When the Wu-Tang Clan released their new album in 2015, ‘Once Upon A Time in Shaolin,’ it was met with an immense amount of hype. The year prior, a double CD of the album was stored in a vault at a hotel in Morocco, you know, as one does with a new album. But this wasn’t any album drop – they only released one copy. ONE. And that single double-disc sat inside of a vault in northern Africa until someone bought it at an auction for $2 Million. It was unattainable to the nth degree. It was as much an innovative music launch strategy as it was a wild PR and marketing stunt. And it got people to notice, with social chatter skyrocketing for several months after the album’s initial announcement.
Of course, the Wu-Tang example is extreme. Six years of work and creativity, in secret, only to allow one wealthy human to hear your production – it seems crazy. But with marketing, "crazy" can sometimes work. And then when you think about it, it all doesn’t seem that crazy. Even though there were legal regulations put on the leaking of the album once purchased, in this day and age, do you think they all really thought the masses wouldn’t hear at least some of the music in the end?
People create hype, not brands. Until people start talking, hype doesn’t exist, regardless of what off-the-wall plan your brand comes up with.