Between the Headphones of the Publisher


What a damn nice way to spend an afternoon.

For those of you lucky enough to be there (and judging by the size of the crowd, that’s a lot of you), Mother’s Day 2012 will be filed away in our brains as one of those great fun times that we were fortunate enough to be part of, but not because of our moms.

No, Mother’s Day 2012 in Denver was filled with some crazy picking mothers along with some very happy moms. Leftover Salmon, in celebration of the release of their first album in eight years, Aquatic Hitchhiker, shut down Santa Fe Drive with an afternoon party that was hands down the best CD release party I’ve ever been to — and I’ve been to a lot.

Now, it wasn’t necessarily the best venue to hear the album, to really soak it in and listen — but ain’t that the way for a lot of Leftover shows, anyway? The very crowded block made getting close to the stage a claustrophobia-inducing adventure — you know those times when you work your way for 10 minutes to one side, just to find out you’re not getting through there? Yeah, it was one of those, but it didn’t matter.

The band, never ones to need an excuse for a party in the first place, put on just that — a party. I can’t imagine the logistics involved to shut down a block of a heavily traveled street in downtown Denver, and to make it all go off the way it did, but hats off to John Joy and Leftover’s entire team for making it happen.

The band’s founding banjo player Mark Vann lived by the motto “Go Big” and that was indeed big, and of course, wicked fun.

All of that, to me, points to a new way of doing things in the industry — a new model, if you will. If the CD is dead then CD releases will soon be a thing of the past, but Leftover has mapped out a new business model which shows here, that a new album is just a great way to make a new connection with an audience, and these days the audience is getting really lucky with value-added gifts.

Aquatic Hitchhiker, at its core, is an album that you can simply buy, take home and listen to. But the band found ways to connect further by offering video clips of the album being made, captivating and growing their audience through social media, and obviously, with the Mother’s Day party. I don’t know what numbers they did in terms of record sales out of the gate and, quite frankly, I don’t care. Because my point is that by following this path, the band did far more to forge lasting relationships with their fans than by simply getting them to buy the album, and that’s going to pay off dividends much further into the future than any single record.

Well done, gents. Well done.

See you at the shows.


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