DIY Pop Star Alex Day’s New Album Outcharts Justin Timberlake On iTunes UK [Updated]

Alex-day-tedxyouthAlex Day, who may well be the biggest DIY pop star in existence, ended 2012 with an upbeat appearance at TEDxYouth@SanDiego. Day has also been quite productive in 2013 with an extended album release supported by a BitTorrent promo that outcharted Justin Timberlake on iTunes UK. In addition, he continues his unique strategy of doing it all himself with no touring and a media focus on business writers resulting in numerous in-depth interviews.

Alex Day planned to end 2012 on a high note by breaking another Guiness World Record for DIY chart climbing. Such was not to be but he's making up for that in 2013 by outcharting Justin Timberlake on iTunes in the UK.

[Update: Should have known better than to let a TechCrunch blogger vet figures for me. Alex Day only temporarily outcharted Justin Timberlake. As MusicAlly's Stuart Dredge pointed out, those were midweek figures and Timberlake took the week as a whole.]

Overall he's done an excellent job of exploring a totally unique path towards his eventual goal of being known by all. Along the way he's "sold over half a million songs on iTunes [and] his YouTube channel 'nerimon' has enjoyed more than 100 million views."

The Future of Music: Alex Day at TEDxYouth@SanDiego

A much higher end-of-2012 note was sounded during his rare State-side appearance at TEDxYouth@SanDiego in November:

"Alex shares his passion, determination and unbridled enthusiasm with TEDxYouth@SanDiego and inspires young people everywhere to 'chase unrealistic goals' and not let a 'bonkers world' ever stop you from your dreams."

Alex Day won't sign with a label because he wants control of what to release when and how to release it. He won't go on tour, though he's apparently reconsidering the possibilities, because he likes the comforts of home and doing so much of it himself makes it more difficult to translate to the stage.

But Alex Day keeps iterating and finding new ways to move forward. His latest move is a 20 song compilation release called "Epigrams and Interludes" that's available on iTunes and BandCamp. It features songs for which he's become well known on YouTube and that he's sold individually at a time when many are giving up on sales of music. It also includes at least one new release which you can check out in the video below:

Alex Day – I've Got What It Takes

"I've Got What It Takes" includes certain signature elements including the appearance of other YouTube stars and an overall cheery view of the world despite facing adversity.

Day's promoting the full release with a BitTorrent promo and a related post that describes Day as "Hacking The Record Industry." Stems are being released via BitTorrent's SoShare platform and remixes are encouraged.

In addition to promoting the collection with a new video and a BitTorrent promo, which I assume but have not confirmed is being monetized as was DJ Shadow's BitTorrent bundle, Day has been reaching out to the media.

As he once told me in an email, he doesn't tend to focus on music media because he does pop music and that sort of media just focuses on stars on tv and in the major label system. His approach to music doesn't really fit the typical DIY media outlet.

So Day focuses on music business and tech writers and he's gotten an interesting round of meaty interviews off the combination of BitTorrent and iTunes charting including:

Music Ally:

YouTube star Alex Day reveals plans for BitTorrent Bundle release

Interview: Alex Day talks BitTorrent, YouTube and the lure of touring


How A YouTube Sensation Beat Justin Timberlake And The Music Industry

New Media Rockstars:

Alex Day is Talented, Funny and British — A Triple Threat [INTERVIEW]

He was also interviewed for Business Insider back in February as part of Verizon's Roadmap To The Future series.

I've long advocated that musicians find ways to appear in tech and business media by pitching their use of web and mobile tech and alternative business models but I've never seen someone do it to such an extent as Alex Day. If you want to understand what he's doing with his music career, he breaks it all down in a transparent manner in the above interviews.


Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at All World Dance: Videos and maintains Music Biz Blogs. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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  1. Great summary, it should be noted that he is also in a MCN. No doubt they dumped marketing dollars behind it inside the YT ecosystem.

  2. What MCN are you referring to? I haven’t seen anything about that and he hasn’t mentioned it to me though he doesn’t always reveal all the pieces.

  3. Word is it was Machinima. I have separate deals with two MCN’s and they each provide dollar amount commitments to marketing their provider network channels.

  4. “word is”?
    So are you saying it’s some kind of secret deal and they don’t put all they’re branding on the channel like they do on all those other channels with which they’re associated?
    Sounds unlikely.

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