Umphrey's McGee are among the first bands to make their content available in the new HDMP3 format. The new format allows for the creation and playback of a new type of audio file using lossless compression. MP3HD files are approximately four times the size of corresponding MP3 files, but remain compatible with existing MP3 players. Umphrey's McGee will make a sizable portion of their recent two-night run at the historic Murat Egyptian Room on March 13, 2009 available in the new format beginning April 1st at http://all4mp3.com/Listen_mp3HD.aspx. Additional recordings will be made available in the coming weeks.
"As one of the few artists who record and make available every show that is played, sound quality is paramount to the entire band. The HDMP3 format is a welcome addition to our existing arsenal of lossless and lossy formats we make available for fans, explains Umphrey's McGee's audio engineer & producer Kevin Browning." Offering a much richer sound spectrum combined with the convenience and familiarity of the MP3 format, we expect HDMP3 to be a hit with the band and fans alike."
Umphrey's McGee has recently made headlines with a groundbreaking digital campaign surrounding their latest studio album, Mantis. Mantis debuted at #62 on the Billboard 200 Chart, and #6 on the Indie Chart, with more than twice the sales the band's previous effort achieved week of release. In a declining record industry, the band's ingenious and innovative digital strategy has bucked the downward trend. Prior to this initiative, the standard approach towards offering bonus content was limited to delivery of exclusive materials as a one-shot incentive to the buyer. Umphrey's McGee, in super-serving their fan base, have built a modern nine-tier solution supported by grassroots and viral word-of-mouth, that marketing executives across the planet will envy.
This innovative initiative relies on fan support to see its goals realized. A variety of content is made available to those who pre-ordered the album in stages, based on purchased units unlocking the vault at varying thresholds. With each tier reach, more content goes out to the core crusaders. Guitarist and vocalist Brendan Bayliss explains, "Our fans have always been there for us, and with each year that has passed, the legion has exponentially grown. Collectively, we knew that this is a program that they'd love. Without a community, as we enjoy, this would probably never be executed as a realized vision. In our case, it worked." Band manager Vincent Iwinski adds, "That we were able to super-serve our fanbase with content they want, while making them part of the process, resulted in crowd-sourcing a passionate sales team like no other. With sales more than doubling our previous album in such a tough recorded music market is a testament to the creativity of the band, the support of the fans and the power of the new medium that enables artists like Umphrey's McGee to push the envelope from both music and marketing perspectives." During the release week, Mantis reached #25 on the iTunes Album chart.
In addition to a one-of-a kind pre-order campaign where fans can participate in "unlocking" exclusive bonus material, Mantis incorporates PUSH(TM) technology by Digital Insert to deliver new content throughout 2009. PUSH requires no software installation or serial number; by simply putting the Mantis CD in your CD-ROM drive, the disc acts as a "key" to an Umphreys.com micro-site where fans get access to exclusive 2009 content as it becomes available.
Umphrey's McGee has also broken new ground by being among the first bands to offer their fans a video subscription service. Available exclusively at iClips.com, Umphrey's has made an entire week's worth of concerts available in realtime video streaming to their fans for the low cost of only $5 per show, or the total package for only $20. Fans have the option of streaming the shows live as they happen, as well as further streaming on demand for two weeks following the concerts.
The Mantis campaign, the band's video subscription, and their use of the HDMP3 format are all innovative music experiences 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 with 750,000 tracks sold since 2004. 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.
The band has returned to the road for a run through the northeast, midwest and several forthcoming summer festivals. Confirmed dates are as follows:
April 02 The Grand Opera House Wilmington, DE
April 03 Penn's Peak Jim Thorpe, PA
April 04 Ram's Head Live! Baltimore, MD
April 05 Toad's Place New Haven, CT
April 07 Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel Providence, RI
April 08 Calvin Theatre Northampton, MA
April 09 House of Blues Boston, MA
April 10 Nokia Theatre Times Square New York, NY
April 11 Nokia Theatre Times Square New York, NY
April 16 Taft Theatre Cincinnati, OH
April 17 Egyptian Theatre Dekalb, IL
April 18 Morris Performing Arts Center South Bend, IN
April 29 Bama Theatre Tuscaloosa, AL
April 30 House of Blues New Orleans, LA
May 01 House of Blues New Orleans, LA
May 02 The Lyric Oxford MS
May 22 Summer Camp Chillicothe, IL
May 29 Mountain Jam Festival ~ Hunter Mountain Hunter, NY
May 30 Newport Music Hall Columbus, OH
June 05 Wanee Festival Live Oak, FL
July 02 High Sierra Music Festival Quincy, CA
July 11 All Good Music Festival ~ Marvin's Mountaintop Masontown, WV
July 18-19 Alpine Valley East Troy, WI supporting The Dave Matthews Band
July 25 10,000 Lakes Festival Detroit Lakes, MN