Can U2 market as smart as Taylor Swift?

by November 11, 2014

It’s universally agreed that Taylor Swift is a savvy marketer. We told you about her listening parties for her fans months before her new album, 1989 came out. On Monday, she dropped a new video for the song Blank Space basically without telling anyone, and it received well over 125,000 views in its first four hours on YouTube.

Now, the veteran Irish rock band U2 is making its own marketing moves. Whether you kept or deleted its album Songs of Innocence from your iTunes account when it arrived without your permission this September, the tactic certainly got attention.

With the album officially launched, the band is making a steady stream of appearances, some of them typical, others unexpected.

  • Over the weekend in Glasgow, U2 performed an acoustic version of Every Breaking Wave from its new album at the MTV Europe Music Awards.
  • Next week, it will be in residency on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, performing and most likely taking part in some of Fallon’s stunts. (U2 guested on Fallon’s first episode of his new show in February, playing on top of Rockefeller Center.)
  • Next month, it will appear at the Almost Acoustic Christmas concert, sponsored by Los Angeles radio station KROQ-FM.

The Irish band’s inclusion in the lineup came as a surprise to the Los Angeles Times, which wrote, “The band’s name is buried low on the press announcement for the 25th KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas, stacked amid an alphabetical list of acts including Royal Blood, Alt J, Smashing Pumpkins, New Politics, Interpol and others. The word is easy to miss between Tears for Fears and Vance Joy, but there it is: U2.”

Tickets for the two-day event go on sale Friday on Ticketmaster. If you can’t get to L.A., U2 is rumored to be planning a 2015 global tour that could include two types of performances: electronic one night, acoustic the next.

It isn’t clear whether an acoustic set would bring U2 a younger audience, but under new manager Guy Oseary, the band is giving new thought to how it appeals to its fans.

Click here to see how U2 sounded this past weekend. And here is Swift’s new video.