I have always been a very focused and driven individual and my taste in music often times reflects that. Most of my friends also love music and listen to all sorts of artists and bands routinely. The thing with me and being a consumer of music is that I absolutely must commit my attention to one subject at a time. I will zero in on a band or artist and listen to their music almost exclusively for months. I feel like I owe it to them and myself to fully explore what they’ve done and get as much enjoyment and reflection from it as I can. There’s nothing wrong with my friends habits of casual listening and discovery, but for me listening to new music (even if it was released decades ago) is a necessity to my wellbeing – I need it.
Recently my focus has shifted to Jack White and everything he is involved with. Of course I have known of him for a long time. I was familiar with a couple of White Stripes songs from early in the 21st century. But a few months ago a friend of mine let me listen to his second band The Raconteurs (which stands for Storytellers) and as usual my journey through the bands albums began. Listening to the Raconteurs led me to researching the band and diving in to the extensive White Stripes catalog.
Not only has Mr White had wild success in all the bands he has involved himself with he has also created a one of a kind record label for his current bands and to continue carrying the torch of The White Stripes since the band officially split in 2011.
From a PR standpoint the stunts they pull at Third Man are nothing short of brilliant. They have done a lot to develop what their brand is about and have gotten the public and the music industry’s attention numerous times.
The first example I would like to give is their private Vault membership through the Third Man Records web site. The Vault is open to anyone and the cost of membership is $60.00 a quarter. The price tag may seem steep but the Vault “packages” that members receive each quarter are extremely rare and TMR only prints enough merchandise to fill the order. Each package consists of a 12″ vinyl LP, a 7″ vinyl Single, and a bonus item that can be anything from a Live DVD performance to a book of exclusive photos. Because of the rarity of the Vault packages some members have resorted to flipping their packages for profit on ebay causing backlash from TMR where for a spell the company sold items from their own ebay account and suspended the Vault program. Below is a link to an article on this. TMR has since resumed the subscription service.
Because of todays high tech, social media driven atmosphere it is great to see a company doing what Third Man is to preserve vinyl records. They are making it exciting for kids from my generation to start record collections. When Jack White released his solo album Blunderbuss in 2012 TMR decided to commemorate the release by releasing 100 blue balloons into the sky outside of their Nashville office. Attached to the balloons was a 7″ blue vinyl single from the album titled “Freedom at 21” and a note with instructions asking the person who found the balloon to contact TMR and tell them where it was found. Some balloons made it all the way to northern Alabama. They were literally dropping music from the sky to get it to the people. The press coverage of the stunt certainly contributed to the success of the album, especially in vinyl sells. Not only was Blunderbuss #1 on the Billboard charts, but it also received two Grammy nominations for Album of the Year, and Rock Album of the Year. Most impressive though is the fact that Blunderbuss was the top selling Vinyl record of 2012, dethroning The Beatles Abbey Road.
Keep your eyes on Third Man in the future, there’s no telling what the creative minds behind it will come up with next!