Social media has always been central to the way Linkin Park both tease the release of albums, actually communicate the release of new albums and reward fans with compelling, engaging and exclusive content. The new album “Recharge” is the first pure remix album since leader of the band Mike Shinoda vowed never to do another remix album after “Reanimation” remixed the groundbreaking “Hybrid Theory” album.
With the sound being so different to what hard-core fans expect Linkin Park needed to engage through social media to persuade fans to sample the new album and be open-minded about the “reinterpretation” of “Living Things”. This is what they have done through their facebook 3D game “LP Recharge”.
Linkin Park have the perfect platform to do this on as they are the world’s biggest band on facebook with almost 60 million likes—that’s as many people who live in the UK. This gives them amazing platform to communicate new products and causes in imaginative ways such as gamification.
The only new track on the album, “A Light That Never Goes Out” was first unlocked by fans who played the “LP Recharger” game on Facebook. It was then streamed on Xbox Live before being released as a single/taster for the album.
Linkin Park and gaming company kuuluu Interactive Entertainment AG joined forces to create "LP Recharge," which is an action-strategy game that features characters and missions designed by the band (Shinoda even helped to design the game's look).
To highlight various limited editions that Linkin Park are offering they are the top prizes in the game itself. These include a limited-edition version of the album featuring an interactive 3D sculpture based on the Living Things album artwork, a 48-page art booklet, both Living Things and Recharged albums, and a magnetic stylus that can interact with the liquid solution in the 3D sculpture to create unique patterns and designs.
As well as giving fans the chance to create a character and play a cool new game on facebook, they can share the experience with their friends and challenge fellow Linkin Park fans as well non-Linkin Park fans to play the game. All the time being subjected to new Linkin Park music which the band clearly wish to translate into great sharing on facebook and beyond which in turn will mean an increase in social engagement for their content.
Linkin Park being Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) masters and always ready to promote any number of causes to their fans have also integrated a CSR message into their gamification too. By playing the game a fan can help spread the word that billions of people across the world are without power. They can also pledge to be part of the campaign to prevent this and to buy charity items that will help more people become connected with power…all through the game.
Coming from the band that created the poverty fighting charity “Music for Relief” they have now created the energy poverty fighting brand “Power the World”. Both endorsed by the UN and both communicated relentlessly through social media to Linkin Park’s 60 million followers and beyond.
The use of facebook, gamification, CSR and XBOX live to name but four new music marketing ways of promoting products shows how brands like Linkin Park bring innovative ways to marketing new music to fans. This from a band that actively encourage fans to create different versions of their songs and download live concerts on their websites as well as never castigating fans for downloading illegally.
Hard core fans will actually be slightly disappointed that the album contains almost half the number of tracks that were given away free to fans who bought “Living Things” on the band’s website in May 2012. This was the incentive the band gave to not illegally download it. Now that many of these songs are appearing on this remix album. Fans are presumably expected to pay for that which now seems slightly counter productive to have created the initial promotion as presumably these same fans will think why pay twice for the same content….
Linkin Park did of course also remix various songs with Jay Z which became “Collision Course”. When does a new album “reinterpreted” become a remix album is open to debate…!
Unfortunately as much as Linkin Park can use social media to engage fans and use gamificationthrough social media to create awareness of their new product they can’t control social media reaction. This has been overwhelmingly negative with regards to the new album, the new direction, the new content and generally everything they have done since Meteora.
Some people like to be stuck in time but music moves on more than any form of fashionable product. Linkin Park have had to adapt their product to remain relevant and use social media as a catalyst to communicate these changes and as well as use their power to try and change the world itself/
They still make more money from touring and are one of the hardest working bands in the world when it comes to this than music sales. At these concerts the majority of songs still come from their first two albums which remain their two best selling albums. Once you create perfection it’s very hard to recreate it. Fans demand it but no band can has ever had a record of doing so!
What they have tried to do through social media, marketing and repackaging is move their brand in a different, continually innovative direction to engage existing fans as well as create interest for new ones. The reason they partner with the movie franchise “Transformers” for example is that this gives them a whole new audience who do not use “Hybrid Theory” and “Meteora” as their reference point.
“Recharge” is as innovative in its sound as Linkin Park are in the marketing of it.