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Music History Events: Clever Marketing

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January 27, 2014 Billy Joel begins his residency at Madison Square Garden, where he plays once a month as long as there is demand.More

December 13, 2013 In a bold and brilliant marketing move, Beyoncé's self-titled album is released with no advance notice, sending radio stations scrambling to get the songs on the air and generating lots of free publicity.More

October 13, 1998 The Frasier Fair, a male version of the Lilith Fair, begins in San Diego. The tour is organized by Rugburns member Steve Poltz, and features John Doe and Pete Droge. The festival is named after the character Frasier Crane from the shows Cheers and Frasier. The character spent a lot of time on the shows involved with a frigid woman named Lilith.

November 11, 1991 Per Michael Jackson's wishes, one week before his controversial "Black Or White" music video airs, a memo circulates at MTV instructing the network's on-air personnel to refer to Jackson as the King of Pop at least twice a week during the next two weeks.More

March 2, 1989 "Like A Prayer" becomes the first hit song to debut in a commercial when it is used in a 2-minute Pepsi ad starring Madonna.More

June 23, 1987 15-year-old Tiffany starts her Mall Tour at the Bergen Mall in Paramus, New Jersey, performing what in November will be her #1 hit, "I Think We're Alone Now."More

February 15, 1987 Ben and Jerry's introduces a new flavor: Cherry Garcia, named after the Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia.More

March 2, 1984 This Is Spinal Tap is released in theaters, chronicling the hapless heavy metal band with exploding drummers and an amp that goes to 11. It leaves some in laughter and some in tears. Ozzy Osbourne is just confused.More

January 27, 1984 At the peak of his popularity, Michael Jackson films an ad for Pepsi that goes horribly wrong when some stray pyro sets his hair on fire.More

October 13, 1978 Queen release their "Fat Bottomed Girls"/"Bicycle Race" single, featuring a cover photo that combines imagery from both songs.More

July 7, 1977 Styx tie in with the date (7-7-77) by releasing their 7th album, The Grand Illusion.

June 30, 1977 Marvel Comics publishes a Kiss comic book with a vial of their blood mixed into the ink.More

March 29, 1973 Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show, who have a hit with "The Cover Of 'Rolling Stone'," appear on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.More

May 22, 1971 The Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers album, with a working zipper on the cover, hits #1 in the US.More

January 18, 1971 The McCann-Erickson advertising agency takes a meeting with British songwriters Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway to record a Coca-Cola commercial with the group the New Seekers, which becomes "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing."More

February 10, 1968 Rolling Stone magazine offers free roach clips to new subscribers.More

March 11, 2003 311 play their first "311 Day" concert at the State Palace Theatre in New Orleans, starting a tradition of playing special gatherings on March 11.

November 26, 1999 98 Degrees melds music and commerce in a novel way when the teen act performs several of its songs and sells some exclusive band merchandise on the Home Shopping Network.

January 24, 1980 Clever marketing: Pink Floyd advertise their upcoming world tour to promote their album The Wall with a special billboard on Los Angeles' Sunset Strip that is gradually covered up each day with a brick until an entire wall is built over it.

July 26, 1974 London graffiti artists hired by the Rolling Stones' management spray paint various local sites as promotion for the group's latest single, "It's Only Rock N' Roll."

October 23, 2019 Coldplay reveal the tracklist for their upcoming album Everyday Life with a small classified ad on page 31 of the North Wales Daily Post.

January 20, 2019 Marking the 37th anniversary of that time he bit the head off a bat, Ozzy Osbourne's official store releases a plush bat with a detachable head.More

September 21, 2017 To thwart low payouts on YouTube, Post Malone releases a version of his latest single, "Rockstar," that is just the chorus looped five times. Comments are disabled, and users are offered a link to hear the full version on more profitable platforms.More

August 16, 2014 To announce Syro, his first Aphex Twin album in 13 years, Richard James arranges for a blimp to fly over London with his iconic logo on one side and the year on the other. The same logo is also spraypainted on New York sidewalks.

January 28, 2014 At a press conference, all four members of Mötley Crüe sign a "cessation of touring agreement" preventing them from ever touring again after 2015. They also announce "The Final Tour," after which they are legally obligated to disband.

August 20, 2012 Edgy alt band Green Day continues its hip appeal by partnering with the smash hit video game "Angry Birds." A special 10-level edition of the game, featuring Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool as green pigs, is launched by video game maker Rovio and players can even unlock a new Green Day song from the tenth level of the game.

February 4, 2008 With digital delivery transforming the industry, some record companies package releases with additional goodies. The Virgin-owned Astralwerks label issues Laura Marling's debut album, Alas, I Cannot Swim, in what they call a "songbox" format, which includes a concert ticket and souvenirs representing each song along with the CD.

January 29, 2008 Prog rock band The Mars Volta release their album The Bedlam in Goliath. As a promotion, the band also gives away a CD-vinyl single, a special format with an optical side readable in CD players and a vinyl side that plays on a turntable for about three minutes. Both sides contain a cover of Pink Floyd's "Candy and a Currant Bun." The Bedlam in Goliath debuts at #3 on the Billboard 200.

July 15, 2007 Prince gives away free copies of his latest album Planet Earth with the UK newspaper Mail On Sunday. The unconventional distribution rankles record retailers, but helps promote his run of 21 shows at the O2 Arena in London, which sell out.

March 27, 2004 Prince kicks off his Musicology tour with a show in Reno, Nevada. The average ticket costs $61, which includes a copy of the Musicology album. These are counted as sales according to Billboard, so the album rises to #3 (his previous three albums failed to chart). The tour takes in $87.4 million, making it the highest-grossing of 2004.

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