Friday, April 20, 2007

Keep On Surviving

Nine Inch Nail's new album Year: Zero is out this week and even apart from the music the viral marketing campaign for the album is amazing. The mix of online puzzle, apocalyptical Dungeons & Dragons game and twisted Rock The Vote PSA is unprecedented and the depth of it all is surprising. It started with a series of interconnected websites referenced indirectly on the shirts sold on NIN's last tour and the air of mystery continued as flash drives containing leaked album tracks and videos started appearing in venues the band were playing. The release of the album brings more clues with a phone number placed in the usual RIAA warning spot to call in subversives and the thermal design on the cd reveals a hidden message after it has been played.
A couple of days ago the game intersected with reality as a group of fans were given cell phones that led them to a "secret meeting" with the resistance group featured in the album's backstory. Here's one fan's account from a fan site:

We pulled up to an abandoned warehouse; there were random people standing on the roof and around the entrance. We were led inside; there were more people inside, and AIR flags hanging from the roof... Neil Czarno (or whoever is playing him) gave a talk about how we should give a and change the world. I was rather cynical about his talk at first, but he redeemed himself by noting that we shouldn't just blindly accept what he was saying and that we should change the world in small ways. He also told us that we were stupid for allowing them to herd us like cattle onto a bus to who knows where with no form of communication (and for carrying around cellphones like tracking devices) and that we'd be dead if they were really after us. After his talk, we were led over the river and through the woods (the warehouse complex was rather large). We were stopped briefly before we entered a room with many lights and lots of equipment.

: Where NIN played a show that was "stopped" by a SWAT team, not unlike the one in the "Survivalism" video, when they "raided" the venue. You can see footage of the secret meeting/gig on youtube (the raid is in the last minute of this clip) or see the whole thing in full at one of the NIN backstory/political activist sites. Stream Year: Zero at NIN's myspace.

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