MS MR are an "indie art-pop duo" that envisioned releasing an EP on Tumblr before they were even sure what they would be releasing. And that is exactly what they did, dropping a series of tracks via widgets that were ultimately upgraded to a single widget that includes audio, photos, a video, remix options, a Like button and a purchase link. It's an interesting approach to teasing a release that loses a bit of its impact now that every post has the same content.
Angela Watercutter interviewed MS MR via email about their Tumblr campaign for Candy Bar Creep Show:
"We had the idea for an EP that we could release through Tumblr before we even knew exactly what this band or project was...We felt that Tumblr was the perfect platform to present music within a multimedia context, allowing us to show different perspectives of each track."
I'm assuming they dropped each individual track but now have replaced them all with a single widget which is likely simply an update of content on the backend so the widget itself took a cumulative approach. It doesn't have an embed option which is frustrating to any blogger. Listen Before You Buy has it, describing MR MS as the "new mysterious male/female duo", but it's unclear whether they snatched the code or were let in on things.
This does raise the issue that making it a Tumblr exclusive actually reduces the potential for the project to go viral beyond reblogging. For example, I've seen the widget on other sites on which it was not fully functional so the web is probably becoming littered with trendy blogs populated with partially functioning widgets.
MR MS also said about the Tumblr release:
“[It allowed] us to show different perspectives of each track through collaborations with other artists to create photography, videos and remixes...Our goal was to create sort of a media collage, each piece showing a different side of MS MR but none making as much sense individually as part of the whole.”
With the individual pieces now replaced by the whole widget, anybody that reblogged on Tumblr suddenly went from 4 different posts to 4 posts of the same thing. But maybe that doesn't really matter in the context of Tumblr where fleeting media moments seem to be the rule.
Only one post is now unique because it contains an animated gif and it also has the most reblogs, a reminder of the seductive appeal of animated gifs.
The widget was designed by Eyes & Ears whose Brian Schopfel told Watercutter:
"We had seen what an effective channel Tumblr was for premiering a record...Using various post types, we were able to get featured placement on their Dashboard twice throughout the weekly track release for the EP. This resulted in over 9,000 reblogs, which for a relatively new band was exciting and encouraging.”
Eyes & Ears also worked on a campaign for Frank Ocean who, though now truly an individual brand, initially emerged as a member of Odd Future, a group that initially emerged by dropping music via various Tumblr blogs. They've done a variety of innovative campaigns for an impressive range of bands and their projects page is well worth a look.
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/App.net) blogs about music crowdfunding at Crowdfunding For Musicians (@CrowdfundingM). To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.