For starters, they’ve released music pretty consistently even in recent years. For a group that first started in 1976 – now more than 40 years ago! – they do a fairly amazing job of staying current. And though they’ve had their missteps – very few people seemed to appreciate the automatic download scheme they worked out with Apple a few years ago – much of their newer work is appreciated. Just this June, we posted the band’s new single, and it seemed to get a pretty positive reception around the internet.
They’ve also remained pretty creative, even in the aftermath of the aforementioned Apple giveaway debacle. For instance, it was just late in August when U2 actually sent fans paper mail in the form of what is being referred to as the “Blackout Letter.” It appeared to feature a blurb on the poet William Blake, who has inspired some of the band’s recent titles, but much of it was scribbled over with the silhouettes of two figures (possibly a young boy and girl) holding hands – with a few words left clear on the silhouettes. It’s just the sort of cryptic band that can get a band a lot of attention ahead of a major release or announcement, and U2 is fully aware it still has the clout to pull a move like this off.
If there’s one group in the world that doesn’t need advice about how to stay relevant, it’s probably U2. And yet we’ve seen some other classic artists generating renewed interests in some interesting ways that this band could absolutely take advantage of.
One such way is through integration into online games. This isn’t a particularly common marketing move by musicians, but it’s one that’s been embraced by classic acts. Game options at casino platforms in particular have come to include titles based on licensed properties, which include Guns N’ Roses, as well as the likes of Motorhead and Jimi Hendrix, to name a few. This may sound somewhat small potatoes where a globally popular rock band is concerned. But the truth is that these types of games reach a <em>ton</em> of players online. A similar title using U2 designs, images, and music would undoubtedly be a huge hit, and could help to spread the band to younger fans.
Another interesting idea that U2 has yet to explore would be the idea of a biopic style film. Music-related movies appear to be getting more popular these days, and while many of them come in documentary form, there are some noteworthy exceptions, primarily in hip-hop. For instance, Straight Outta Compton was viewed by many as one of the best music-related films ever made, and earlier this year we saw a Tupac biopic make the rounds (albeit a disappointing one). U2 has a long and fascinating history, and should Bono and Co. agree to let a group of young actors tell the story of their early days, it’ll probably be a big deal.
Again, this is not a group in need of such suggestions. But in light of recently released music and the “Blackout Letter,” it’s interesting to think of what else they might have up their sleeves in terms of marketing efforts.