They Might Be Giants Are Marketing Geniuses

When They Might Be Giants started releasing kid’s albums back in 2002 with “No!”, I didn’t really understand why they had chosen to go in that direction. Two years later, though, I had a kid, and now I realize They are marketing geniuses.

(my kid)

They Might Be Giants made their mainstream debut in 1986. The oddball audience that really got it would have been between 13 and 25 years old at the time (as was I). Most of those folks now have settled down into stable jobs, disposable income (read: can afford to purchase music), and kids.

For those of us worried about inculcating our children with an appropriately developed sense of irony to get them through the next century, TMBG is the perfect prescription. We can play our kids these new albums and rest assured that our kids will eventually appreciate Terry Gilliam, Ze Frank, John Belushi, and the like. And learn the alphabet (mp3) (ogg) while they’re at it:

F is far too fussy and only eats with fancy wine
G eats only gourmet but never can decide
H burns food so horrible
all I tastes is smoke
J just likes drinking juice
and K drinks only soda

(Please note the Cake tribute — which is interesting, since Cake was undoubtedly influence by TMBG.) (If you don’t get the joke, it’s “soda.”)

The target audience, of course, is still “us” — those of us over 30, who are more likely to actually purchase music rather than copy it. It’s an interesting reversal of the more typical marketing plan which involves getting kids to nag their parents to buy things.

It thus makes a lot of sense that TMBG is selling tracks direct online from their website in unencumbered formats — $9.99/album in MP3 format, or $11.99/album as FLAC files. An extra two bucks for lossless audio? Of course I’ll buy that! You should too.


  1. Jamie Jan 28

    They also might be the fourth hit when you Google the word “they.”

  2. Mark Brown Jan 28

    Saint Ettienne also had a very good kids album called Up The Wooden Hills, avaliable with their album Tales from Turnpike House and possibly elsewhere.

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