The Latest Cheap Trick in Media Marketing

I love the fact that Cheap Trick’s latest album, The Latest, is going to be available not only via download, CD, and Vinyl, but also on 8 Track.
Downloads are available now via iTunes and Amazon. For those of us who prefer to actually have a hard copy with artwork, we’ll have to wait until July 21 for the CD at major retailers. And for some of us who like to argue that high-grade vinyl records offer better quality sound than CDs (yeah, I’m one of those guys), LPs will also be out later this month.
But 8 Track?
It’s brilliant! What better way to grab media attention for the world’s greatest power pop band than to announce a new 8 Track release! As of today, Tuesday July 7, there are already hundreds of stories online and in print (source: MediaQ monitoring) and hundreds of tweets on Twitter. How many journalists, bloggers, and Twits would be writing about a new Cheap Trick album without the 8 Track gimmick?

Click on 8 Track to hear stream of songs from "The Latest"
Click on 8 Track to hear stream of songs from "The Latest"

This isn’t about 8 Track tapes, which no one is really going to buy other than as a conversation piece or collector’s item. This is about knowing your target audience and executing ideas that cut through the noise. Cheap Trick does retro-cool right and always has. The 8 Track gimmick should get even more attention for what is actually a great album. I have heard several tracks (via 2009 technology, not 1977 technology) and am pleased to report that the boys from Rockford are still on top of the world. Since departing the major labels (Epic in the 80s and Warner Brothers in the 90s), the band has taken back their creative control and has spent the past 10 years writing brilliant rock and pop songs.
Cheap Trick proves a point frequently discussed on this blog. Buzz is not established by which media channels or tools you use to get a message out. In this case, an interesting story is getting attention, as opposed to  bad content that is just being pushed via social media or traditional channels.
As a side note, let me take just a minute to discuss the retro tech mentioned above. For those of you too young to have really used 8 Tracks, let me clue you in. They were horrible. While the wide tape may have given us the idea that it was higher quality than a cassette, the truth was that the wide tape was actually divided up into 4 programs with 2 channels (left, right) for each (thus, 8 tracks). The programs ran simultaneously on the same length of tape. Frequently a song would be split into 2 programs. You would hear a fade out, then “Ka-chung” as the tape player automatically switched programs, and the second half of the song would fade in. Perhaps this 8 Track stunt will also remind us how fortunate we are to now live in an era of iPods.

4 thoughts on “The Latest Cheap Trick in Media Marketing

  1. Yes, this is a great idea from the American version of the Fab Four. The Latest is so Beatles sounding it’s kinda eerie. Glad the buzz is going about the 8-track. Hopefully, it will get Cheap Trick some much deserved attention.

  2. Site Bookmarked!! I usually dont comment on blogs, but this is an awesome piece of work. I finally found1 that Im into… I’ll be back often.

  3. This was a really good idea for Cheap Trick, unfortunately it was already done within the past year! I work at Invisible Records in Chicago with Martin Atkins. When his band Pigface decided to release their latest album 6 on 8-track about 7 months ago he had to make all the tapes by hand! From what I saw it was quite the process…

    You can check out the video announcement for the 8-track here ( . Maybe it’s a coincidence that both these bands had the same idea, but I think something must be in the water in Northern Illinois that’s making all these bands make CRAZY decisions.

    It is cool that this is stirring up some 8-track nostalgia, it’s nice to hear everybody talking about their old favorites.

  4. Pingback: Cheap

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