“The technology was backward, but the system worked.”*

As a daily habit, I read — or at least glance at — Pitchfork’s music reviews. Sometimes, in the process, a news item catches my eye, and today that happened.

Being a fan of the Elephant 6 collective, a headline about an Elephant 6 documentary triggered a nostalgia response in me. As I read about it, I was delighted to see that the marketing and distribution plan is as stubbornly, backwardly innovative as the bands in the original collective.

Filmmaker Chad Stockfleth has spent the last ten years on the documentary, and instead of opting for a traditional release, he decided to distribute flyers advertising the documentary at coffee shops and record stores in Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Portland, Athens, Los Angeles, and more.

The flyers promote an organization called the Elephant 6 Video “Rental” Club, and feature pull tabs at the bottom with a phone number. When the number is dialed, a pre-recorded voice message reportedly prompts the caller with different instructions. Eventually, the caller will receive a VHS tape in the mail, as well as a “library card” to sign when the tape is mailed back. The VHS case also includes a fresh flyer for the renter to hang in their own neighborhood.

Source: https://pitchfork.com/news/elephant-6-documentary-is-out-nowon-vhs/

*The title for this blog post comes from http://www.thefreedictionary.com, which I used to check the meaning of “backwardly” when I wrote it in the second block of text above.

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