Jack White Releases Single... By Launching 1,000 Balloons With Flexi Discs Attached

from the ah,-the-amazing,-flying-flexidisc dept

The tacocopter may be necessary if you want to take to the local skies to deliver a product to a specific location, but what if you just want to distribute a product semi-randomly? Famed musician Jack White -- who has quite a history of doing cool experiments with new business models that make use of unique scarcities -- has released a new single from a forthcoming album by tying 1,000 flexi-discs with the single on them to 1,000 giant blue balloons, and launching them into the sky. Yes, this was done on April 1st, and the whole thing was done somewhat tongue-in-cheek (it was described as "an experiment exploring nontraditional forms of record distribution and a way to get records in the hands of people who don't visit record shops"), but it's still pretty cool.





Third Man Records, the label White created, admits that "the typical recovery rate on similar balloon launches... is around 10%", making these flexi-discs pretty likely to be extremely rare for those who find them. As the Creators' Freedom Project points out:
It’s super unique, the balloon distributed discs will be a hot item when they’re eventually recovered, and the instructions on how to tell the rest of the world via social media will help to spread the word about the record since the actual release of the album is the next week.
Indeed, the label is already tracking where the balloons are being found and reported.


I know that some of our usual critics will come up with ways to mock this, but it's yet another example of an artist doing something fun and creative that is a unique way to connect with fans.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Machin Shin (profile), Apr 9th, 2012 @ 1:28pm

    Oh, but won't someone please think of the environment!

    /sarc

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Apr 9th, 2012 @ 1:29pm

    Sure, this works for the guy with 1,000 balloons, but what about all the other, balloon-less artists?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2012 @ 1:30pm

    Nice job supporting pollution and eco-genocide Mike Hussein Masnick. Maybe TechDirt's new logo should be a picture of you taking a dump on a spotted owl while ejaculating into a bald eagle's eye.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Apr 9th, 2012 @ 1:36pm

    Competing with free

    Now the artists are giving away scarcity! How the hell are we supposed to compete with that?

    Sincerely,

    the Concerned Representatives of Various Legacy Industries

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Apr 9th, 2012 @ 1:48pm

    This isn't about distribution. It's about publicity. Pretty good publicity too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    Gwiz (profile), Apr 9th, 2012 @ 1:54pm

    Re: Competing with free

    Now the artists are giving away scarcity! How the hell are we supposed to compete with that?

    What you lose on each sale you can make up in volume.

    But that only works for artists like Jack Black who sound much better when it's really, really loud.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    anonymous dutch coward, Apr 9th, 2012 @ 1:56pm

    turntable

    but but but i dont have a turntable.......

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Scote, Apr 9th, 2012 @ 1:57pm

    Yes, it is fun and creative, but it is also littering on a fairly large scale. And who still has a record player? And of those who do, who wants to risk their needle on a flexi disc?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    Machin Shin (profile), Apr 9th, 2012 @ 1:58pm

    Re:

    Amazing how often those two things can go hand in hand though. If you come up with cool ways to distribute you will get good publicity.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2012 @ 1:58pm

    Re:

    This. It's a great stunt and if the wind decided to blow north-east a LOT, I'd be going out in search of one right now.

    But this isn't a distribution system that makes any sense, I mean who would spend money to create all this, have a 10% success rate, and hurt the environment with all the failures?

    (oh, I guess all the major publishers would do basically that)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2012 @ 1:58pm

    Meh, who cares is not CC-SA, it can land on my porch and still it was going to the garbage can.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2012 @ 2:03pm

    Re:

    That would be a heck of a memorable logo

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2012 @ 2:06pm

    "I know that some of our usual critics will come up with ways to mock this, but it's yet another example of an artist doing something fun and creative that is a unique way to connect with fans."

    Fun? yes. Amusing? yes. Connect with fans? Not really unless the fans happen to have a balloon fall on their heads.

    It a way mostly to connect with random people who don't give a crap about your music. Amusing, nice pictures, but does it really do anything beyond that in marketing?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    Mr. Smarta** (profile), Apr 9th, 2012 @ 2:07pm

    Hmm...

    I wonder how many times he'll be cited for littering... One for every record/balloon found in the forest/swamp areas? Other ones will fly all the way out to sea where the poor dolphins will find the balloons and inhale the helium to make their squeaks so loud it'll break glass.

    And what of the children walking to school and a balloon falls from the sky and they inhale the rubber and suffocate.

