How Arcade Fire’s PR Rollout Helped Them “Punch Above Their Weight”

When Reflektor debuted at No. 1, no one could deny it was something Arcade Fire had sweated hard for. Their rollout campaign was packed full of manufactured mystery, marketing innovation, and precise timing. To better understand exactly how this successful campaign came about, The Hollywood Reporter sat down with Arcade Fire’s manager, Scott Rodger, their publicist, Steve Martin, and their radio development guru, Karen Glauber. While the trio are careful to describe the rollout as an exercise in creativity, it’s also clear from the interview that having heavyweights such as SNL’s Lorne Michaels and Universal Music Group behind them allowed novel concepts that might not otherwise have been possible. Even so, they bring up a few valuable points that are applicable to any music artist, excerpted below.

On transcending the bottom line:
We don’t spend any more or less than the average record company would on a mid- to lower-sized act. All we [asked] is: how do you engage not only your fans but just try and get noticed? We’re in an information overload but just to be recognized you have to be more creative and do things in a way that people will talk about socially — online but also in the physical world. How do you become one of those things that people talk about?

On content overload (Twitter spammers take note):
You can’t overload. You create a timeline and a smooth rollout and try not to do too much on a per day basis. You’ve got to create some space to give your audience time to digest. But hopefully do it in a way that, if people miss something, they’re going to find the next thing.

On subtle tactics:
One key thing that we did was feel out a few writers by playing the music early and made a decision to go with one high-impact review a month ahead of release. We ended up deciding on Rolling Stone. The logic behind that was, “Let’s take a risk and see.” If there’s only one review out there and it’s a rave, and the internet mob links back to and quotes that one review, is that worth more than like 100 reviews where some are Cs and two stars, and others that are, like, “This is a bold new direction?”

Read the full interview at The Hollywood Reporter