Swedish House Mafia's Masquerade Motel event in March 2011 practically shut down Miami Beach, with thousands of partiers dancing on the sand. Now, the DJ/producer trio is ready to go even bigger.
The Swedish dance collective announced today that it will play a couple of historic headlining gigs at two of the world's most prestigious venues: New York's 13,000-plus-capacity Madison Square Garden on December 16 and the U.K.'s 60,000-capacity National Bowl at Milton Keynes on July 14, 2012. It will be the first time a DJ act has headlined either room. Tickets for both events go on sale September 30.
"The feeling of MSG is amazing. I'm really into sports, so I just got goosebumps by just saying the name," Swedish House Mafia capo Steve Angello told Billboard.com exclusively. "There's something in that room, an energy that's indescribable. When I was a kid playing ice hockey, I never imagined even going there, let alone playing there as a DJ. It doesn't matter that it's the biggest gig we've ever done; it's a dream."
Video: Swedish House Mafia, "Save the World (Live)"
While the size and clout of an MSG event is headline-making for any DJ act, and another mark of electronic music's increasing power and influence in the U.S. (Tiesto recently announced a 26,000-capacity gig at Home Depot Stadium in Carson, Calif.), team SHM's fans-first philosophy promises a different experience from the usual arena show. "Target is not introducing our first record," laughs Angello. "This is not brought to you by State Farm."
SHM manager Amy Thomson confirms that there is no giant sponsor underwriting the MSG event. In fact, there's not even a major marketing campaign planned. The idea is simply to throw "the biggest private party on earth," says Thomson. "There's no TV, no above-the-line glossy magazines. All our advertising is just three dots, and if you don't know what they are, cool -- don't come."
Today's announcement marks the end of a teaser campaign which used SHM's logo-like "three dot" creative to build excitement. Flyers distributed at major electronic music events this summer bore a shadowy URL - 230911.com (today's date in the European style) - but the microsite offered only a countdown clock with no details. The anticipation grew so feverishly, some dance blogs went so far as to track the URL registration to crack the code, prompting a flurry of tweets and posts.
"This really isn't about, 'We're massive, quick, let's play a massive venue,'" says Thomson. "We're still unknown to peoples' dads and mums. Stop people on the street, they don't know who Swedish House Mafia is. This is about the quality of the event for our fans."
Toward that end, fans who attended SHM's former biggest-shows-ever - New York's M2 nightclub in 2010, and the U.K.'s O2 Academy Brixton in 2009 - are getting the first crack at tickets to the two new events via a private presale. The National Bowl ticket price is 45 pounds; MSG will range from $35-75. Keeping prices affordable was also important to Team SHM.
"When we play venues and festivals, the ticket price can be very high. Even if we played for free, the promoters would still charge that," says Angello. "But putting on these big shows where we are the promoters, we can fix it."
SHM -- Angello, Axwell, and Sebastian Ingrosso -- will release "One Night Stand," a live album in December on Astralwerks/EMI, featuring new collaborations with Coldplay and electronic rock band Pendulum, and new solo tracks from each member.
Angello is also preparing a Halloween-timed relaunch of his digital-only label Size Records' ecommerce-enabled website. which he and Thomson say will address some issues they've noticed with how electronic music is sold online.
"Our gigs can attract 50,000 to 60,000 people, with a solid 50/50 male-female split," says Thomson. "But online music sales are dominantly male and about 1% of those numbers. We don't think they're all burning it, or getting it on YouTube."
The new Size will be a multi-platform affair, with a smartphone application in addition to the site. Thomson hints at song-finder functionality, community features, rewards programs, and both purchase and subscription options. "It can be hard to get home from a show and find out what song you just danced to," she says. "Hopefully this will be a more welcoming place to browse and connect."