Moby Album Push Spawns Web of Product Integration Deals

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LOS ANGELES -- Moby, an eclectic artist whose music became a pop-culture staple through its use in commercials, TV shows and movie soundtracks, will chart new nontraditional marketing territory for his upcoming release, Hotel.
Photo: AP
Moby and punk rocker Theo Kogan were King Neptune and Queen Mermaid at last summer's annual Mermaid Parade in New York's Coney Island.

The artist and his label, V2 Records, have aligned with the W Hotel chain, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, for invitation-only record-release parties, distribution of the new CD, sweepstakes and other consumer promotions.

Alternative marketing

That's the centerpiece of a broad alternative marketing campaign that will hype Hotel with promotional partners that include Barnes & Noble book stores, Whole Foods markets, the WB network, and Apple's iTunes. Additionally, a deal with Filter magazine and T-Mobile's Sidekick 2 will put an unreleased sample of Moby's music on the young-adult-skewing device as part of a trivia game.

The campaign will launch at the upcoming South by Southwest festival, a renowned indie music showcase in Austin, Texas, that starts March 16.

Other marketing partners for Hotel include Sirius satellite radio, which will record the live W Hotel shows for broadcast a week later, and Viking Studio, publisher of Teany Book: Stories, Food, Romance, Cartoons and, of course, Tea, which Moby co-wrote with his business partner, Kelly Tisdale.

Background music for yoga studios

Hotel will be released March 22 as a limited-edition double CD made up of Hotel and an all-instrumental second disc, Hotel: Ambient. They will eventually be split up and sold as two separate CDs. There are ongoing talks with yoga studios, spas and major market hotels for distribution of Hotel: Ambient and use of the record as a soundtrack at those venues.

"He's always seen the value in alternative means of marketing his music," said Debbie Chertock, marketing director at V2 Records. "And the label is always looking to bring in third parties that make sense as marketing partners."

The approach is indicative of the growing collaboration between artists and marketers to whip up interest for new projects. Musicians, many times taking the lead themselves, are
Photo: AP
Moby and punk rocker Theo Kogan were King Neptune and Queen Mermaid at last summer's annual Mermaid Parade in New York's Coney Island.

increasingly seeking out marketers to help broaden distribution for a CD and generate all-important exposure. Artists as diverse as Prince, James Taylor, 3 Doors Down and Beastie Boys have used video games, Nascar, card and gift retailers, wireless carriers and Web sites to push their products. At the same time, many marketers, like the W Hotels, are frequently turning to music as a means of speaking to the tastemaker demographic.

“This allows us to animate and activate what we stand for,” said Ross Klein, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for W Hotels Worldwide. “Music is a very important part of how we set the mood and the stage. It’s one of the passion points we pay special attention to.”

Licensed every music track

Moby's breakthrough album was 1999’s Play, which was a critical darling out of the gate but didn’t become a mainstream pop-culture touchstone until the artist licensed every track for commercials, TV shows and movie soundtracks. Radio play, and much wider exposure, followed. Play eventually sold 2.6 million copies.

The New York-based musician also is an entrepreneur, owning a successful vegan cafe on Manhattan's Lower East Side called Teany, an offshoot bottled tea brand called Teany Beverages, and a design shop called the Little Idiot. Teany Beverages will play a role in promoting Hotel through on-site promotions at New York food markets like D'Agostino's and Whole Foods where it's sold.

The deal with W Hotels is far-reaching. Moby will perform live acoustic shows at locations in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York as part of the chain's ongoing Adventures in Wonderland program, which aims to draw in locals and travelers with film screenings, wine tastings and book readings.

Playing in 5,100 hotel guest rooms

Hotel will be available at the push of a button in 5,100 guest
Photo: AP
Moby and punk rocker Theo Kogan were King Neptune and Queen Mermaid at last summer's annual Mermaid Parade in New York's Coney Island.

rooms, sold in the hotel retail shops and online. The chain will promote the CD in rooms and in its spring/summer catalog.

As they tour the country this spring, Moby and his band members will stay at W Hotels, which also will take part in online sweepstakes at and

“Moby is a cool and groovy guy,” said Mr. Klein, “and there’s a real definable link between his sensibilities and ours. There’s a legitimate fit.” has been offering a free download of Moby's music and an audio stream of the full album for those who pre-order it. The site also is offering a discount for purchases of the Teany Book and Hotel as a package. Apple's iTunes has been offering a seven-minute sampler from Hotel as a free download, and has an exclusive online download for album buyers.

Linking the record release with the Teany Book launch the same week, Moby will appear for in-store performances at Barnes & Noble in several major markets.

Making rounds in Hollywood

Going back to the well that pushed Play to multiplatinum status, Moby recently made the rounds in Hollywood, meeting with music supervisors from film studios and TV networks. The WB licensed a track from Hotel for its new reality show The Starlet. The song "Beautiful" is the theme for the series, starring Faye Dunaway, and is being used in all the show's radio and TV promotional spots.

The TV promotion won't end there. Moby will appear with artists like Lil' Kim, Barenaked Ladies and New Found Glory in this week's music-themed episode of The Apprentice on NBC. The participants on the reality show must get the artists to donate a "personal experience" that will be auctioned for charity.
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