This fake press release from the magnificent grumpcrits at the Collapse Board, a music website masquerading as primal scream therapy (or maybe the other way ’round?), hits all the points and is currently making the rounds of the perpetual indignation festival known as Teh Internets. You will read this thing and shake your head slowly, then find your cheeks flushed with powerful emotions, your tiny hands shaking and trying to ball into fists. You will be outraged! Outraged! You will turn toward the marketing towers of Hollywood and shake your fists! Then you’ll realize you’ve been had. But it’s so good you’ll ask for more. Bravo, gentlemen.
“The following document was obtained by Collapse Board from an unnamed source. It is currently being distributed to all major music publications and websites. Despite the threat of lawsuit, we have decided to publish this document verbatim. The author of the document is unknown.”
Reasonable enough. The music industry prepares bloggers all the time for its marketing onslaughts in various ways, including mass mailings, phone banking, direct and oddly specifically targeted cuckolding (“everybody else will be covering this band; do you really want to be the only ones to miss the boat on Random Todd and the Fremulons in 2013?”) and weird, mise-en-scèneish flocking behavior (“The whole world is now talking about Random Todd! It’s Fremultastic!”) masquerading as “critical consensus.”
This memo is being sent out to prepare everyone for the major musical event of 2013. I am speaking, of course, about the 20th anniversary reissue of In Utero by Nirvana. Our friends at Pitchfork will produce a news item around May letting people know that the reissue is coming. Details will be scant, but it will nevertheless grease the wheels and allow a suitable amount of excitement to build up before the actual reissue. When the reviews start to appear it is vital that they all hold to a similar pattern.
The reissue itself. The best way to get people to buy an album twice is to say it has been remastered. This usually amounts to making it louder, but this is where reviews can be crucial. The reviewer must create an unscratchable itch in the reader that makes them view the original release as an inferior product. Phrases like “went back to the original master tapes” and “working with the band” help, but it must be more than that. Use other phrases like “Cobain’s aching howl sounds even more revelatory” (be careful not to overuse revelation/revelatory), and indicate that the remastering job “breathes new life” into the album. Don’t insinuate that the mix has changed, more that it has been enhanced so that you hear everything with new ears.
Bingo. Read the whole thing here.