I will eventually get around to talking about day 2 of the NFL draft, but I just saw a good article on signal vs. noise about how Trent Reznor is marketing his new album. In general, there has been lots of talk about viral marketing as a good way to cheaply get interest drummed up about a product. To be honest, I really don't think it works. At best, it takes the folks that were already interested in your product and whips them into a fervor. At worst, you get arrested. I think in most cases it just doesn't connect with those that are unfamiliar with your product, to your product. The examples used for NIN about the two websites really show little connection with the product or NIN. This to me is confusing. How can you call that marketing? What that is to me is an extension of the entertainment value of the product.
That said, I will likely pick up the new album. I have listened to it completely on the Year Zero website (for free) and was very happy with what I heard. I would be even happier if I could directly buy the mp3's on the web, which I might, I just have checked.
The other things that Trent is doing in terms of offering of the tracks via GarageBand and no DRM, I think are so pro-consumer that the even those that are not fans should buy in. This feeling for me is only made worse by the fact that the RIAA collects royalties for songs that it doesn't even own that are played on the internet.