Thinking outside the box: What you can learn from these digital music campaigns

Learning from genius social campaigns and marketing tactics by musicians

Published by 

Alexis Pratsides


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From Ozzy Ozbourne biting off bat heads to U2’s music being stuck in everyone’s iPhone; the music industry, pandemic aside, has never seemed short of wild and original ways to steal the spotlight and make headlines when promoting new releases.

Whether or not these ingenious stunts came directly from the quirky minds of the artists themselves or were tactically orchestrated by cunning marketers in meeting rooms, the results are the same and the success is undeniable. 

Now, we’re not saying we should all be wearing meat dresses like Gaga or get our business logo tattooed on our foreheads, but…

It is clear: in the ever saturated digital market place, thinking outside the box might just be the thing your product needs to help break out and reach new levels of engagement.   

Could do with some inspiration? Let’s take a look at two of the most original and digitally savvy music campaigns of recent years, and explore how using the platforms of today’s consumer helped them get closer to their target audience. 

Radiohead: Let’s start afresh

A new year, a new you, a new album — so why not a whole new social media presence? That’s what Radiohead must have thought when deleting their entire feed right before the launch of their 2016 album, A Moon Shaped Pool

Known for their treasure hunt tactics—from sending their fans secret postcards to unexpectedly dropping a single gig date—Radiohead proceeded to send their fans into a frenzy by deleting their online presence ahead of their latest album release, including entries on the band’s official website as well as the members’ personal social feeds. The sudden absence of material spun fans and media, who had all been waiting for a clue for over five years, into a spiral. 

After five days of online nonexistence (and building suspense), the band finally broke the silence by posting three posts in one day. With the entire world now fully glued to their devices, eagerly awaiting any strain of news, the strategy helped the band prove the power of silence. Viewers were later drip fed two short animation videos before finally receiving the first new single — and as one would imagine, it was received with immense anticipation. 

So what can we learn from this? Well, in a world where we so heavily rely on social media to tell our own, unique story, this is a bold example of how the dynamic nature of social media can be of benefit to your brand. It’s a clear reminder that what is on top of the pile matters most, and whilst what’s buried beneath the surface might help give your company vision depth, creating a clean slate to springboard new campaign ideas might just be what’s needed to really catch the eye of your target audience. 

DJ Khaled: Don’t stress yourself, meme yourself

It wasn’t until DJ Khaled unlocked the key to Snapchat success that he was able to fully unleash his business potential and become the Grammy-nominated artist and entertainment mogul he is today. While our online experiences are increasingly tormented by insidious advertising tactics, DJ Khaled opted for authenticity to break down the fourth wall between being a superstar and a best friend to his fans.

The DJ’s unique and humorous approach to motivational speaking (sometimes uploading up to four stories within the space of an hour) is a masterclass in catchphrase creation and funny philosophies. But it’s not just fun and games: the social strategy has provided the artist with a new level of fame as his memes (and, therewith, his brand) Major Key, Bless Up and Special Cloth Alert will all forever be a part of the internet. 

This overlap between online personality and musician is a major key in DJ Khaled’s success story, enabling him to build long-lasting relationships directly with his fans. Having crawled out of a corner so many artists find themselves in (always asking from customers rather than giving), DJ Khaled is now in the uniquely free position to express himself the way that he wants to. He took his Snapchat story and turned it into his business. 

So, where does this leave you?

Whether you’re in fashion, beauty, or search marketing, these great examples prove that viewing your audience from a new angle can significantly help to get their attention. As long as you keep innovating, it’s much more likely that you’ll keep people listening.

There is a plethora of marketing dos and dont’s out there, but why not approach your marketing as if it were jazz? You don’t need any rules for it to sound good! 

Created by

Alexis Pratsides

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