Thursday, 24 September 2009

Beatles + Dan Brown = the power of the hype

OK, let me be the first to admit that I’m a bit of an advertising man’s dream because I’m a real sucker for a good hype.

A couple of weeks ago, for example, I joined the procession of people who headed for the record stores to buy copies of the newly re-mastered albums by The Beatles on the day of their release.

As is the wont of every serious music fan, I am a real admirer of all things Beatle and so I was mightily tempted by the re-release of all their classic albums in a new improved format. I therefore bought my copy of Revolver (just how good is Here, There and Everywhere?) and was most gratified when the charming assistant in HMV in Bath assured me I was one of many who had done the same on this much-hyped day.

So many others did the same, in fact, that a few days later the official album chart saw no fewer than four of these 60s written beauties in the top ten and a further seven in the top 50 charts. Amazing.

True, these are remarkable albums by a remarkable band and they do look and sound pretty nifty but the actual change to the CD quality isn’t that different to my uneducated ears and yet we have all fallen for this wonderful marketing hype.

But I didn’t learn my lesson for, yes, I was ‘hyping it up’ again the week after.

Along with many thousands of others, I had pre-ordered my copy of the latest Dan Brown book, The Lost Symbol. This is the much-anticipated follow up to The Da Vinci Code, that ridiculous piece of entertaining religious hokum which sold more than 80 million copies worldwide.

It is easy (OK, it’s actually very easy) to take the proverbial Michael out of Dan Brown’s somewhat simplistic way of writing but there is no denying this guy is a fantastic story teller and I had been snared by all that advanced hype yet again forcing me to purchase on day of release.

I am sure that part of the desire to get things like this on the day they are launched even if it does mean I have the words ‘hype victim’ tattooed on my brow probably stems from my journalistic desire to always find out something before everybody else.

I love to hear other opinions and read reviews but there’s nothing like discovering something for yourself and sharing your views with others before they do the same to you.

Indeed, returning to music, I think perhaps some of the magic has gone out of buying new material in that tracks are now played on radios and TV stations and YouTube weeks before release to tempt purchasers.

I much preferred the old way when normally the first time you would actually get to hear a record was when you bought it yourself and you became part of the advertising campaign all on your own.

Right, can I start the hype about the next (not even yet written) Stranglers album? Thought not.

No comments: