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Thom Yorke leverages shady phone line ad for Anima Technologies in surreal album drop


By Imogen Watson, Senior reporter

June 17, 2019 | 5 min read

The king of album marketing, Thom Yorke, has pulled another innovative stunt to draw attention to the release of long-awaited solo work.

Thom Yorke teases new song via hotline

Thom Yorke teases new song via hotline

Not including his score work for Luca Guadagnino's Suspiria remake, Yorke's solo career has lain dormant since 2014, when he released Tomorrow's Modern Boxes.

In April, he debuted two new compositions - 'Gawpers' and 'Don't Fear the Light' - at the Barbican's 'Minimalist Dream House,' which was his first composition for classical music artists and concert halls.

Now, mysterious ads for a start-up called Anima Technologies have appeared across London train stations, in The Dallas Observer and inside Milanese phone booths, that appear to hold the key to an unreleased solo album.

Thom Yorke teases new song via hotline

The ads read: "Do you have trouble remembering your dreams? It's a feeling we at Anima know only too well. You're deep in a surreal world where you can be anybody you like, where you can do anything. And then you wake up and the dream fades. It's gone, like smoke on the breeze. Or is it?"

It follows on to say: "Here at Anima we've built something we call a Dream Camera. Just call or text the number and we'll get your dream back."

The ad stumped a lot of people, who took to social media to share their baffled, yet intrigued sentiments.

After dialling the hotline included on the ambiguous ad, inquisitive tube and phone booth users were met with an unidentifiable robotic voice.

The phone voicemail says: "You are hereby advised, that due to serious and flagrant unlawful activities, Anima Technologies has been ordered by the authorities to cease and desist from undertaking its advertised business. And further, from taking any telephone calls in relation to the aforesaid business."

The voice then carries on to say, "Should you wish to leave a message, please do so after the tone," after which a portion of 'Not the News,' an unreleased track from the album ensues, leading on from the techy sounds of the answer machine beep.

A website for the 'start-up' Anima Technologies has also been created; however, the only content that appears is a warning that says the site has been seized.

Alas, although Anima Technologies has been hacked by the high court and the form that 'Dream Cameras' will take isn't divulged, dialers get one step closer to the album reveal.

Yorke no doubt knows to make the public want to buy his albums. At the launch of Kid A back in 2000, his band Radiohead changed the way albums were marketed by deciding to do it all online.

This was the first album to be launched in this way. Small clips called 'iBlips' were created and added to fan sites, which encouraged people to pre-order the album.

The release of In Rainbows in 2007 was also revolutionary, in that it kicked off the 'pay as you want' movement.

The entire album was put online, and people were asked to pay what they wanted for it — or pay nothing. Two months after the release, Yorke said they made more from the digital sales of In Rainbows than all of the rest of the albums combined.

When he released his most recent Tomorrow's Modern Boxes, the internet was again at the fore. This time, he embraced piracy and made people pay to download his album using a service that would usually be used to steal an album: BitTorrent.

Creative Entertainment Marketing: Movies, TV, Music and Gaming Radiohead

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