    For crying out loud, think of the children...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2012 @ 2:08pm

    Re: Re: Competing with free

    oohhh punny

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    Zos (profile), Apr 9th, 2012 @ 2:11pm

    wtf is a flexidisk?

    just one question. What the hell is a flexi disk, and what would you need to even read one?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), Apr 9th, 2012 @ 2:11pm

    Re: Hmm...

    Ahem:
    Biodegradable Latex Balloons

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    illuminaut (profile), Apr 9th, 2012 @ 2:19pm

    Re:

    Actually, that's a valid point even without the /sarc. There's an interesting precedent of a balloon launch stunt that didn't go over too well (then again, that was in SF, not Nashville): http://news.discovery.com/earth/balloon-stunt-blows-up-in-gamestops-face.html

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Apr 9th, 2012 @ 2:20pm

    Cost?

    I know that Disney in Anaheim, CA actually gets fined by local communities for balloons that they have to clean up. This could get expensive in California, where we have a lot of people that really care about the environment.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    BentFranklin (profile), Apr 9th, 2012 @ 2:26pm

    Re: wtf is a flexidisk?

    The Wikipedia article has some very interesting information I would never have guessed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Apr 9th, 2012 @ 2:37pm

    Re:

    Look, you may have some... odd fetishes, but really, please try not to get other people to act them out for you. And trying to get them to do it in public no less...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    Mr. Smarta** (profile), Apr 9th, 2012 @ 2:47pm

    Re: Re: Hmm...

    What about the flexi-discs? Are those biodegradable too? ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Apr 9th, 2012 @ 2:49pm

    Re: turntable

    I got my mom to buy me one for Christmas, but I live in PA. :(

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    Nigel (profile), Apr 9th, 2012 @ 2:50pm

    Oblig. Airborne Marketing Reference

    http://www.kewego.com/video/iLyROoafYtDe.html

    First thing that popped into my head lol..

    N.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    Torg (profile), Apr 9th, 2012 @ 3:50pm

    Re: Re:

    This needs to be made. Is there anyone here with decent drawing or photoshopping skills?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    Torg (profile), Apr 9th, 2012 @ 3:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Hmm...

    Dolphins are an underrepresented demographic in music sales. Maybe this'll help fix that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Donnicton, Apr 9th, 2012 @ 3:58pm

    Re: Re: Competing with free

    Headline: Jack Black sues Jack White for use of the name 'Jack', and infringement on a trademark for a "color-based last name".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Apr 9th, 2012 @ 8:11pm

    Considering the state of today's technology, maybe he should have used SD cards with an MP3 file on them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 12:26am

    lol Too many people crying you're hurting the environment. I highly doubt their 1000 balloon project is going to have any noticeable impact. It's just something new to get seen nothing more nothing less. It's obvious this would not be a reliable way of mass distribution.

    They're not out to kill the planet with balloon warfare. Then again I could be wrong they might all be packing a few pounds of anthrax.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Schmoo, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 2:30am

    Re:

    Helium, if priced by availability, should cost approx 75 (GBP) to fill a balloon. We're currently running down our last reserve of it by pissing it into the atmosphere in small rubber packages. Who needs super-conduction when you can have gimmicks for the famous? What fun is an nMRI machine anyway?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 4:36am

    Re:

    You do know they still make phonographs and needles for them, right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 4:54am

    "I swear, I thought turkeys could fly."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 8:35am

    Re: Re:

    you do know that nobody is going to go out and buy either of those just to play this one disc, right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Palidd, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 10:14am

    Re:

    lol I like this, I may use it for my company

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    icon
    Mike Raffety (profile), Apr 10th, 2012 @ 12:22pm

    Record players?

    Really, who still has a record player? They could've just sent out 8-track cartridges, but I suppose they'd be too heavy for a balloon, and less bio-degradable.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Coyote, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 3:43am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You do know that people often do just that if they happen to find a really nice disc they want to listen to because they happen to find it interesting?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    icon
    charlotte (profile), Apr 11th, 2012 @ 12:53pm

    Coolest. Release. Ever. and have yall seen Jack White's new music video, "Sixteen Saltines"? The man is a genius! www.jackwhiteiii.com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    amy, Apr 17th, 2012 @ 11:06pm

    Response to: Machin Shin on Apr 9th, 2012 @ 1:28pm

    Jack has already stated that he used 100% biodegradable balloons and natural twine

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This