The Innovators

The Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne on Reinventing the Music Industry

Lessons in Reinvention

The Innovators


Innovators push the boundaries of the known world. They're change agents who are relentless in making things happen and bringing ideas to execution.

Lessons in Reinvention
From TV appearances to art and film projects to unique ways of packaging and releasing their music, the Flaming Lips have always seized every opportunity to apply their own imprint to the traditions of the music business.

Broaden your reach
The band appealed to a younger scene with a 1995 cameo appearance on Beverly Hills, 90210.

The Lips revisited music history in 2009 with a track-by-track reinterpretation of Pink Floyd's landmark The Dark Side of the Moon, released exclusively on iTunes.

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots In what could be the ultimate demographic expansion, Aaron Sorkin (of West Wing and Social Network fame) is developing a Broadway musical inspired by the Lips' Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.

Keep changing the platform
ZaireekaThe Flaming Lips shirked conventions of how consumers listen to music in 1997 with Zaireeka, a four-CD set developed for simultaneous playback on four separate stereo systems.

In 2011 the band resurrected the Zaireeka concept with "Two Blobs F***ing," a new track broken down into 12 YouTube videos and designed for simultaneous playback on a dozen handheld devices.

Use all outlets for marketing
Christmas on MarsThe introduction of a new onstage spacecraft prop at a 2006 show at Oklahoma City's Zoo Amphitheater led to a concert film released on DVD, U.F.O.s at the Zoo.

In 2008 the group augmented its music catalog with a feature film: Christmas on Mars, directed by Wayne Coyne and shot in the backyard of the singer's Oklahoma City home.

The 2009 holiday season brought the introduction of the Lips' first ornament: the Silver Trembling Fetus.

Skull Candy
Skull candy: eat to reveal the latest music.

Always be creative
A 2009 version of the record Embryonic hit stores wrapped in a fur-covered CD package.

2011 projects in the works include a musical salt box, a collaboration with Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page and what Coyne calls "a little spinning stroboscope thing."

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Chicago-based writer Jason Ankeny is the executive editor of Fiercemobile content, a daily electronic newsletter dedicated to mobile media, applications and marketing.

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This article was originally published in the May 2011 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Lips Inc..

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