All week we are featuring the best and most popular articles that appeared on Hypebot in 2011. This one is by regular contributor Hisham Dahud.
Atlanta-based indie rock group Manchester Orchestra has launched a unique and interactive fan experience for their song, “Virgin” - a track that’s been described as “a song to the fans” by the band. In the spirit of the song’s lyrical content, the band has created a campaign for fans to have their voices heard … literally.
The project allows fans to sing the chorus from the song “Virgin” from their computer and automatically upload to it SoundCloud. From there, they’re able to create their own avatar based on artwork by the band’s percussionist to be featured on the front page. After a four-week period, the band will take all the uploaded vocals, remix & re-master the track, and re-release it with a fan-generated choir as a free exclusive download.
When Do You Decide to Include the Fans?
While these and other interactive fan-experience campaigns are certainly unique and engaging, how can a marketer ensure that they will be effective?
“Getting ready for this project, we came to a lot of conclusions that made me confident that this would go over really well with their fans,” said Brian Schopfel of Eyes & Ears Entertainment. “They (the band) are always authentic through and through - everything that is fan facing gets run by the band, and they are very involved.”
Schopfel continued: “They had already done an interactive campaign for the ‘Simple Math' album release that involved fan participation, and they did a LiveStream to premiere the track 'Virgin' which had consistently over 1,000 people tuning at all times.”
The band’s fan base was clearly already accustomed to an interactive engagement approach, making them more receptive to further engagements. Even the fans that may not have actively participated in the past were at least aware of these past interactive campaigns.
“We always sent out reliable, well-written newsletters with strong calls-to-action,” Schopfel said. “The band has a big, loyal social media following with a high percentage of activity.”
An emphasis on lyrical engagement has seemed to do wonders for the band’s live experience, as well: “When seeing the band twice during this release cycle, fans would be singing back to Andy at all times, occasionally louder than Andy himself,” Schopfel said.
Consistency + Constancy = Engagement
Given all the data from past campaigns, the enthusiasm and involvement of the live crowd, and with clever use of SoundCloud’s Record feature, Brian and Manchester Orchestra had plenty of reason to feel confident going into this campaign. The fan reaction has proven that the brand/band can withstand this type of fan involvement, and that their base definitely flourishes in it.
By being consistent in the approach and constant in the reach, you increase your chances of an effective and highly engaging fan-involved campaign initiative.
This post is by regular Hypebot contributor, musician, and music business professional Hisham Dahud (@HishamDahud)