There's no denying that when it comes to the Internet, cats are power players. You've got Sockington, the Twitter cat with 1.5 million followers; all those photogenic felines over at icanhascheezburger.com; and Keyboard Cat - technically, Keyboard Cat has been dead for years, but he lives on via YouTube.
So when it came time to promote Devo's first studio album in 20 years, Something for Everybody, the new media team at Warner Bros. Records threw a listening party for cats and broadcast a live feed of the nine-hour bash for all to see and comment on at Ustream.
"We've been wanting to do something with cats for a while, and this was the perfect opportunity," says Warner Bros. Records new media director Cara Heller. "We needed to do something fun and innovative for this record, and [a party for cats] fit with the whole theme of Something for Everybody."
Dogs are also popular on the Web. Did anyone even consider producing a party for dogs? "I feel like cats trump dogs on the Internet," Heller says. (That said, she could be biased because she does, in fact, have a cat of her own, and in the interest of full disclosure, so does this reporter.)
The cat listening party was held on June 15 in a ground floor area at the
Warner Bros. Records office in Burbank. The new media team did its best to mimic the look of the Something for Everybody album artwork in the space, hiring a woodworker and carpet layer to
construct a massive, blue Devo energy dome for the cats to frolic upon.
Songs from the album were played continuously on the Ustream feed, but the felines -- all professional actor cats provided by Jungle Exotics -- only listened to Something for Everybody for about two hours. "We were told they like music, but we didn't know how cats react to listening to music over long periods of time, and we didn't want to burn them out," Heller explains.
While the cats could not be reached for their thoughts on the party or the album at press time, Heller was thrilled with the results of the promotion. The Ustream live feed drew 90,000 spectators/listeners, and fans were so enamored with a cat that sat atop the energy dome and refused to share the perch they dubbed him King Orange and created a Facebook page for him. Meanwhile, the party got press from publications ranging from Cat Fancy to USA Today. (Cornerstone Promotions pitched in by helping to get the word out about the cat party.)
It was so much fun," says Heller. "I can only hope to do many more promotions with cats."