Cheap Trick: The Kings Of 8-Track

AAs Wired properly noticed, it’s doubtful you’d surprise anyone with releasing an album on an 8-track tape. In the ’70s. But in 2009, the idea becomes an effective marketing move. So, who’s done that? Cheap Trick, crazy veteran rockers from Illinois.

You might have read about their The Latest album being released in such an archaic format back in July, but what wasn’t covered much in the media is the adventure’s outcome. Quite recently our (Ultimate Guitar) writer Joe Matera reached out to guitarist Rick Nielsen and asked him to comment on the buzz around the promotion.

Talking about the album, Rick mentioned a rather interesting fact.

Since we’ve always put out vinyl on every record we’ve brought out even when vinyl went away, we thought the 8-track format was also an appropriate thing, and also because we’re all from that certain era. The thing about the 8-track is, we’re number #1 in the world of 8-track sales right now. It may be a small market but you know… It’s really funny as they’re talking just as much about the 8-track than they are about anything else that we’re doing. Its technology that kids today may never even had heard of before. We are also trying to get an eight track player made with the Cheap Trick checkerboard art that is able to run on regular power and is USB powered also.

The band had picked up a media format that noone remembers or uses anymore, and became a number one hit with it. How many discussions has this release generated compared to the amount of people who actually own an 8-track player nowadays? That’s the point.

Cheap Trick

Cheap Trick: The Latest

Thinking different is not enough for implementation of your ideas though, which shouldn’t be ignored.

In Cheap Trick‘s case, as BoingBoing reported, it wasn’t easy to find a manufacturer for recording the 8-track version of the album. “There was a lot of looking under rocks,” said the band’s manager Dave Frey. “They’re expensive to make, and they don’t make very many at a time.”

Eventually the band found a small plant in Dallas, Texas. The cartridge is now sold for $30 (the CD is going for $12.99, the digital download is $8.99).

In addition to the $30 8-track, Cheap Trick is also selling golf balls, license plate frames, watches, backpacks and bandanas, but they all don’t come with music (unfortunately).