A great campaign that tapped into what everyone experiences when living in LA – bad traffic – which thus ensured proper impact for the music while reaching new fans. Plus this was just one part of a wider campaign that drew on Google Maps, BuzzFeed and the annotations on Genius.

Note, the text below was provided by the team behind the campaign.


Downtown Records / BBDO NYC

Team members involved

Josh Deutsch – CEO, Downtown Records
Greg Hahn – chief creative officer NYC, BBDO

Campaign breakdown

Budget: £2k – £5k
Audience demographic: 45% female / 55% male, age 18-30, US

Overview of campaign

Yacht are a conceptual pop band based in LA. In 2015, they released their fifth studio album, I Thought The Future Would Be Cooler, through Downtown Records which was a sweeping and visionary pop critique of the 21st century.

For the launch of the single, ‘LA Plays Itself’, the band wanted to release it in a way that was directly tied to the city of LA, so we embarked on an idea to make LA, the city, the play button. It was simple – when LA traffic was bad, the track unlocked. Thus, in a way, a bustling LA automatically hits play.

In order to do this, we created a mobile web experience that bound LA traffic patterns to the release of the track via Uber. When traffic was bad, Uber prices surged more than 1.1x the normal rate and the music video unlocked. When traffic was really bad, surge prices doubled 2x and a remix by Darq E Freaker played.

Fans could follow Yacht’s Twitter account for automatic updates when Uber prices surged in LA and the track or remix unlocked. By bonding the track to allow LA traffic patterns to literally play the song we were able to connect the city to the music that inspired it.

Results and key learnings

On the day of the launch, media coverage expanded far beyond music blogs garnering coverage on every major music and technology site including Pitchfork, BuzzFeed, The Verge, Engadget, LA Times, Gizmodo and Stereogum earning ‘LA Play’s Itself’ more than 15m unpaid media impressions.

Within two days, the video had exceeded 100k views and the site was shared more than 5,000 times across social media. By the end of the week, album pre-orders had increased by 23%. And even Uber loved it, contacting the band just hours after the launch, asking to collaborate.

The key takeaway from this campaign showed that, in order to make an impact with releases, you need to create a moment that is inherently interesting to people who are not already in the artist’s ecosystem by creating campaigns that are social by design.

Links and extra info

‘LA Plays Itself’ official music video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VaAqe5nMAuA
How ‘LA Plays Itself’ surge pricing works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tl13yfNTuJ4
Buy I Thought The Future Would Be Cooler: http://smarturl.it/YACHTfuture
Stream I Thought The Future Would Be Cooler: http://smarturl.it/YACHTfutureSpotify
Yacht site: http://teamyacht.com/

Music Ally runs popular courses on digital marketing. Click here for more information on our latest courses.


£0 – £500 budget

Asian Dub Foundation
Taylor Swift
Vild $mith

£2k – £5k budget

Chemical Brothers
George Ezra
Lord of the Mics
Ludovico Einaudi
Tove Styrke

£5k – £10k budget

Bob Dylan
David Bowie
James Morrison
Max Richter
Mysteryland USA
Tove Lo

£10k – £25k budget

Bring Me The Horizon
Lionel Richie
One Direction
Raleigh Ritchie

£25k+ budget

Elvis Presley
Frank Carter
Iron Maiden
Jess Glynne
New Order
Years & Years

Budget not provided

They Might Be Giants

EarPods and phone

Tools: platforms to help you reach new audiences

Tools :: Wyng

Through Music Ally’s internal marketing campaign tracking, we’ve recently discovered an interesting website by the…

Read all Tools >>

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *