jimmy Chamberlin drum loop about sixteen seconds into the spot; check it out below to make the call.

What’s next for the “Megastars in Space?” 3:17 pm // Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Posted by Jill in advertising, billy corgan, business.
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On the upcoming podcast (numero four!), my fellow bloggers asked me what I think is coming up for the Smashing Pumpkins. While I mirror their enthusiasm about the upcoming Chicago studio-build, era shows, and autumn Big City tour, I proffered that they’ll be solidifying Pumpkinland Operations this summer.

Why is that my guess? Well, one big clue is the ongoing search for writers at the official website. Another is the release of their archive shows, which I’m assuming will require a lot of backend ops. And I’ll bite: Corgan has definitely uttered the words “fan club” in at least one of his recent interviews.

Despite the collective groan on the community messageboards when anyone dares to talk about business (who cares about messageboards when you have HU?), one of the things that has always interested me is the Pumpkins’ attention to new media technologies. Though maybe not pursuant to the indie-rock ideologies, successful business is what gets me news, music, and tours.

I ran across this November 2007 article from the Boston Herald recently (full scan PDF here) in which journalist Nate Dow discusses the power of the MySpace marketing platform and the changes it has made to the music industry. His interview with MySpace exec Josh Brooks details the Smashing Pumpkins’ involvement with the marketing monolith:

[T]he musician who started the flood is former Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan, who joined two years ago. “Corgan took off the chat and message boards from his (own Web site) and added MySpace (links) to his page,” Brooks said. “He was one of the first to realize that MySpace had an amazing tool set for musicians who want to spread the word to their fans.”

Billy Corgan as marketing visionary? It doesn’t surprise me in the least; I remember once upon a time a live stream to the Detroit Arising! show and the debut of Gish Month on the Smashing Pumpkins’ newly-inaugurated official website. But what I’m wondering is — what’s next? What is the next big wave beyond MySpace for the Pumpkins? Will Jeff Schroeder be spamming me with offers of FREE AUTHENTIC!!1 GUCCI BAGS?

HU Podcast #2: PR Shills, Latin America, and Unbridled Speculation 7:09 pm // Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Posted by chris in advertising, audio, billy corgan, costa rica, jimmy chamberlin, mexico, news, podcast, tour.
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podcast logoThe band may be ending their touring and going into hibernation, but the HU podcast is just getting started. Thanks to everyone who listened last week and welcome to those just now finding us from one of the many places on the web I’ve shamelessly plastered the URL. This week we kept our technical difficulties mostly in check so that we could discuss recent band news, the end of the tour, and the future of the Pumpkins.

If you’ve fallen into the clutches of the Cult of Steve Jobs, you can now subscribe to our podcast through the iTunes Music Store, or you can always listen to or download the entire show right here.

Listen to the whole show (53:23)


This week’s topics:

-Chris, Jason, and Andrew

-The Pumpkins get inducted into the Rockwalk, high honor or shameless PR? (7:48)

-Got Milk? Milk has the Pumpkins, along with a totally radical teen-oriented website. (3:33)

Tour Roundup
-The tour ends, but not before Jason educates us on the finer points of mariachi outerwear and discusses the evolution of United States. (9:26)

In-Depth Discussion
-What’s next for the Pumpkins? I give Andrew and Jason $100 to wager on the band’s next move. Will they put it all down on a return of the Audio Vanguard Association? Plus, I drop all pretense and beg for a pre-Gish tour. (18:57)

This Week in Pumpkins History
-The Zero single is released, leading to years of Pastichio Medley timecode debate. Plus, the Arising! tour ends and Andrew assigns blame for the breakup of the band. (5:59)

Song of the Week
-Zero April 17, 1999

Next week we will be doing a review of the Double Door Show from February 28th, 1995. If you’d like to listen to the show before hearing us talk about it, download it from the Live Music Archive.

Thanks for all the great feedback last week. Again, you can Contact Us or leave comments in this post.


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