Arcade Fire are a true indie success story. Their latest album, The Suburbs, will be on quite a few critics’ top ten lists for this year. But what’s more incredible than the music is the way the band and its independent label, Merge Records, have marketed the album.
The band’s online video for “We Used to Wait,” directed by Chris Milk, is a completely unique experience. The project, The Wilderness Downtown, uses Google Maps and HTML5 to create an innovative, interactive video that’s personalized for each viewer. (It works best on Google Chrome, if you haven’t seen it.) Even people who have never head Arcade Fire are suddenly watching their music video.
Arcade Fire also opted to work with YouTube, Vevo and American Express tostream its sold-out Madison Square Garden show online. The stream, directed by Terry Gilliam, also had innovative features like “Choose Your Cam” – a controllable viewing experience. To coincide with the stream, Merge teamed up with Twitter’s @EarlyBird promotion, which offers special deals from advertisers. The record label offered The Suburbs for $7.99.
Arcade Fire still aren’t The Beatles, but The Suburbs debuted at no. 1 on the Billboard Top 200. Innovation and creativity can go a long way in the music industry.