Arcade Fire are battling for a second week at No. 1, with Ed Sheeran currently edging it in the albums chart race. The Canadian band debuted at the top of the chart last week with Everything Now, their first album for Columbia. It’s a record that’s as notable for its disco influence (Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter co-produced the title-track) as much as the innovative digital campaign, including satirical social media (@EverythingNowCo), a spoof review of their own music and fake advertising.
Scott Rodger of Maverick Management spoke to Music Week for our inside story on the Arcade Fire comeback in the latest issue. As they scored the third No 1 of their chart career, he explained how the band approached this campaign…
Arcade Fire are consistent chart performers. How did Everything Now maintain that success?
The band have a strong and dedicated fan base that they have built up throughout their career, which is why the launch of an Arcade Fire album always makes a strong impression on charts worldwide. For a band that has never really had any hit singles, they have always been about delivering strong, ambitious albums in an era that’s very much playlist driven.
How significant was the pre-release touring for this campaign – and how important is the UK to the band?
The UK was one of the first markets to really get behind and support Arcade Fire from the beginning of their career. That support reached its peak on the Reflektor campaign when the band headlined Glastonbury, sold out two nights at Earls Court and also sold out Hyde Park. That’s about as big as most artists can really be in the UK. They have such a dedicated live following.
Touring in support of the set-up of Everything Now was important to the band in order to really try and create that talking point around the new music. They released four songs in the two months leading up to the release too, so that people had the opportunity to get a feel for the album and not just hear the single. They tried to take a different approach. There’s no rules. They simply have to try and talk to their audience in the hope that people will be interested to get on board with this new album.
The album lyrics reflect the pervasiveness of digital ‘content’. Did the band enjoy their mischievous campaign for Everything Now?
The campaign shows that the band have a sense of humour even though the album is a very serious piece of work. The campaign very much plays to the way people are consuming media at this specific time. How do you become a talking point with your audience and hopefully reach a wider audience these days when you aren’t a mainstream pop driven singles artist?
Are you comfortable with a streaming audience on Spotify who are perhaps less committed to a total album experience?
How do we educate people to try and listen to albums as a playlist? I’m not sure if we can do that any longer. But yes, we’re very much in a playlist-driven time in music. I think that there are many artists who still believe in the power of the album and the collection of songs that form a full body of work - and they will never move away from that format.