In my New Years Resolution blog for Midem at the beginning of the year, I stressed that this year the industry needed to make a concerted effort to be “more creative” and also remember that fans are “the most important aspect of the business”. Moving quickly past the mid- year point, it has been great to see both seemingly have come into play. Recently there have been a number of fun, fan-driven campaigns launched to support new releases. There have particularly been a lot of campaigns based around mobile apps, which have stepped up the level of creativity from the label’s side, worked to raise awareness of new releases and support fan engagement.
Earlier in the year at SO we launched a track title reveal to tie-in with the announcement of the new album Pure Adulterated Joy from Morning Parade. Ten days before the official album announcement and [US] pre-order going live, we launched a promotion to unveil a track title each day using the app Flipagram. Flipagram lets you turn pictures into short photo-video stories, set to music, so it provided the perfect opportunity to be creative. The band created Flipagram videos for each of the tracks, using snippets of audio on the sound bed of the videos. At 3pm daily, the videos were put up across all of the band’s socials, and the fan base were encouraged to share the video with what they guessed the track name was, whilst tagging in Morning Parade. To really incentivize the fan base to take part, we offered signed, hand-created pieces of band art to the winner each day, plus signed goodies for fans who supported the promotion along the way and helped share the videos. Here’s an example for the track “Culture Vulture”:
During the promotion, there was a positive increase in followers across the board on all of the band’s socials. In all, during the 10-day period, the promotion led to around a 20% increase in talking about on Facebook. An added boost to the promotion was that we managed to get in touch with Flipagram directly, who supported the promotion across their socials – where they have just under 186,000 Facebook likes and 23,000 Twitter followers. The regularity of the Flipagram’s going live created a buzz throughout the band’s socials and ensured that fans kept checking in with the band daily. Whilst, it allowed us to have fun with the fan base, reward them for their support and raise awareness of their new album release before we got to the period of “hard selling” and having to push the pre-order link.
Using a similarly, relatively new app, Universal recently launched a promotion in conjunction with video app JamCam and PSY. Where JamCam is unique compared to other video apps, is that it the video you record within the app, automatically adds the song a user was listening to at the time, to the video. The premise of the promotion was to encourage users to submit their own 15-second video to PSY’s new single “Hangover”, which could ultimately become a part of the official full-length video. Fans were required to upload their videos via JamCam using the hashtag #PSYHangover, where they then got uploaded to the PSY JamCam site. From there, people could vote for their favourite uploads by sharing them to Facebook or Twitter. The great thing about this promotion is that it is driven by participation. But due to its level of creativity, it is not just exclusively looking for fans to take part; the app is free and it’s a fun promotion for anyone to get involved in.
Another recent app-based promotion saw Lethal Bizzle unveil his new single, “Rari Workout”, via music messaging app PingTune. Giving a tip-off that a new song was coming via SnapChat, of Lethal Bizzle fist pumping in his Ferrari to the new track. This in itself spawned a reported 1,500 internet memes of fans imitating his “#RariWorkOut” and posting selfies – even more brilliantly in #RariWorkOut vests from Bizzle’s own clothing brand. Following on from this, Lethal Bizzle “leaked” a 65-second clip of the new track on PingTune. Fans had one chance to listen to the clip within the app before, it became locked and then they had to “earn” repeat plays by sharing it with friends within the app or across their social networks. It was reported the first clip was played over 21,000 times in the first 10 minutes of going live. A two-fold app promotion, Lethal Bizzle worked to capture the attention and imagination of fans by only teasing an aspect of the new track, resulting in fans wanting more. Which crucially could only happen by continuing to share the clip or by clicking to buy the entire track from iTunes though the PingTune app.
In my last Midem blog I spoke of the role of Shazam’s app in new release promotions and it would be ignorant to fail to mention the app here. Whilst they are primarily forging ahead with premiering songs and videos, a couple of months ago they partnered with Demi Lovato and Disney Music in a promotion to decide on the routing of Lovato’s next European tour. The premise of the campaign was to get fans to tag her single “Neon Lights”, and with the cities throughout Europe which generated the most tags taken into consideration to be visited. The beauty of this promotion was that it was a creative use of Shazam but it put Lovato’s fans in the driving seat in spreading word of what was happening, and activate fans to take part and really influence where Lovato might come and perform live. It was reported during the first week of the promotion being live, the track was tagged 790,000 times, with 2,000 UK fans accounting for a tenth of the tags – a sign of a highly engaged and passionate fan base.
Earlier in the year, Shazam’s Daniel Danker eluded to Music Ally that the next step for the app would be seeing album launches done through their app. With this promise it’s going to be interesting to see what Shazam’s next step is for creative campaigns, as they continue to dominate the mobile app business and work closer and closer with the music industry. As for the rest of us, campaigns such as these, which put the fan at the fore of the campaign, can only push our own creative thinking in a positive direction.
Morning Parade’s new album ‘Pure Adulterated Joy’ is released in Europe 8 September on SO Recordings via Kobalt Label Services.
Top photo © iStock – AarStudio