Umphrey’s McGee launches a one-of-a-kind pre-order campaign for their highly anticipated new studio release, Mantis (January 20, 2009 / SCI Fidelity Records). The pre-order, which offers an MP3 download of the album in addition to the traditional compact disc, also promises unprecedented downloadable bonus content that will actually increase in volume depending on how many pre-orders are received, and will use innovative PUSH(TM) technology by Digital Insert to continue delivering exclusive bonus material throughout 2009. The Mantis pre-order offer is available now at www.umphreys.com/mantis.
Over 2 years in the making, Mantis pushes the envelope in composition, arrangement and group interplay. And in an Umphrey’s McGee first, the album offers 100% new material – a drastic change of pace for a band whose typical modus operandi is to work out the material live on-stage before recording studio versions. Coupled with an innovative pre-order campaign offering unique bonus material incentives where fans can actually influence the amount of extra material that is offered, Mantis is creating plenty of anticipation and chatter among fans and industry alike.
"We wanted to do something special for the fans, make this release as exciting for them as it is for us," explains Umphrey’s McGee’s Jake Cinninger. "We wanted to put the reins in their hands, get them involved in spreading the word about the album, and give the release a human touch by giving the fans more. It’s the give and take between us and the fans that makes it possible for us to tour and grow as a band; the fans play an important role in everything we do."
Mantis bonus material "Part I" offers bonus tracks for pre-order customers – outtakes and alternate recordings of songs on Mantis, tracks culled from the Umphrey’s McGee archives including often requested rarities from the band’s annual acoustic holiday shows, tracks from historical "Taper Appreciation Nights," plus odds and ends from studio jams, sound checks and more. The more pre-orders that are purchased, the more tracks the band will unlock. Fans can use the free Mantis widget to track the growing list of free bonus material, which will be delivered via digital download the week of the album’s release.
Mantis bonus material "Part II" incorporates PUSH(TM) technology by Digital Insert to deliver additional bonus content throughout 2009. PUSH requires no software installation or serial number; by simply putting the Mantis CD in your CD-ROM drive, the disc will act as a "key" to an Umphreys.com micro-site where fans get access to exclusive 2009 content as it becomes available – such as recent live versions of songs from Mantis , rehearsals and impromptu "bus jams," and more. Considering Umphrey’s musical creativity and smart sense of humor, 2009’s bonus material is sure to offer plenty of surprises.
The Mantis pre-order page at www.umphreys.com/mantis is an innovative application in itself. The page was built by Plaid ( www.ThinkPlaid.com), a design and branding firm that produces creative online and offline campaigns for brands across the nation.
This pre-order is yet another innovative music experience to be offered by Umphrey’s McGee, who have proven adaptive and inventive both in music and business over the last 10 years. Through online community building, creative web-based promotions, and open taping policies allowing live music sharing among fans, Umphrey’s McGee has harnessed the internet’s momentum to spread their music far and wide. The band’s download store UMLive.net is an archive of their ever-diverse live performances, hosting downloads of over 300 shows, while umphreys.com hosts the iTunes friendly UM Podcast which releases two 75-minute episodes of live material each month to its 20,000 subscribers. Since 2001, Umphrey’s has released soundboard recordings of each night’s concert immediately after the show in both physical and digital formats -and each show typically sells upwards of 300 copies per night. The band’s unique approach to online and digital distribution, paired with word of mouth buzz, has helped Umphrey’s McGee sell out shows nationwide while keeping their fans a top priority.
Look for Umphrey’s McGee to bring the songs on Mantis to the live stage beginning in January -when the band will work out the songs live and without a net, and fans can watch how the songs evolve as the band experiments, deconstructs, reconstructs and realizes the full potential of the new material in a live context.
Until then, Umphrey’s McGee wraps up the year with dates in U.S. cities east and west and points between, including their annual New Year’s run in their hometown of Chicago. This year, the band hosts three nights at the city’s stunning Auditorium Theatre, where they’ll be joined on stage by musical icons Buddy Guy, Stanley Jordan, Joshua Redman, Jeff Coffin, and Koko Taylor. Visit www.umphreys.com for a complete list of tour dates.