Have They Lost Their … never mind

Steve Hogarth of marillion sent an email today. It’s a new chapter of a very interesting story of a band and its relentlessly loyal fanbase. Their new album, marbles, is mixed and mastered:

Mr h here.

The mixes are done, the mastering is done, folks – have we got an
album for you.. sounds like not one second of the last two years
were wasted.

Now then – you know how whenever we send you an email, it’s usually
because we want something from you.. well this is another one of
those. Only joking! In fact I’m only joking about only joking!
OF COURSE we want something from you!

We’re going to release a single, it’s going to go in the charts,
and with a little help from y’all we think it could go Top Ten
here in the UK. (At the moment the UK have committed to a single
release, but if it charts high here, then other countries may well
follow on.)

The single is our new baby “You’re Gone”. It’s released on April 19th.
The single will be available in 3 separate versions, all track listing
are available at www.marillion.com/single

By our calculations, in the current UK single market, if you go out
and buy one single each, we’ll go Top 40. If you go out and buy two
versions, we’ll go Top 20. If, however, you’d like to make an old dog
very happy, you could dig-deep, get into eight quids-worth of debt
and buy 3 copies or more of our single, in which case, we’d almost
certainly go Top 10 and I’d have my first ever Top 10 single just
before my 45th birthday!! (bizarre, or what?!) Marillion would become
a household name and not simply remembered by Mr and Mrs Joe Bloggs
for “Kayleigh”. There is no better time for this to happen, as it
would set up perfectly this PEACH of an album that we’ve just
finished, and this PEACH of a tour that we’re about to embark upon.

We are currently spending the pre-order dosh on the best marketing
campaign we’ve had in a decade. Hopefully, you’ll see evidence of
this soon – it includes our hiring of a radio plugger who assures us
we chose the right single, and is confident of airplay at national
radio. Obviously the higher up the chart the single goes, the greater
our chances of airplay and the odd TV appearance. Basically, Marillion
would be introduced to a new generation of music fans and you lot
could welcome them to the family and show them how we do things
round here.

So now we’re off to shoot the video for “You’re Gone”..
Exciting times..


OK, so books have been written about Marillion’s history. And I confess, I’ve been a fan of this band since 1985. But it’s a remarkable story.

Recently, they let it be known via the Internet that they were taking pre-orders for the next album. They ended up selling well over 10,000 preorders at 28 pounds (about $40US). So that’s about a half-million pound budget for the album. As far as expenses, the same preorder scheme from their last album, anoraknophobia, financed the business venture (a cottage industry). Now marillion has a recording studio, shipping department, and an in-house data center. They also have a small staff to run it. Bottom line, anoraknophobia was a practice run. They learned how to distribute an album that time, but perhaps the more valuable lessons were those on how not to. They built and ironed-out, in other words, a viable infrastructure. Now they’re ready to use it.

The difference is, this time they can use roughly the same amount of capital in promotional expenses, to gain visibility for their product. Last time, they bought the infrastructure and couldn’t afford much else.

I hope they tour the states. I’d love to hear them live again.

I really wish them well, and hope marbles is successful, in whatever way the band define as successful. I’ll be watching, and of course listening when they ship the album in a month or two. I really liked the last album, especially quartz and this is the 21st century. I wonder what direction they will go with marbles?

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