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Case Study: How Believe Recordings UK helped launch Bastille - Dec 3, 2014

The Storming of Bastille

picture In our interview with Believe Recordings UK founder Stephen King, the CIO explained the reasons why he thinks his small label is much better at breaking young acts than the majors. In Case Study we detail the campaign mechanics of one the label’s first breakthroughs – and signings: Bastille.

British indie rock band Bastille are now a major international act with #1 UK album, Billboard Top 5 US single and Top 10 hits all across Europe under their belt. Although their mainstream breakthrough was aided and abetted by the major label might of Virgin/EMI, it was Believe Recordings UK’s sharp A&R skills that discovered the band at an early stage and their marketing prowess that played a crucial role in launching them and generating the major label excitement that led to their swift signing by Virgin.

As Believe founder Stephen King recounts in our recent interview, the label, working closely alongside manager Polly Comber of Black Fox Management, “ran a very strong social media campaign, helped fund the videos, manufactured CDs for them, and, most importantly, promoted them very heavily to all the digital services like iTunes and Spotify and Deezer … and gave them very high profile.”

When Believe began their campaign the band had released one single (Flaws/Icarus) in 2011 through the independent label Young And Lost Club and while there was a growing online interest there was no strategy or mailing to take advantage of it. The objective of the label was therefore to engage with the fanbase and manage their online presence in the build up to the November 2011 release of the follow up EP (Laura Palmer EP).

In terms of trying to establish their online community management and engage with their fanbase the label team:

  • Setup a customized Believe bandpage with free track tool to build the mailing list

  • Linked all channels to keep fans within Bastille’s online community and directed traffic to the bandpage/free track tool and iTunes pre-order link

  • Ran a Twitter competition to win tickets for the sold-out London show to drive Twitter followers and engagement

  • Planned a regular newsletter schedule

Following the optimization of Bastille’s online presence and the setup of the Believe band page the data generated included:

  • 3518 new Facebook ‘likes’

  • 1056 new Twitter followers

  • 8,280 visits to the Believe band page

  • 1217 emails collected

The schedule and results of the newsletter campaign are as follows:

Newsletter 1 03/11/2011
41% open rate. Spike in pre-orders, sales of Flaws, Believe band & YouTube views

Newsletter 2 22/11/2011
34% open rate. Sales spike for EP and ‘Flaws’ & Facebook ‘likes’

Newsletter 3 10/12/2011
27% open rate. Sales spike for EP and ‘Flaws’, Facebook ‘likes’ & YouTube views

Given the average open-rate for a music-related mailout is 13% the results were very promising and demonstrated the importance of a consistent newsletter campaign.

There was also a positive reaction to the campaign from the distributor sector:
  • EP was featured on the iTunes main homepage, music homepage, alternative homepage and ‘top new Single & EPs ‘ in UK and Canada

  • Set up a Spotify competition & exclusive stream in week prior to release: 2nd most tweeted album on Spotify that week

Despite being self-released, as both a digital download and on CDr, the EP managed to attract notable sales figures:

  • 572 units sold on release day (420 were pre-order sales)

  • 2,228 units sold in first week of release

  • Averaged 117 EP & single units sold per day since release date

  • #29 in iTunes album charts

  • #7 in iTunes alternative album charts

The EP proved a hugely significant early success for the group. They were signed to Virgin Records by A&R Nick Burgess (HQ interview) in the month following its release, in what was described by MusicWeek as a “hotly contested deal”.

Read On ...

* Interview with Believe Recordings UK founder Stephen King
* Interview with Bastille's A&R at Virgin, Nick Burgess


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