Marketing

Case Study: Indie artists HURTS releases ‘Faith’

Here we break down the findings from a case study on London-based duo HURTS’ fifth studio album release, analyzing their goals, tactics, and ultimate results.

Guest post by Michelle Golden of The Orchard’s The Daily Rind

Goals

London-based English musical duo HURTS released their fifth studio album Faith on September 4, 2020. The overall goal of the campaign was to heighten the awareness around the release of the new album, expand the band’s social presence, and strengthen existing social profiles.

Faith landed #21 on the UK Album Charts and became the #1 independent release in the UK. The album secured a Top 10 position across Germany at #9, Switzerland at #10, and Austria at #8. The album has over 5 million streams, with the videos for “Voices”, “Suffer”, “Redemption” and “Somebody” clocking a combined 7 million views. 

Tactics

The band produced and art directed all creative content for the FAITH campaign, including concepts, design elements, official videos, social media clips, and live performances like their 360 IGTV performance exclusive video. The album artwork became the driving force for the creative, self shot by Adam and Theo. All content was strategically released organically, incorporated within a larger digital social strategy alongside management. Key campaign assets incorporated creative use of hiding clues and using different languages to activate multiple territory fanbases. 

HURTS was one of the first to utilize the messenger platform Telegram, building an ecosystem whereby the band had a direct line to their global fanbase. Telegram launched the album campaign, which involved a social blackout followed by a call to action to sign up, along with a teaser video with hidden messages that was utilised for Spotify canvas and across socials. HURTS could personally interact with fans via Q&A’s and listening parties. Fans also had access to exclusive content and were able to communicate with each other via an encrypted chat feature and breakdown clues together in teaser hunts. This way, the artist team was able to identify superfans.

Content was teased across the website in stages in anticipation of their first single “Voices.” An encrypted “Join us” was included within a random group of floating letters on the website, sending hints to fans to join the Telegram group. During the next phase, the band revealed a teaser video with cryptic audio messages and text that gave away details of the album. The final phase featured arebrand of the websiteinspired by “Voices”. 

Before the album release, a pre-save campaign kicked off. Fans were encouraged to pre-save the album for a chance to win a Golden Ticket. The Golden Ticket was to get them into a show of their choice during the Faith Tour 2021 and an opportunity to meet the band. 

Leading up to the album launch, HURTS hosted weekly listening parties for their back catalogue to get fans hyped for what was to come and educate any new fans on the band’s catalogue.

listeningparty

Throughout the campaign, a Spotify Canvas Activation was used to tease out new content and drive the fanbase to the platform through a treasure hunt format. After the first single “Voices” came out, Spotify Canvas was used to facilitate a fan competition to submit artwork and video content. This was an opportunity for fans to have the chance to appear on the “Voices” Spotify Canvas. The Canvas was swapped out each day for a week, directing fans from both Telegram and Instagram Stories to listen to the album. Also on Spotify, a new themed playlist was updated each week. Fans were asked to post their suggestions with their Instagram handles. If a fan’s selection was chosen to be added to the playlist, they were tagged on Instagram Stories.

How Faithful are you to HURTS? Well, the Faith Detection appwas able to connect fans to their Spotify accounts to display how faithful they were to the band. The most faithful fans – those who streamed the album – were displayed on a leaderboard. The world map depicted a broad overview of each fan’s location, emphasizing the band’s global fan base.

Due to travel restrictions imposed by COVID-19, live listening sessions for media partners weren’t an option for this release.  So the band and team had to get creative. They knew they wanted to provide a sensory experience for industry supporters and create a special moment for them to fully embrace and experience the album. In tandem with the artist team, The Orchard’s design team created an album playback website for listeners. This website went live at a certain time frame the week ahead of album release. The week prior, industry listeners were given a specially curated media pack. 

Case Study: HURTS “Faith”

The Orchard created a number of physical formats for the album release including a premium box set, 12” picture disc, 12” gatefold vinyl, and two cassettes. The vinyl hit #8 on the UK physical vinyl chart. To support these releases, Theo from the band used Instagram Live while signing the physical albums. 28,000 people tuned into that live stream. Facebook ads, using the Carousel and Collection ad features, drove engagement to the D2C store for exclusive bundles and signed products. 

Case Study: HURTS “Faith”

Results

  • Album landed #21 on the UK Album Charts and #1 Independent UK release
  • Album secured Top 10 position across GSA, with Germany at #9, Switzerland at #10, Austria at #8 
  • The album has over 5 million streams, with the videos for “Voices”, “Suffer”, “Redemption” and “Somebody” collectively at 7 million views
  • Drove over 26 million impressions and over 366k clicks across digital marketing 
  • 9% growth across each band member’s individual Instagram accounts
  • 16% growth across Spotify since the beginning of the campaign
  • Facebook/Instagram shopping collection ads drove traffic to D2C website, with over 8,000 clicks for the UK
  • Peak Viewership to Telegram channel in one day: 132,260 (Channel is not set to private) 
  • Peak Telegram Channel Users: 13,047
  • Average Telegram Messages Shared Per Month: 267,000
  • Peak Telegram Messages shared in a single day: 15,589
  • 5,313 Spotify pre-saves during The Golden Ticket campaign
  • Recognized as one of Music Ally’s Best Marketing Campaigns of 2020
  • Secured Exclusive Apple interview content piece, a first for the band
  • The physical vinyl product hit #8 on the UK physical vinyl chart 

View

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