Analyzing the microsite for Depeche Mode’s new single “Heaven”

Depeche Mode recently announced the upcoming release of their 13th studio album, Delta Machine, to be released on March 26, featuring lead single “Heaven.” To prepare for the new album era, the band has partnered with Eyes & Ears Entertainment to put up a countdown site that has currently revealed tour dates and album information, as well as a new Tumblr blog for the band. In contrast to this month’s earlier high-profile countdown for Justin Timberlake’s single “Suit & Tie” (whose website was created by Eyes & Ears partner Uprising Creative), Depeche Mode has already revealed the names of the album and single that will be released, as well as their release dates: before the March 26 release of Delta Machine, “Heaven” will be released as a two-track single (with B-side “All That’s Mine,” which will also be available on the deluxe edition of Delta Machine) and in a five-track remix EP on Friday, February 1. The video for “Heaven” will also premiere the same Friday on VEVO.

Until the release of “Heaven” on Friday, Depeche Mode and Eyes & Ears have launched a microsite that will lead up to the release, building anticipation through clues on the website and the #depechemodeheaven hashtag on Twitter. Though the full track does not appear to be available through any countdown cracking, a few details can be gleaned. The site features a field containing a single tree in front of a starry background, more of which is revealed as the visitor scrolls through it. While some of the stars and galaxies in the background are predetermined by their inclusion in a single image (below), many more are created through scripts that cause tweets with the #depechemodeheaven hashtag to display when the site visitor hovers over each star. These tweets do not appear to hold any specific revelations; rather, up to 500 (according to the on-site web script) tweets are pulled in that include the hashtag.

Depeche Mode Heaven space image background
The space background behind the “Heaven” microsite. (click for full size — opens in new window)

In addition, seven of the galaxies seen in the space background contain links that reveal parts of the upcoming “Heaven” release. Three of them link to image stills from the “Heaven” video, and another shows the slate before the first shot was recorded:

Depeche Mode Heaven video still #1
Depeche Mode Heaven video still #2
Depeche Mode Heaven video still #3
Depeche Mode Heaven video still #4
Depeche Mode Heaven video slate

More interestingly to those looking for clips of the single, three additional galaxies link to audio samples from the song. While the positions of the galaxies move when the page is reloaded, below are the images that link to each audio clip for reference.

Depeche Mode Heaven galaxy 1Depeche Mode Heaven galaxy 1Depeche Mode Heaven galaxy 1

The first galaxy links to a vocal sample of Depeche Mode lead singer Dave Gahan singing “I’m in heaven,” presumably part of the song’s chorus. (direct MP3 link) The galaxy in the middle links to a brief drum sample (direct MP3 link), while the galaxy furthest to the right links to a guitar sample (direct MP3 link).

Contrary to one of my original thoughts, it does not appear that the length of the samples will increase over time as more tweets are recorded, considering these are complete files being played on the site rather than snippets of a more extensive audio file. Since an overall count of tweets and Facebook shares does not seem to be recorded either, it is unlikely that additional details will be revealed as sharing milestones are reached. However, there is a chance that, as the week progresses, the site will be built upon (each day, for example) with additional samples, images, or details. While the idea behind it is much the same, this appears to be less like the Justin Timberlake countdown from earlier this month and more of a microsite made just to build anticipation for the Friday release of “Heaven.” Check back for updates if more details are uncovered throughout the week.

Update (1/30/13): A fourth video still, this one of a tree featured in the video, has been added to the site. It has been added to the post below the other three stills.

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