Today Guns N Roses have released their long (!) awaited 6th album, Chinese Democracy.
Almost 10 years in the making, the record has been recorded, dumped, re-recorded and re-dumped and re-re-recored and lead singer Axl Rose has parted with and invited in, a host of new musicians.
Indeed GNR are no longer the band they were in many respects. Musically the style has shifted from heavy rock n roll blues, fitting in now to the more mainstream metal genre, musicians aside.
Axl, once painfully skinny, now sports a wonderful beer gut.
But all of this, the waiting, the changes, the headlines, may be, inadvertently, one of the greatest pieces of music PR we’ve seen so far.
Recent events, such as Radiohead’s In Rainbows release are more of a quick-fire “hmm lets make a PR story out of this if we can” sort of affair which, in one way or another can easily be replicated.
What we have here is nine years of slow, at times impatient build up, to a record that the whole world is waiting to hear. It is easy to forget just how big GNR became in such a minute space of time. Debut album Appetite for Destruction sold 26 million copies and the band sold out stadiums off the back of their first release. They were one of, if not the bigest band in the world in the late eighties.
The drip feeding of information is a classic PR trick. Entice your audience by giving them tiny bits of news every now and then but not so infrequently that they are turned off and desert you.
This first happened in 1999 when Oh My God, due to prelude the album was released. The album was canned and since snippets of tracks and aborted release dates have kept the fans on standby, and they are now ready for their patience to be rewarded.
If the band’s PR team have been good to the press, they will get rave reviews regardless of the actualy quality of the album. This will increase the hype around Chinese Democracy and probably boost sales, paving the way for a massive world tour and a huge payday for GNR, if they don’t implode before they get the chance.
Expect this to be the biggest selling album of the year, if not the decade.