Raw Powder

Published in Billboard Magazine

It’s been said that old dogs can’t learn new tricks, but legendary Australian hard rock quintet Powderfinger is out to prove that anyone can adapt.

The Brisbane band channeled Twitter’s promotional power to build a head of steam ahead of its seventh studio album, “Golden Rule” (Universal Music), released Down Under Nov. 13.

On Oct. 2, the group played free “guerrilla” gigs in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, leaking news of each through Twitter just 25 minutes before showtime. Some 2,000 spectators rushed to each performance, says the band’s manager, Paul Piticco. “We were completely blown away by the numbers that were waiting there to greet us,” he adds.

In the seven days following the shows, the band’s Twitter following shot up from 1,800 to 6,000. “Twitter was perfect for this campaign,” says Carney Nir, Sydney-based new-media manager for the band’s management team, Secret Service. “It allowed us to make spur-of-the-moment decisions. And the media came along for the ride.”

Powderfinger has sold more than 2 million albums in Australia, according to Universal. The band is booked in Australia by Village Sounds, in North America by Creative Artists Agency and in the rest of the world by Helter Skelter. Universal Music Publishing represents the act in Australasia; publishing is copyright control for all other territories.

“Golden Rule” is available globally through iTunes; Piticco says an international physical rollout is being prepped. Powderfinger will tour internationally in late spring and summer of 2010.