Hanging out with my buddy Cyndi Lynott last week, she’s like, “Hey man, have you seen the video we made for ‘This is the New Year’ by our client A Great Big World? Yeah, we made a lyric video from all their fan tweets!”
Couple days later, I remember to look it up on YouTube, and BAM! This thing is AWESOME! Not because it pretty much personifies everything I’ve been talking about for the past year — repurposing social visual content to connect with fans — but it’s exciting & fun! They literally recognize & reward their fans by stitching fans’ lyric tweets into the video!
It’s not enough that the song was covered by ‘Glee’ a few months back (unheard of for a then-unsigned act). It’s not enough that they released an “official” video for the song 100 days ago. It’s not enough that the song is featured in Masters / Golf Channel coverage all month. But bit by bit, over & over, all these little things add up to something bigger over time, which WILL pay off as the audience grows.
Used to be, you’d record an album, release a track, take it to radio, pray / pay it got played, and wait. And wait. And wait. And go broke waiting for the big machine to kick in.
Not anymore. These guys are totally creating, connecting, growing as best as they can and making their own magic along the way. They’re even making 30 Videos in 30 Days — mostly goofy shit, with a new performance video every Friday, but it speaks to their fans, in their fans’ language, on their fans’ platforms of choice.
Their site is a Tumblr. Their Twitter count is only 1800. They have 2500 Facebook fans. Each song has around 2000 Soundcloud plays (New Year has 10k). They have 2200 YouTube subscribers, the lyric video only has 2600 views, the big vid has 174k, and the Kickstarter-funded EP’s tracks are on their YouTube channel, each averaging 12k views per.
None of these numbers are barn burners. But the fact is, they’re present, and they are continuously reaching out, recognizing, and connecting to their fans. And soon, they’ll be on the road, opening for Brooklyn buddy Julia Nunes — another next-gen artist who has made a career connecting with young fans via social media.
Yes, there are connected professionals behind the scenes doing everything they can to make the band bigger, that’s what good managers and publishers do. But none of their current efforts are breaking the bank, and nothing so far has broken them laaaaaaarge. And that’s okay. But bit by bit, the team does their thing to create big opportunities, and the band does their thing to connect with fans.
And oh yeah, it doesn’t hurt that the song is a pop smash.
But ain’t nothing a home run anymore. You gotta do everything you can to constantly get a few singles & doubles and put a few points on the board before the world wakes up to what you’re doing.
4.22 addendum: And back to Great Big World (from last week) for a sec — member Ian Axel’s original A&R guy Will Langolf pointed out that his team at label tinyOGRE shinied up “New Year” and pitched it to ‘Glee’ as far back as 2010 (!!!) — which goes to show you, ain’t nothing an overnight sensation, that the path to success is loooooong, and even when you get those breaks two or three years later, you have to keep the momentum going yourself, regardless of what is going on in the big scheme of things. Kudos to all.