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Glastonbury Headliners On Social Media: Arcade Fire

Social media gets ready for the biggest music festival in the world 

Every year, the social media world goes crazy over the most popular music festival in the world, and rightly so. Glastonbury has a certain presence that demands that you tune in, whether you love music or not. It is now imbedded in British tradition, and around 200,000 spectators cram into the event to see some of the best bands on earth. This year’s line-up does not disappoint, nor does it avoid controversy. Friday night will see arguably the biggest contemporary band in the world headline, as Arcade Fire take the stage, whilst on Saturday, controversial heavy-metal group Metallica take over. Closing the festival on Sunday will be festival favourites Kasabian.

Social Media Arcade Fire
Source: internazionale.com

All three of these bands have achieved great success in their own right, and behind this success in recent years has been the rise of marketing on social media. Here is how Friday night headliners Arcade Fire have utilised social media in recent years.

Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire have always done things differently, and this was especially the case during the release of their latest album “Reflektor.” On the lead-up to the new record, the Canadian band unleashed a guerrilla marketing campaign, which ended with the release of their first single “Reflektor.” The campaign was a huge success and the video was viewed more than 2 million times on YouTube in just one week. After the initial success of the lead single, a variety of new “Reflektor” content was released by Arcade Fire, including an interactive music video, a traditional music video, a 12” vinyl EP and preorders for the album.

The information surrounding the album was spread via word-of-mouth on social media. Twitter and Tumblr were the main sources of information, and the band stayed quiet, and released very few announcements on any upcoming releases. This behaviour mirrored that of past campaigns, and rumours of the new record began after mysterious graffiti images were found in cities worldwide. A banner appeared in New York City with the word “Reflektor,” the date “9/9” and the band’s name.

As the date approached, a limited edition 12” vinyl EP of their first single was rumoured to be released on September 9 at 9pm at select record stores across the world. The single leaked a few days before the release, but the social media world was engaged in the goings on.

Social Media Arcade Fire
Source: huffingtonpost.co.uk
The date arrived, and an interactive music video for “Reflektor” was released, and the band collaborated with Google Chrome to deliver a unique experience for fans. The music video utilised both smartphones and computer webcams to create effects in the video.

In a bizarre twist, Arcade Fire’s message in the video was urging the viewer to put down their technology and connect with the people around them. This was initially seen as a contradiction, but upon looking at the campaign, which relied heavily on social media’s influence, it can be concluded that it was juxtaposition, and acknowledgement of the power that social media has. The video caused the user’s phone screen to appear cracked, and the words “Break Free” appeared on screen. Lyrics such as, “We’re so connected, but are we even friends?” confirm that there was an anti-social media message behind the production.

The more conventional video was less cruel towards social media, but in an interview with Zane Lowe on BBC Radio 1, lead singer Win Butler called the promotional campaign “more of a weird art project.”

Arcade Fire have been clever in their use of social media, as they have manipulated fans into using it by creating non-specific messages across the world in regards to new material. This then led fans to go onto social media and discuss with other fans, whilst the band just sat back and watched their projected record sales go through the roof.

The Canadian outfit will be fantastic on Friday night, and with an illustrious past, there is no one better to headline the opening night at Glastonbury.


Alex is an English Literature and Sociology undergraduate whose love for written word has led him to write about some obscure topics in his time. Currently a content writer at Social Media Frontiers, be sure to follow him @AlexSatSMF.

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Glastonbury Headliners On Social Media: Arcade Fire Reviewed by Unknown on Thursday, June 26, 2014 Rating: 5
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