While the IFPI and RIAA might have pointed to YouTube as the cause of many of the record industry’s recent revenue woes, its marketing power remains undimmed. Plus, as Swedish band The Royal Concept have found, it can be used to make traditional media sit up and pay attention. Tove Blum, promotion manager (local) at Sony Music Entertainment Sweden, explains why the band worked with a Swedish YouTuber and how the impact of this meant they were able to get on TV shows and news outlets that were previously inaccessible. In a market where many presume Spotify is the only game in town, especially for young listeners, YouTube is proving incredibly powerful in giving campaigns real momentum.
Making YouTube the story and the media angle
The Royal Concept had their breakthrough with a song called ‘On Our Way’ in 2013 and their EP [ ‘Smile’ ] was released in autumn 2015. The band were going on tour for two weeks after the EP [and so were not available for promo] so I started to book print, online and radio interviews. But I also wanted to work the EP in another way. I decided to team up with YouTubers. I did this because it was really hard to get the media’s attention here in Sweden. It’s difficult to get promo coverage for Swedish bands unless they are really big.
The Royal Concept are big in Europe but in Sweden we need to work with their music here. I wanted to reach out to people who were between 14 and 25 years old. I also wanted to increase The Royal Concept’s following on social media. I felt that if I teamed up with YouTubers, I could reach that demographic.
We worked with one – a famous local YouTuber called Antonia [Antonia ‘Anty’ Johnson]. She was talking about music, make up and travelling on her YouTube channel – that was her focus. In the beginning, I wanted to team up with one of the biggest YouTubers in Sweden, but they weren’t able to do this. Then I heard about this other YouTuber [Antonia]. She was big at the time, but now she is one of the biggest.
We went to New York together as the band was touring the US at the time. When we started the journey, she had 200k followers on Instagram. Now she has around 282k.
I sent her some music but she already knew the band from before. Her sister’s boyfriend was a big fan but she thought this would be a fun thing to do. She had never done anything like this before but she knew the band from before and she loved their song so she was thrilled to be involved in the campaign.
Building content on YouTube and social media
Antonia was doing video diaries and interviews. We started with a live video from Webster Hall [New York] where the band were playing. Then we did a video from the tour bus. At the same time that she was recording the videos, she was live streaming via Periscope. She was also using Snapchat during it.
She belongs to a network called Splay with a number of YouTubers and they have a connection with YouTube . She was shooting all the footage herself.
“She made three videos in New York and live streamed through Periscope four times. She also posted pictures on Instagram and used Snapchat all the way through it.”
During this time, followers of the band’s Instagram account increased by 12%. On Facebook, their followers went up 6%.
We released the single ‘Smile’ three weeks after this trip. She filmed the videos at the start of November and then uploaded them to YouTube two weeks later.
Her followers loved it. They were commenting on her posts and started following The Royal Concept. She also ran a competition to win tickets to the band’s show in Stockholm.
She told her followers to listen to the band in the videos and she put annotations [to hear their music] on the YouTube videos. When she prompted her followers to listen to the album, it went up by thousands of plays [on Spotify].
They also worked a lot with Instagram. They have just started their own Snapchat account as they saw the impact of Antonia’s Snapchat. She gave them tips on what to do and what not to do.
She is very spontaneous and very happy in her posts. She told them to be themselves and to get to know their followers. When you are recording yourself, you need to think of your followers as your friends.
The knock-on effect of YouTube
It was about the brand awareness and we wanted the Swedish people to discover this band. Of course we wanted to increase the plays on Spotify, but we will work more directly with Spotify when the album comes out. The album is expected in the summer, but there is no confirmed date yet.
“This was all done as a way to promote the band as traditional media wasn’t accessible.”
This has raised their profile and had a knock-on effect where traditional media are covering them. Before they went to the US, no TV shows wanted to book them. The media like The Royal Concept, but it is difficult to book promo spots for bands. But when we did this campaign, the media saw the effect of social media.
Thanks to the YouTube collaboration, we managed to get a feature on the homepage of Aftonbladet.se, the biggest newspaper in Sweden. We also saw an increase in radio interviews. We got them booked as the musical act on a TV show [ Skavlan , with 2.8m viewers] and we would never have got the opportunity to do that before this collaboration. It opened their eyes to what is happening.
If you want to reach the 14-25 demographic, you have to reach out to YouTubers or vloggers. They don’t watch TV or listen to the radio that much. They are also listening to music mostly on YouTube. More than on Spotify.
A model for the future
I would do something like this again for more of my artists because it had so much impact and it helped us to reach
out to people we don’t normally reach out to. In this case, it was exactly in the age bracket we wanted to reach out to. I would definitely do this again.
It has also helped us so much to get the media’s attention. It was a really good thing to do for us.
When we got the TV spots and radio interviews [off the back of the media attention around the campaign], we started to get emails from people aged from 30 to 60 and they loved the band. I think we are on a really good trajectory right now as we are reaching all ages. 🙂
HOW THE CAMPAIGN IMPACTED
The Royal Concept take over on Sony’s Instagram
(Four posts and one video in one week = 877 likes, 28 comments)
Recording YouTube video #2 – TRC live at Webster Hall
Live streaming Periscope while soundchecking before gig (27k viewers, 14k interactions)
Pictures + videos from soundcheck on Stories/Snapchat (50k views) Live streaming Periscope from gig (21k viewers, 8k interactions) Pictures + videos from gig on Stories/Snapchat x 6 (355k views)
Recording YouTube video #1 – on tour with TRC Livestreaming Periscope from the tour bus
(35k viewers, 18k interactions)
Pictures + videos on Snapchat (170k views) TRC Instagram post (465 likes, 5 comment)
Post a TRC picture on Instagram (11,555 likes, 37 comments)
YouTube video #1 – on tour with TRC
YouTube video #2 – TRC live at Webster Hall
1,100 + likes
YouTube video – preparation for the “On tour with TRC” video
65,000 + views
YouTuber hosting competition on YouTube with tickets to TRC gig in Stockholm
In total we had 128 people who participated in the competition.