Car­tel hud­dle in a bub­ble to record album

Car­tel’s brand of mar­ket­ing looks set to pay off

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - News - Jim Car­roll on mu­sic

David Blaine did it. Keith Duffy com­men­tated on other peo­ple do­ing it for TV3. Now, US rock band Car­tel are about to do it. They will live in a very large, trans­par­ent plas­tic bub­ble for a few weeks. The twist? They’re go­ing to record their sec­ond album in that bub­ble.

From May 24th, this year’s most out­landish mu­sic mar­ket­ing stunt will be broad­cast live on­line, with MTV set to trans­mit se­lected high­lights. Given that we’re talk­ing about a band record­ing an album in a bub­ble, it’s ques­tion­able just how many high­lights will be suit­able for screen­ing. Re­ally, how many times do you want to hear the bass player mess up that solo or the drum­mer moan about his stool?

Car­tel’s so­journ in the bub­ble nat­u­rally in­volves a cou­ple of well-heeled brands. Soft drink man­u­fac­turer Dr Pep­per is the ti­tle spon­sor, while oth­ers lend­ing their names and cash to this inane mix of mar­ket­ing, ad­ver­tis­ing, re­al­ity TV and mu­sic in­clude the fried chicken chain KFC and Big Brother cre­ator En­de­mol.

For Car­tel and their la­bel, the ad­van­tages are ob­vi­ous. Their de­but album Chroma was re­leased in 2005 and fea­tured a mod­est hit called Hon­estly. But since de­tails of this stunt were an­nounced, their me­dia profile has rock­eted.

In an on­line ex­change with mu­sic busi­ness com­men­ta­tor and blog­ger Bob Lef­setz, singer Will Pugh de­fended the band’s move. “Of course this is a mar­ket­ing ploy. There’s not one per­son who reads about this, fan or not, that isn’t go­ing to see this as a stunt.

“But we are look­ing at this as our make-or-break op­por­tu­nity. This mar­ket­ing scheme shows the world that we are a real band with real in­spi­ra­tion and real songs, not some Amer­i­can Idol win­ner or a la­bel lot­tery con­tes­tant.”

While there are prob­a­bly many bands and la­bels kick­ing them­selves for not think­ing of this first, any suc­cess is likely to be short-lived. From now un­til the day the band hand back their gui­tars, Car­tel are doomed to be known as the bub­ble band. And, as we all know, bub­bles do burst.

Any­one got a pin?

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