By Published on .

Al Masocco knew instantly when he first saw Korn perform its dark, frenzied music in an Anaheim, Calif., club five years ago that the then-obscure heavy metal-rock band had an extraordinary connection to its fans.

Korn "really struck a chord with them," says Mr. Masocco, an 18-year veteran at Epic Records who last month left his post as senior VP-marketing, West Coast, to join The Firm, a music management company. "It was like a nuclear blast."

Mr. Masocco, 49, realized that to popularize the group's tunes of trauma and angst he would need to build directly on its passionate young fan base with an in-your-face strategy. Executed over the last two years with heavy stickering, sample cassette giveaways, contests and promotion touring, the strategy has worked, with each of the band's four CDs going platinum at least once.

Last year, Korn's video "Freak on a Leash," directed by Todd McFarlane, the creator of the series "Spawn," won two MTV awards.

Korn also released "Issues" last year. The album debuted at No. 1 and sold more than 600,000 albums in its first week. Pre-release events included an art contest to design covers for the album.

The final push was a concert at the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem, where Korn performed the entire album. The concert was simulcast on radio stations and the group's site Korn.com.

"No glossy ad alone will buy this audience," says Mr. Masocco. "They have to see, to feel involved."

Most Popular
In this article: