Music Ally’s 12 Days of Christmas 2023: behind the campaigns

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love sent me: seven swimming swans, kicking messy feet under the water as they glide calmly on it. Which in a meaning is exactly how Music Ally’s regular Behind The Campaigns feature works.

Journalist Eamonn Forde talks to label and management teams about their key music marketing campaigns: what they did, how well it worked and what they learned in the process.

So which case studies resonated the most with our readers this year? Here are the most popular features of Behind The Campaign. However, they are for Music Ally subscribers and thus sit behind our paywall. If you would like to sign up for a trial subscription to view our archives, click or tap here.

1. Ira Starr

Afrobeat singer Ira Starr released his debut album, 19 & Dangerous, in 2021 and began building a presence outside his home country of Nigeria, working with Mavin Records and Platoon to achieve this.

Krish Kudhail (Senior Artist Marketing Manager at Platoon) and Claudia Arach (head of streaming at Platoon) explained how TikTok was prioritized as a platform, why the deluxe reissue of 19 & Dangerous gave the team new opportunities (and new material) to promote her, how the track “Rush” helped her break into new markets, where used data to attract DSPs, how key features on other artists’ albums expanded her audience, and why the domino effect saw her being adopted by a growing number of platforms.

Read the full case study here.

2. SZA

SZA She released SOS, her second album, in December 2022. It came five years after Ctrl, her debut album. Say Geeta (Marketing Manager and A&R at RCA in the UK) and Luke Smith (Digital Marketing Manager at RCA in the UK) explained how the album came about after so long, when they were able to capitalize on the fact that a demo of lead single ‘Shirt’ had already gone viral on TikTok three years earlier.

They also talked about why audience segmentation was able to focus things in building the album, how they created her TikTok profile (even though she wasn’t on TikTok), what happened when “Kill Bill” became an “unexpected” follow-up single, and why the lack of a physical product at launch did not detract from the album’s initial massive impact.

Read the full case study here.

3. Some kind of sloppy

Indian singer and songwriter Kind of sad was discovered through her covers of popular Bollywood songs on Instagram Reels, quickly building a strong following on social media and attracting the attention of Big Bang Music.

Harshit Agarwal (who heads A&R at Big Bang Music) and Raghav Mittal (head of Big Bang Music) explained how they worked with Anumita to capitalize on her growth on social media, why the hiatus of Bollywood productions during the pandemic ended up opening up opportunities for artists like her, how a wave of new apps, Moj in particular, quickly filled the void when TikTok was banned in India and helped shine a light on musicians, and where a Pepsi Black ad marked a new approach to brand marketing in India.

Read the full case study here.

4. Interpol

American indie rock band Interpol released The Other Side Of Make-Believe, their seventh studio album, on July 15, 2022. It was their first new album in four years and the campaign was focused on reintroducing the band and also reawakening lapsed listeners .

Asmarina Zerabrook (Senior Product Manager at Beggars Group), Pablo Duzoglu (Head of Marketing for Beggars US), Matt Henry (Head of Marketing ex-US at Beggars Group) and Alex Keag-Davies (General Manager of Matador Records in the UK) explained how they defined the aesthetic of the campaign and why a slow teaser campaign was followed by the release of two singles in quick succession.

They also talked about where the pop-ups were used in the band’s biggest cities, how they were set up on TikTok and why it became a central part of their marketing, and why this new album campaign was able to co-exist with the 20th anniversary campaign surrounding their debut album (which came a month after the new album was released).

Matthew Gavrich (Director of US Streaming at Beggars Group) talked specifically about the streaming side of the campaign, how DSPs were targeted, where fans were segmented, and why old and new music were being pushed at the same time.

Read the full case study here.

5. Shinedown

American hard rock band Shinedown released Planet Zero, their seventh studio album, in June 2022. To build their profile in the UK, Blackstar Agency was brought in to explore ways to connect them to new audiences.

Breiner Baptista (Head of Campaign Marketing at Blackstar) and Evie Ong (campaign manager at Blackstar) explained how the album was created, where the green initiatives were adopted (which coincide with the band’s wider charity work) and why mirror posters were used to connect the digital world with the real world.

They also talked about how a music site tour in London formed the basis of the overall social media content strategy, where a dedicated Decoder app brought the album concept to life, and how TikTok and YouTube Shorts became key to attracting a younger audience .

Read the full case study here.

Thanks to Eamonn for his hard work this year. Now check out the rest of our Christmas 2023 recaps.

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