Moby's 'Hotel' Guests Can Enjoy The 'Aural Xanax'

Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.

Moby is not one to shy away from alternative ways of marketing his music. In fact, he embraces them.

"For a long time, that was the only way I could get my music heard," he tells Billboard while sitting in his T-shirt/design shop, the Little Idiot.

Moby points to his 1999 release "Play" as an example. "When that album was first released, there was no radio support," he recalls. "Only music supervisors supported the record."

Indeed, every track on the album ended up being licensed—some more than once—for use in commercials, TV shows and film soundtracks. "Play" has sold 2.6 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

These days, Moby is working hand in hand with boutique hotel chain W, which will do its part to help promote and market the artist's new V2 album, the two-disc "Hotel," due March 22.

Two days later, publishing house Viking Studio will release "teany book," which Moby wrote with Kelly Tisdale.

In partnering with Moby, W Hotels expands on its already growing music-related programs, encompassing tie-ins with Apple Computer, as well as invite-only acoustic concerts.

By working with W, Moby's presence is front and center within the hip hotel's system. "Hotel" will be sold in all W gift shops, on the hotel's Web site (whotel.com) and in the mini bars (W refers to them as "munchies boxes") in all 5,100 W hotel rooms in North America.

Additionally, as part of its cultural series, Adventures in Wonderland, W Hotels will host three invite-only CD release parties. These events -— confirmed for New York (March 22), Chicago (March 29) and Los Angeles (April 4) —- will feature Moby performing live in an acoustic setting.

Fans can enter to win tickets to these and other Moby-related events by logging on to W's Web site or mobyhotel.com. The latter is the multifunctional, fully interactive global site devoted to "Hotel"; it is hosted by V2 and Mute, which releases the album internationally March 14.

In the United Kingdom, Mute has partnered with boutique hotel chain Malmaison, which will also heavily promote "Hotel."

Figuring into the U.S. activity will be the cross-promotional efforts of V2 and Viking Studio. "teany book" —- named after Moby and Tisdale's tea shop/cafe in New York's Lower East Side —- will be stickered with a "Hotel" announcement and vice versa.

The book is a colorful mix of recipes, cartoons and stories —- with more than one reference to tea.

Moby is confirmed for four Barnes & Noble in-store appearances: New York (March 22), Seattle (March 30), San Francisco (March 31) and Los Angeles (April 1). At each stop, he will play tracks from "Hotel" and discuss the two projects, followed by CD/book signings.

In addition to traditional book and music retailers, "Hotel" and "teany book" will be sold in gift shops, cafes, clothing boutiques and lifestyle establishments like yoga studios and spas.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals will also promote both projects in its catalog and on its Web site (peta.org). At amazon.com, fans that purchase the CD and book together will receive a special promotional discount, as well as a free B-side download.

Additional Internet initiatives are in place with Napster, Apple Computer's iTunes Music Store, MTV, AOL and other sites. Also, several songs from Moby's catalog have been digitized for ringtones.

Disc one of "Hotel" is steeped in '80s-shaded dance-rock sensibilities, while disc two is a tranquil, ambient trip. The first single, "Beautiful," is being championed by several triple-A and modern rock radio stations, including WXRT Chicago and WFNX Boston. (The international single, "Lift Me Up," premiered on BBC Radio 1 in January.)

"This record is a product of living in New York -— my home," Moby says. "The past few years here have been a really exciting time musically."

To illustrate, Moby mentions New York bands like the Rapture, Interpol, the Strokes and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. "All this great music these bands were making reminded me of the music I grew up with. So, I let myself make that kind of record."

As for the ambient recording, which was inspired by 1970s David Bowie and Brian Eno albums, he remarks: "In my own presumptuous way, I believe the world is a better place when there's a lot of quiet ambient music in it. It's like aural Xanax."




Excerpted from the March 5, 2005, issue of Billboard. The full original text is available to Billboard.com subscribers.

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