An album can go platinum without a single fan purchasing it, a music video can be premiered on a building and listening sessions are held in movie theaters. These are from 2013 yet on paper look like they should be from 2023.
While we can't see into the future we can infer what it'd be from the present. Here are six creative ways to promote music in the future that have not (really) been used.
Limited Edition Phone With Album Preloaded
Have album preloaded onto custom phone.
Before you scream "Jay-Z's already doing this" let me elaborate further. This idea would essentially take Jay-Z's Magna CartaHoly Grail app and transform it into its own edition of a cell phone manufacturer. HTC Jay, Samsung Holy Grail, Apple iHov.
This phone would not simply come with the album preloaded similar to the bloatware from companies preloaded on smartphones. The phone would have custom wallpapers in the phone's Picture Gallery, an app to stream the artsit's discography, customizable phone covers and more. The functionality would include getting news updates and songs sent direclty to the phone similar to over-the-air updates of smartphone's operating systems.
Not entirely sure on how renting out a museum (or section of a museum) works but with the emergence of pop-up shops in hip hop promotions, a pop-up museum of this sort with the album playing would be feasible. But if Jay-Z can debut his album cover at a London cathedral, renting a space to put up crumpled up rhymebook papers and in-studio selfies shouldn't be too difficult.
The best footage of of any artist is behind the scene video of their creative process when making an album. Kanye's making of Late Registration for MTV was visceral and are the stuff of legend. What if you could crystallize those moments and shape them into a museum dedicated to all the work put in for the album. Kilo Kish did a variation of this at the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center in support of her mixtape k+. The walls were plastered with papers of handwritten lyrics, photographs and even projected behind the scene footage.
Reveal Album Details With People On Album In Vine's.
The video above is not a vine, does not include actual people but is the beginning. There could be a quick snap shot of the album title then quick snapshots of every person involved. Here's the kicker, the video does not reveal wht each person's involvement is. Kanye had 17 different people produce and write on "New Slaves". Imagine the level of anticipation that would have built if images of Daft Punk, Lupe Fiasco and Kanye West flashed quickly on a Vine with the words "New Slaves" preceding them.
This would appease the instant gratification while additionally creating endless conversations which would strengthen any promotional attempt.
Stream Listening Session To Fans' Phones
Kanye West and Lady Gaga agreed to stream a few of their upcoming shows through this app Spacebar which allows fans to listen to a live concert straight from the mixboard. The app prompts fans to agree to not record the show and Spacebar leaves no archive of the show.
Artists have already begun streaming their albums for free prior to their release on websites. The next step is to stream the album listening session directly on listener's phones. The technology to provide this exists and what it does is allows for the artist to stream their listening sessions and connect with fans through the their phone to people with the app at studio quality as opposed to Ustream sessions.
Scavenger Hunt For Projections of QR Codes That Lead To Song Downloads
This idea was inspired by both Lupe Fiasco and the idea of interactive art. With the introduction of the MP3 player and online music outlets allowing fans to pick and choose which songs from an album they prefer to stream and/or buy, the most concise and applicable description of the past decade is the Playlist Generation.
Imagine if an artist sent out coordinates, clues, smoke signals (not really) to locations where QR Codes(new age barcodes) would be projected which can be scanned by cell phone to download a song from the album. Fans could then choose to either find all the songs (a la Dragonball Z) or pick and choose which they want but downloading music will become an actual event. A feat Jay-Z has said he wanted to create with the Samsung/Magna Carta Holy Grail release.
There's projectors that cost less than a pair of Yeezy's so aspiring MC's can stunt on a budget.
This is not only doable but is an evolution of a previous promotional attempt. Lupe Fiasco projected a QR Code on two buildings in New York City's Union Square during promotion for his album Lasers and attracted a sizeable crowd.
Video For Each Song on Album Premiered At Movie Theater
Video for every song on album that are shown in sequence at a movie theater –like listening session.
Imagine an artist leaking no information about their upcoming album besides track titles (as is the recent trend) and then holding a listening session in a movie theater (Similar to J. Cole's Born Sinner listening session). Only this time, every song will be shown in its music video form thus revealing the collaborators and producers in dramatic fashion.
The marketing strategy of making a video for every song on an album has been around since 50 Cent decided to do this for his 2005 The Massacre album. In 2013, high definition quality video can be achieved by even the most common digital camera and rappers have taken notice to this advancement in technology with acts like Rick Ross, Wiz Khalifa, Curren$y and others releasing videos at a rate that would make early 00's rappers seem lazy.