Marillion: Clever marketing is the road?

When somebody asks me to pick my favourite album from their discography through the 80's and 90's (still kicking in the 00's), I would rather answer a simple mathematical question instead. Yes, I admit that I am a die hard fan, even though my "Holidays in Eden" vinyl scratches sensitive strings inside me whenever the "needle" runs in circles.

So what happened to this band after its commercial success in USA & their hit single "Kayleigh"? Sales went down indeed, even though they retained their popularity in South America and Europe too, but they didn't top their previous releases. Their contract with EMI (which used to handle all their marketing & promotional campaigns up to that point) expired. Something had to be done to keep the train moving. The new singer, Steve Hogarth, replaced the Scotish theatrical poet-singer Fish, splitting fans in two. Sales continued declining down to the point where their album titled marillion.com, didn't even reach the charts for the first time in the band's history.

Marillion.com, right? But that is more than a title of an album, it refers to their website. The new secret recipe had been found. Go online!

Loyal fans around the world, set up internet sources through forums, to gather funds & bring the band back to USA again & in places they hadn't visited so far. Just to notice that in the start of this new digital endeavor, the amount of $60.000 was collected,  to help the band tour again.

According to the band's Manager, Lucy Jordache: "The album's title, other than being an obvious advertisement for Marillion's website, reflects the feeling of community the band had built up with their fans via the Internet."

2000 arrived & Marillion needed to get back strong on their feet again & back to EMI's roster for a proper worldwide distribution. How did they achieve that?

Through the forums again fans were asked to pre-order their album (later to be titled "Anoraknophobia"), paying for an album that hadn't reach the market yet & even worse, was not even recorded. The necessary funds helped the band to sign just a marketing & distribution deal with EMI, thus skipping a risky advance of money which usually creates debt or a binding multi-contract deal.

Marillion showed the way through clever marketing, targeting correctly, demographically & geographically, using innovative online strategies, keeping in pace with modern trends, while other bands & artists seemed to follow their tactics...


He took her to a garden
Full of rain and silence
And she could smell the soil and the trees
And see the succulent light from the little fires in his eyes
Pulling shapes out of the night
She was enchanted

And then it was yesterday

He said, "Oh, by the way"
"Welcome to your first party..."

From their album "Holidays in Eden" (1991)

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