I have been talking about Beach House’s fourth full length release Bloom for well over a month now. The conversations have not been centered around waiting for this release, but more focused on my continual consumption of the music itself. I have made phone calls about this record. I have tweeted that this could be the best album that I hear this year. I have bought tickets to see them on two separate occasions this summer. I have subconsciously become one of many chief marketers for Beach House. All of this praise has been spread to my musical network without even the official release occurring. This has got me wildly thinking about the current state of music in this digital age.
The album leak has become the norm in our current digital age. While I do not seek to download music before it is officially released, it becomes nearly impossible to avoid dragging and dropping mp3’s in my iTunes library when they are offered to me by other music junkies in the cloud. While record sales have plummeted over the years, labels have been looking for methods to counter act the digital flight of their music. From my observation, I believe the early leak of Bloom might be some the best work yet.
Smart record labels are beginning to adjust to the digital age and capitalize on true life-cycle marketing surrounding their top releases. It seems like it was only weeks after the March 7 release of their first single “Myth” that the entire album had leaked and was readily available to anyone who wanted it online. The leak of ‘Bloom’ quickly went viral and music connoisseurs began discussing it. Blogs were offering their early reviews and channels like Sirius were promoting the album.
On March 21 Stereogum wrote a “Premature Evaluation” saying,
“Beach House’s Bloom ascribes to the tradition of Teen Dream, asserting itself as an expansive, pristine-sounding release from the first notes of first single and album opener “Myth.” If I didn’t fear that I was selling Bloom short — and I fear that I might be, at least so far — is that it’s Teen Dream 2, a record high on hi-fi ambitions while still maintaining a semblance of the hazy sorcery from its earlier recordings.”
Teen Dream was beloved by many and an early comparison help add to momentum of the release. By late April the Bloom buzz continued as Beach House released a 7” of second single, “Lazuli” on Record Store day. I bought a copy and I am assuming many others did along with me as the release quickly sold out at my local establishment. For me, the early adoption was immediate verification that Beach House was still a band that I adored and also provided me an untimely reason to sing their praises to all of my musical friends. What more could the band and label Sub Pop ask for?
Consider the leak the water that has fostered the growth of the Beach House buzz. On May 15 the release becomes official and Bloom will wind up in record stores across the country. I have grown so attached with this record that I honestly feel that it is my obligation to buy it and I hope others follow my lead. While non-vinyl collectors might not see a need to support this album, it is my best guess that they will buy tickets and merchandise when Beach House comes to town. The leak proves impossible to plug. It is my hope that more labels begin to use life-cycle marketing techniques to go with the digital flow. Once considered pirates, now early adopters have become the brand advocates for bands on a daily basis. My hope is that more labels embrace these methods and allow trendsetters to let their influence bloom.
Written by Brett McGrath