“It's not a game, it's simply fear..”Invisible Ink
 
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17 December 2002

ALBUM 13: THE NEXT BIG IDEA

ALBUM 13: THE NEXT BIG IDEA
The Original Campaign eWeb : 17 December 2002
Sit down, make yourself a cup of tea.. this is a LONG one! Please read it TWICE
WE INTEND TO TAKE THE ESTABLISHED IDEA OF "FAN POWER" AND BLOW IT THROUGH THE SKY!
Now some of you out there may be interested enough in Marillion to have subscribed to our mailing list, but get a little bit irked when we try and sell you something. If this is you, we still appreciate that you want to hear our news but you probably won't be interested in reading much further.....
This email is intended for the believers. For the people all over the world who don't doubt our honesty, our aims, or our reason for making music and words. We know that we're addressing most of you because you have already proved this to us again and again. Thank you.
When we asked you two years ago to take a leap of faith and BUY an album we hadn't even written, 13,000 of you stepped forward, placed your trust in us, and helped launch an idea that is still being talked about in music industry circles and in the press over two years later, and YOU made this possible.
We are currently in the studio writing and recording our new album (with Dave Meegan in the producer's chair). We think it's our most important album ever and we've decided the time has come to make a big noise about it.
Once again we need a new strategy and we intend to break all the rules and do something revolutionary. We can't do this without you, our fans. We have an idea of what we want to do and we need your feedback because your views are very important to us AND you might have an even better idea!
As you know, with Anoraknophobia we were signed worldwide to EMI Records. We were very happy with EMI's distribution. We were disappointed, however, with EMI's marketing and promotional strategy. In some countries around the world, very little money was spent and so therefore we had no chance of selling records outside of our existing fan base, and sometimes we didn't manage to reach some of those fans either! We have decided we must address this problem before a point in the future where Marillion's very existence comes under threat. As the old saying goes: "If you want a job doing properly DO IT YOURSELF!"
The solution is to "push" (i.e. promote and market) this band ourselves. To do this takes a lot of money and a lot of promotion. We have the capability to do the promotion but we unfortunately don't have the money...yet.
THE PLAN
What we are planning to do is to sell the new album through the INTERNET ONLY for the first few months (with the intention of securing a distribution deal to have it out in the shops 6 months after the initial release).
We would like to take out adverts in magazines that we know our fans read, advertising on radio stations that we know our fans listen to, reaching all the people who don't necessarily visit our website or receive our Eweb and to potentially reach NEW fans too! Radio advertising is a very important medium for us as we are sure you will agree - if people can hear our music then they generally love it. As radio stations will not play Marillion songs (politics and playlist restrictions - DJ's have told us they're not ALLOWED to play our new music!), then this seems an obvious route for us.
The other obvious route is to spend more time ON TOUR and to play new countries as well as the places we've been forced to ignore for a while.
A worldwide marketing campaign of the size and structure that we envisage would take about £350,000 and the recording of the album, an additional £150,000. That's half-a-million quid! D'you reckon you're up to it? We think so...
A rough outline of the plan (and we have to say that we are still throwing ideas around and are NOT taking ANY orders yet) is:
We take orders for the next album at some point next year - probably 3 to 6 months before it's INTERNET release.
IDEA 1
A choice of 2 versions of the new album:
(a) You can buy the 1CD album from us at the proposed price of £14.99
OR
(b) You can buy a 2CD (the "Campaign" CD) for £30. This CD would have the 'normal' album plus a 2nd CD of additional new songs, plus some other material, such as extended versions of the album material, remixes, etc. all in special packing with a special booklet.
We also propose to have other "Campaign" merchandise available to buy. This would obviously raise a LOT of money towards our goal These could maybe take the form of dedicated gold discs, sound check passes, limited edition signed prints, possibly a chance to have dinner with the band! ..and any ideas YOU might suggest. (!..)
We can honestly say that ALL the profits from both versions of the album and all the campaign merchandise will go towards the making of the album and a full worldwide marketing campaign.
If you pre-order either the standard 1CD or the 2CD by a certain date (to be decided) then your name will be printed in the thank you list in the booklet of the 2CD.
IDEA 2
We only release a standard single CD but have a "Promotional Fund", where people send in whatever they feel that they can afford.
We prefer Idea 1, simply because it gives you more for your money and enables us to predict with more accuracy how much money we will have to use as a marketing budget, in order to plan ahead. The downside is that the plan could be seen to favour the richer fans, something that Marillion is uncomfortable with, but may well be an inevitable part of trying to raise money.
All the money we make will be spent on making the album and mounting an intelligent worldwide marketing campaign. This campaign includes touring. The campaign will be managed and overseen by Lucy Jordache who has a wealth of previous experience in marketing and advertising. We will keep a dedicated page on the website, updated to tell you where we are spending the money - we'll account for EVERY penny we get. Your money can and will make a difference and allow us to reach more people, TOUR more countries and help invest in the future of Marillion.
Just to give you an idea that we mean business, we are ACTIVELY looking at including the following countries on our tour to support this album: England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Holland, Spain, Portugal, Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Norway, Sweden, Russia, Finland, Denmark, USA, Canada, Mexico AND South America.
Our question is, WHAT DO YOU THINK? Would you take part in this? What is your opinion of this idea? Do you have better ideas?
We look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas. Once we have read and digested all your emails we will publish a response on the web site letting you know what we intend to do. We will also try to address the negative views as well as the positive so that, even if you don't agree with us, you will at least understand our conclusions regarding the way forward for Marillion.
Phew! What a mouthful! Thank you for reading all this. We await your thoughts..
h, Ian, Mark, Steve, Pete
 

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