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In Latest Stunt, Arcade Fire (Sorta, Not Really) Apologize for Bizarre Media Campaign

Theo Wargo, Getty Images
Theo Wargo, Getty Images

After drawing criticism for the publicity stunts surrounding their current album Everything Now, for which they launched one of the more bizarre social media campaigns in recent history, Arcade Fire are apologizing for the tactics — in a statement that reads like the rest of the campaign.

Leading up to the release of their LP last month, the band created a fake brand management company, Everything Now Corp., to bear responsibility for a series of what many consider faux pas: absurd merchandise like $100 fidget spinners and T-shirts with the likenesses of Kylie and Kendall Jenner, promoting a formal dress code for their concerts, over-the-top riders for their late-night television appearances and series of fake news stories, including one where a fictional writer discovers removable jihadi beards had been on the table as possible merchandise options.

But in what appears to be their latest stunt, Arcade Fire is placing all the blame on the social media coordinator for the fictional corporation, Tannis Wright. On Twitter Thursday, the band explained that Wright was the coordinator assigned to them by Everything Now Corp. “Tannis’ excitement about the band and the project was infectious, and perhaps we were blinded by it. He thought [of] marketing our new album, Everything Now, in ways that we never would have, and while we didn’t agree with all of them, we had internally agreed to try some things this time around that we might not have tried in the past.

In recent weeks, it has come to light that Tannis crossed the line from marketing into outright fiction on more than one occasion, and has even offended some readers, fans and websites,” they continue.

The band goes on to say that they’ve spent weeks sorting through the contractual obligations with Everything Now Corp. that tie them to Wright, and have finally come to an amicable resolution to the situation. “The band will regain control of its own social channels, marketing, and publicity, and will no longer be working with Mr. Wright on this campaign,” they said.

In a recent interview with Exclaim!the band’s multi-instrumentalist Richard Reed Parry commented on the wisdom of the campaign. “If it was me doing a solo project, I would not be taking this tack. I think it’s loud, and it is obnoxious and noisy,” he said, adding however that “I don’t think that is completely inappropriate, given the circumstances and the time period, and I think it does a good job of reflecting aspects of culture that are noisy and bombastic at this point in time.”

Responding to the idea that the media campaign actually overshadowed any legitimate information about the album, Parry noted that idea is exactly what led to the tactics they used. “It feels like every generation for the past multiple generations has felt like media saturation was at an all-time high, but it really feels like that is more true than ever, with the Trump-mania and Facebook, the endless sharing of things true and false over social media. I think doing something that interfaces with that, on a bigger cultural scale, as well as interfaces with [the band] in a way that is amusing or fun… I think we just wanted to approach it in a way that spoke on both of those levels.”

Meanwhile, frontman Win Butler announced on Monday that he was taking an extended break from social media. “Will miss the opinions and the 1 liners. :)))) talk later when I got something to say,” he posted. But by Tuesday, he was back it, and on Friday morning, posted a goodbye to Wright.

Arcade Fire Albums Ranked in Order of Awesomeness

Next: Arcade Fire Mock Bad Review of 'Everything Now'

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