Great grassroots marketing and updating techniques from the past (that have been used previously by the band in their early days) by utilising new formats such as Drip.fm to drive and gather fans to a dedicated website.
Lojinx (UK/Europe) / Idlewild Recordings (North America/ROW)
Team members involved
Andrew Campbell – managing director, Lojinx
Jamie Kitman & Pete Smolin – management, The Hornblow Group USA
Felice Ecker & Sarah Avrin – US publicist, Girlie Action Media
Jesse Barnett – US radio promotion, Right Arm Resource
Jamie Danan & Terry Emm – UK PR, Cannonball PR
Rob Kerford – UK regional press, Sonic PR
Kieran Cullen & Martin Cook – UK radio promotion, All About Promo
Budget: Multiple cost centres – different in each label/territory
Audience demographic: 50% female / 50% male, North America / UK
Overview of campaign
In 2015, They Might Be Giants repurposed their ingenious Dial-A-Song concept and released a new song (and accompanying music video) every week of the year. The campaign has seen selected tracks featured on two full-length albums (Glean in April, Why? in November), with a third release planned for early 2016.
Originally launched in 1983 from John Flansburgh’s Brooklyn kitchen via a consumer answering machine, Dial-A-Song let listeners in on the latest and greatest from the band years before their career took off on a national level. The band’s groundbreaking service was free to all but later copied by major labels who unsuccessfully attempted to monetise the concept with copycat toll-call services for the likes of MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice.
For all of 2015, the band returned to their high-concept/no-budget idea via the web. New songs are delivered online every Tuesday to dialasong.com and the band’s bespoke iOS and Android mobile apps, in addition to YouTube and the usual social media, streaming and download platforms.
The band have also engaged their substantial fanbase directly by utilising Drip. fm to offer patrons weekly early access and occasional bonus material, all for a modest subscription fee.
In the US, the Dial-A-Song Radio Network sees a select group of 100+ college, community, and commercial terrestrial stations across the country premiere new Dial-A-Song tracks each week in advance of appearing online. The concept and creative vision for the campaign is entirely driven by the band themselves. Johns Linnell and Flansburgh not only maintain the high-quality musical output, but the duo also drive visual material by steering, commissioning (and occasionally creating) videos, artwork and other supporting design content.
Publicity teams in the US and UK take their lead from the band who control their own social media accounts to engage with fans and media directly. The two albums have served as impact dates for conventional promotional activity at radio and press; however, radio and online promotion and marketing has continued throughout the year to keep interest buoyant and to engage with fans both old and new with each new weekly song and video.
Results and key learnings
While keeping up with the band’s quantity of output is certainly a lot of work for all concerned, the resulting highlights include sessions for BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music, and consistently highly rated reviews both in print press and online.
Dial-A-Song has helped to keep the band front and center in the public eye all year long and has been particularly helpful in selling tickets to live concerts in all territories. TMBG have played sold-out shows across the world, including recent tours of the US and Australia, and the upcoming 2016 UK tour piggybacks on that success with extremely strong advance ticket sales.
Links and extra info
READ THE OTHER DIGITAL MUSIC MARKETING CASE STUDIES
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