Bands are trying to get all sorts of things to get you to buy their records. Free 7″ singles, voucher codes to download additional content, or even putting cats in spacesuits on their cover. Cats in spacesuits rule. Arcade Fire have been a shining example of how the Internet can work in your favour, so it wasn’t surprising that they came up with a little plan to get UK fans to pre-order their new album (“The Suburbs“).
Their idea was to offer anyone who pre-ordered their album an opportunity to buy tickets to a special secret gig at London’s Hackney Empire next week. It’s a nice thought, if done right; you sell lots of copies of your new CD (well, a few thousand copies anyway) and you ensure that tickets to your super secret special gig only go to genuine fans rather than those nasty touts.
Problem is, the process wasn’t live. So, when you placed the order, there was no guarantee you’d actually be able to get the tickets. All you had was a statement that you’d get an email sent to you, from where you could then buy tickets. But in this day and age, and with the might of Universal Music behind you, surely it’d have been simple to set it up so that you could just buy two tickets when you did the pre-order? Sure, you’d need the usual safeguards of only one order per credit card/address etc, but wouldn’t that be much more elegant?
Instead, we’ve now got the situation where a bunch of people didn’t manage to get tickets and the tickets that did go on sale to the public – via the ever-unreliable Ticketmaster – sold out in a gnat’s crotchet. I suppose the cynical amongst you might say “Well, Arcade Fire probably don’t care about this, they’ve sold a whole bunch of CDs before it’s even released and sold out the Hackney Empire to boot”, but for once, I’m not being cynical.
Because this is a band who, more often than not, has done the right thing for the fans. This just looks like a major label trying to do something the indies manage far more deftly, and getting it a bit wrong. At least they’re trying, I suppose.
Me, I’ll be hunting around Scarlet Mist for mine.