Jimmy Eat World is what one might call a triple threat: consistent radio airplay, a strong licensing presence -- particularly in the gaming world -- and tech savviness.
As the band prepares for the release of its seventh studio album, "Invented," on Sept. 28, Jimmy Eat World and its team at Interscope depend on all three legs of this tripod -- but its most innovative approaches emerge from the band's digital endeavors.
Going back a decade, Jimmy Eat World was the first band that Luke Wood, president of DGC Records and chief strategy officer of Interscope Geffen A&M, worked with that embraced a digital approach. "Bleed American," the band's 2001 mainstream breakthrough album, was an enhanced CD with extra digital content, and even then nearly 250,000 fans registered to access the CD's viral goodies.
Jimmy Eat World's digital initiatives obviously advanced since this first foray 10 years ago. When the band heads out on tour later this month, it's looking to launch a location-based social networking portal that unites fans worldwide, Wood says.
In addition, the band's recently launched Unlock "Invented" website rewards fans who hype Jimmy Eat World on Facebook and Twitter by giving them access to unreleased tracks from "Invented."
"Our strategy with Jimmy Eat World is always to engage and inform the band's core audience first," Wood says. "Hopefully, at the same time, we'll re-engage past fans, and later gain new fans from television appearances and success at radio." At radio, Jimmy Eat World is faring well, with "My Best Theory," the lead single off "Invented," reaching No. 4 on Billboard's Alternative chart this week.
"Invented" is the product of the band's reunion with producer Mark Trombino, who worked with the band on earlier records including "Bleed American." "We don't waste a lot of time explaining to Mark where we're coming from with our creative ideas," vocalist/guitarist Jim Adkins says. "He just knows."
Coming from a tech-embracing band like Jimmy Eat World, it comes as no surprise that exchanging MP3s over e-mail served as the lifeline to its producer. Instead of going into the studio for a week or two, Jimmy Eat World spent nearly two years, off and on, writing and recording songs in its Arizona rehearsal space. Along the way, the band sent songs to Trombino, who would mix and tinker before sending them back.
"I could definitely see our approach being a standard working method in the future for a lot of people," Adkins says. "It frees up a lot of our geographic restrictions for both the producer and the band -- it's not just someone next door."