The way that Relapse Records are preparing for the release of the new Royal Thunder album, Crooked Doors, ahead of its UK release on 6 April, is a method I saw them use to great effect for the new Torche album, Restarter, which was out in late February, and is a definite contender for many end-of-year lists already. In the weeks building up to the release, they are uploading individual singles to Spotify, to the extent that listeners will be able to check out most of the album ahead of time.
It’s a great tactic for a new release for two reasons:
- It builds anticipation. Fans are always eager to hear new music from their favourite bands, so this will help to please and/or appease them, and I’m sure a number will be tempted to preorder some merchandise (T-shirt, vinyl, etc.) when they see the band and label going to this effort to share new tracks in advance. But it also puts more of the band’s music out there for those casual listeners who might not yet have discovered the band. Using the full album artwork for these singles (i.e. not unique artwork for each single) means that when the album is released, and these advance singles redundant and therefore removed, casual listeners will recognise the artwork that they stumbled upon before, and hopefully this will encourage them to listen again. And with Spotify, every listen counts (and generates income for the band).
- It lessens the temptation of piracy. The fact that the majority of the tracks are available to listen to, above board, and all in the one place would surely lessen the desire to download a leaked copy of the album with the intention of hearing it ahead of time. Why go to the effort (and it is quite an effort nowadays) when the band and the label are showing a commitment to a legitimate music service like Spotify in an attempt to engage their fans with new music ahead of release? If less people download the leaked album before it is officially out, then less people are likely to have a dodgy downloaded copy on their hard drives for years to come, since when the album is out, the drive to download and be ‘the first to hear it’ will have drastically subsided.
Incidentally, aside from this being a clever marketing campaign for Crooked Doors, if there are people out there who haven’t heard Royal Thunder yet, I’d recommend listening to these songs below, and then heading back to CVI, their debut full-length album from 2012, in anticipation for what is sure to be an absolute highlight of the year in terms of heavy music.
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing them live twice, once supporting Baroness on the Yellow & Green tour in Glasgow, and once at Hellfest on The Valley stage. Both times, they were absolutely incredible, so if you also get the chance to see them on this touring cycle, don’t miss out.