Thursday, December 29, 2011
#7 in Davearama's Top 20 of 2011
#7 in my favourite songs of 2011 is "Freedom" by Sugababes. You may have read my previous blog entry about the history of the British girl group here. This was their big return, and unfortunately, it was disaster. I don't blame the Sugababes or the song, I blame the record company for making this the worst single campaign in the history of pop music.
In May of 2011, it was confirmed that the new single would be out in June. And things were looking great as a snippet of song was released on June 1st in a Nokia commercial. However, the rest of June was rather quiet.
Then in early July, the group announced they were leaving their record label, Island Records. They signed a three-album deal with Sony records. Within a week, the Sugababes premiered their new song in the UK on July 10 by performing it live at T4 On The Beach Festival. All was great! Then we had silence for the rest of the month.
On August 1, "Freedom" got its first play on UK radio. The video premiered on August 8. And then the news came on August 15 that the single would be available for download only on September 25. Fans were outraged that the campaign was dragging on too long. Pop songs don't usually have a four-month campaign leading up to time when you can actually buy it.
Radio didn't know what to do with this song. Why promote it so early when it isn't available until over a month away? September came and any buzz the song had was quickly dying. Even scheduled TV performances couldn't help get the public interested. It looked to be a huge flop on the charts come the end of September.
Four days before it was available, Sony cancelled the pre-orders and announced it would be giving the song away for free as a gift to the fans. This was largely seen as a way for the song not be considered a flop in the charts, as free downloads are not eligible for chart positions.
All of this plus the backlash the group receives for not being the original line up, made all promotional efforts be put on hold. There was even to be second single called "Hard" before the end of the year, but that was put off indefinitely. Here's hoping the next single campaign doesn't stretch out for four months.
Freedom was only released in the UK and Ireland on iTunes and Amazon.