Music Business

Pharrell’s Star Pupil Debuts, Vulfpeck Flex Funk Muscles

1-H1QnKslon1XGl1z7t7qpgQIn this round of the Pandora Predictions Chart, Emily Blake looks at the new pop direction being taken by Pharell's star pupil Maggie Rogers, as well as the the new funk sound coming from Vulpeck .


Guest post by Emily Blake oo Next Big Sound

A DJ who describes himself as “partially insane,” a kitschy funk band from Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a young woman who once probably — nay definitely — made Pharrell shed tears. Those are the standouts on this week’s Pandora Predictions Chart, which ranks the up-and-coming artists who are most likely to make their debut on the Billboard 200 Chart in the next year.

There are plenty of notable newbies this week, as well as the latest oh-so-welcome victim of the Chainsmokers and a rising Berlin-bred rapper. Read on fore more.

Pharrell favorite Maggie Rogers ditches the banjo

Before June of this year, not many people had heard of Maggie Rogers. The NYU graduate student’s feet had been firmly planted in banjo-driven folk songs—like her self-released sophomore album, Blood Ballet — but now, everyone knows her for a glistening pop song that Pharrell gushed about when he first heard it while hosting a master class at NYU.

Maggie Rogers saw a generous uptick in YouTube followers after a video of Pharrell hearing her song “Alaska” went viral.

That video went viral at the beginning of June, and in the following month, Rogers gained more than 11,000 Twitter followers and nearly 15,000 YouTube subscribers, which are 26,588.10% and 36,205% increases compared to the previous month, respectively.

In the four months since then, the Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter has signed a deal with Capitol Records, given Alaska more of a traditional pop sound, and released a dance-y video to match. And while her growth has dropped off a bit since early June, Alaska is still performing well on Pandora, seeing a month-on-month 27.55% increase in Spins. This month compared to last month, Rogers has also seen a +354.59% increase in Twitter followers, a 69.43% increase in Facebook Page Likes, and a 74.33% increase in Instagram followers.

Vulfpeck prove that weird works

Ann Arbor funk group Vulfpeck have consistently come up with wonderfully weird ways to promote their wonderfully weird brand of funk. In an effort to put on a free tour back in 2014, the group uploaded an entirely silent album to Spotify called “Sleepify,” encouraging their fans to listen to it while they sleep. (“Sleepify” stayed on Spotify for seven weeks and generated right around $20,000 before Spotify removed the album.) Most recently, they hosted an “understaffed and excruciatingly boring” telethon on Facebook to promote their latest album “The Beautiful Game.”

And weird seems to be working just fine for them. 

Their Vulf Telethon — during which they premiered music off the album, played a lot of footage of dogs, and roasted a frozen chicken, among other things— saw over 65,000 views, which is over half the size of their fanbase on Facebook.

In the two weeks since “The Beautiful Game” was released, the group has seen a 140.43% increase in Twitter mentions and a 76.21% increase in Twitter followers compared to the previous two weeks. This week, they maintain a solid presence on the Predictions Chart at #2.

Elsewhere on the Predictions Chart, Ghastly might have found something that a very specific kind of EDM fan has been waiting for: Metal mixed with dubstep. The DJ born David Lee Crow debuts at #16 this week, a few spots behind fellow newbie MNSSH. The Berlin-bred rapper debuts at #13, just four spots behind Phoebe Ryan, who continues to feel the power of the Chainsmokers. Their collaboration, All We Know, saw a week-on-week 18% increase in Spins this week.

The Chainsmokers have another banger on their hands with “All We Know,” featuring Phoebe Ryan.

And Olivia O’Brien sees a slight dip this week — from #12 to #15 — right as her collaboration with Gnash, I Hate U, I Love U, starts to taper off. Though it’s definitely doing just fine, with over 4.5 million Spins this week.

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