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Arcade Fire on Beyonce: She ‘Killed’ the Album Drop

Arcade Fire and Beyonce
Theo Wargo, Getty Images / Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

When Beyoncé dropped her self-titled album without warning in 2013 — and the album went on to debut at number one on the Billboard 200, eventually going platinum twice — it changed the game for how artists release music. Although Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler pointed out in an interview with USA Today that Radiohead had in fact done something similar when they released their 20017 In Rainbows, the impact was definitively not the same.

These days, artists are faced with the choice of trying to match or even just compare to Beyoncé’s unannounced leap into success or follow the traditional path of the album cycle. A few singles are released, some promotion is done on social media and through sponsored performances, then the album comes out and the musicians embark on a supporting tour. Arcade Fire has tired of the traditional cycle, and as Butler said in the interview, “After Beyoncé did Lemonade, the album drop as a thing is completely dead … She killed it. She completely defined it.”

“We’ve almost tried to take the aesthetic of what’s horrible about ‘content’ and ‘album cycles’ and make art out of it; it’s kind of the dregs of what we’re left with as artists,” Butler said. “Trying to use Twitter as an artistic platform, we’re trying to stretch it as far as we can.”

Rather, Arcade Fire has taken a new path. The marketing surrounding their upcoming LP, Everything Now, has been a satirical, tongue-in-cheek play at the rote corporate consumerism that has become so commonplace both within the music industry and pop culture at large.

The whole marketing campaign is sponsored by a fake company, Everything Now Corp. The company has advertised fake cigarettes and condoms. Its language, and the language used by the band in their own “real” promotion, feels so sardonic that it’s almost as if they made a Father John Misty text-generator and turned its intensity up to 100.

Everything Now‘s title track landed the band its first number one song when it reached the top of the Billboard adult alternative chart.

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