Campaign: Web 'label' showcases unsigned bands

Independant artists get a boost from 7 Digital's recent digital campaign 'From bedroom to billboard'

Campaign From bedroom to billboard
Client 7 Digital
PR team Fuse PR
Timescale April-May 06
Budget £8,000

7 Digital works with record labels, broadcast content owners, retailers and brands to help them sell digital content over the web or on mobile phones. Its clients include Universal, EMI, Five, Warner Music, MTV and Sony BMG.

Earlier this year it branched out and launched its own music website - indiestore.com. The portal allows unsigned artists and independent labels to showcase their talent and build their own download sites.

Not only does it give unsigned bands a potential income stream, but the sales of their tracks make them eligible for download chart positions in 22 countries, including the UK and US.

Objectives
To launch Indiestore in the UK and create demand from unsigned and independent artists. To get 400 bands from a broad range of genres signed up in its first month.

Strategy and Plan
The campaign was designed to show how Indiestore could help artists make the leap from rehearsing in their bedrooms to securing a chart position, without being tied to a record label. Ideally, Fuse wanted a band to secure a top-ten hit through Indiestore sales alone.

It settled on an up-and-coming group called Paris Motel, and involved them in a documentary-style music video to issue on launch day.

The goal of the video was to illustrate how easy it is for artists to set up their own download site, and the benefits it would bring. Fuse partnered with production company Online CC and worked on the final edit, to ensure the right messages were conveyed and that the video captured the essence of Indiestore.

To attract artists from a broad range of musical genres - not just indie - Fuse worked with 7 Digital to identify a range of potential acts that could serve as ‘showcase bands' on the website's homepage.

The news angle was that showcased artists could control their own destiny by bypassing traditional record companies and going straight to market with their music. Fuse conducted a mass sell-in to national, consumer and trade press, offering interviews with Indiestore spokespeople and bands.

Measurement and Evaluation
Fuse secured a live interview for 7 Digital managing director Ben Drury on Sky News, while other press coverage included reports in The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, Music Week and Future Music magazine.

On the web, coverage included BBC News Online and trade sites paid­content.org and diggnation.org.

Results
Six-hundred-and-eighty bands registered for Indiestore within 48 hours of launch, with 1,266 bands signed up within four days. The site is now home to more than 3,000 bands from 65 countries.

Within 48 hours there were 40 pages matching an ‘Indiestore' search on Google, and Indiestore received more than 600 ‘diggs' - messages of approval - on diggnation.org, making it one of the most popular sites of its kind. The only missing result is a band achieving a chart hit through Indie­store.

Chris Barter, staff writer at Future Music, says: ‘We get millions of stories like this. Our usual reaction is "Yeah, whatever…" but this one stood out. It seemed like the easiest way to get into the charts ever - no middle man. The only catch was the £75 subscription.'

SECOND OPINION, Jonathan Hughes, joint MD of Golin Harris, which helped launch eMusic.com

Everyone's bored with hearing about so-called internet phenomena like The Arctic Monkeys, Sandi Thom and Gnarls Barkley, so this campaign is not as easy a sell as it may sound.

However, the fact that down­loads from indiestore.com are eligible for chart positions added a great twist to the undiscovered band story and helped it stand out from the crowd.

On the downside, the campaign targeted a young, internet-savvy, music-loving audience, and the tactics and media targets were somewhat traditional. It is also unclear how these tactics were designed to link together to drive band registrations. In a campaign such as this, I would have expected a greater online focus targeting social networking sites and including viral marketing.

The idea of a fly-on-the-wall video demonstrating how easy it is to use Indiestore makes sense, but product videos are nothing new and perhaps a chance was missed to do something more interactive and engaging. 

That said, one of the biggest mistakes our industry makes is to assume that PR is purely about media relations. But 7 Digital and Fuse PR had clear objectives for the number of sign-ups - having created more than three times that number through the PR campaign alone is impressive.

It will be great to see if 7 Digital can hit its ultimate objective of getting one of its ‘unknown' bands a top-ten hit in the UK.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.