Case study: Them Crooked Vultures
All of a sudden they were there: Them Crooked Vultures, the new superband formed by Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters/Nirvana), Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age/Eagles of Death Metal) and John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin). Playing as a surprise act at a couple of European festivals, announcing concerts two days up front and not allowing anyone to photograph or film during their shows. What’s up with this mysterious behaviour?
In the summer of 2009 rumours about TCV started spreading on the internet, resulting in various speculations regarding a tour and album. All of a sudden they announce a concert, 3 days in advance, at the Metro in Chicago on August 9th, 2009. The poster only shows the 3 logos of the band and the date, time and location of the event. It sold out in a flash.
A few days later they played in Amsterdam at the Melkweg, again announcing the show a few days in advance. Getting a ticket wasn’t easy. People stood in line at the Melkweg the whole afternoon, getting their very own ticket. Only one ticket was sold per person, and only combined with a wristband access was being granted to the show a few days later. The room was packed.
Then there’s this festival thing. According to a spokesperson at the Lowlands festival, the organizers were called by a trustworthy agent who told them to pay $50.000 for a great surprise act. Pukkelpop (Belgium) was presented with the same offer. These 2 acts turned out to be Them Crooked Vultures. Billed as “Les Petits Pois” they played Rock en Seine in Paris, France too.
The information on their official website was very limited as well, making it even more mysterious (and thus making the buzz louder). At first there was nothing but a field to fill in your e-mail address, to keep you posted. Some time later a map appeared, with the place marked where there next show would be. Their YouTube-account consisted only of a few 30-second clips of new songs.
The keyword to this approach is: mystery. Keep as much as possible to yourself and you’ll be rewarded with a lot of attention from both music lovers and media, creating a big buzz online. Just announce your concert two days in advance, make yourself a surprise act and keep your music to yourself (for now at least). People start wanting to know about it immediately, because everything is so secret and forbidden. Be sure that you keep your promises though. Not meeting up to the expectations can kill you.