How Beach House Used a Viral Hit to Drive Momentum for Their New Release

March 21, 2022

The Beach House team at Sub Pop Records used Marquee – a full-screen, sponsored recommendation of an artist’s new release – to promote their new album and create a halo effect across their entire body of work.

Viral moments have a way of traveling far and wide, but the real win is turning that viral moment into a sustained success. Just ask Jon Strickland, VP of Sales at Sub Pop Records, and the team behind critically acclaimed indie band Beach House. After a surprise viral moment for the band’s 2015 “Space Song,” Strickland had a unique opportunity to build momentum for the band’s eighth studio album, Once Twice Melody.

In spring 2021, “Space Song” gained traction on social media as a way to show dramatic irony – emphasis on the dramatic. (“I believe the first [video featured] somebody who was crying,” says Strickland. “They spilled their milk while they were pouring cereal or something, and then they had this outsized reaction.”) The newfound audience who sought out Beach House after hearing “Space Song” had an appetite for the band’s surrealist sound. “It was an astonishing thing, and obviously it was a lot of new fans,” says Strickland. “A lot of younger fans… People heard the music and liked it, and wanted to know more about the band.”

When it was time to roll out the band’s latest album, Once Twice Melody, Strickland wanted to tap into that viral momentum to develop deeper fans of Beach House’s music – starting with their new release. The band chose a waterfall strategy for the new 18-track album, breaking it into four chapters rolled out over four months. The first chapter set the cinematic tone, much like the first scene of a film. “Artists like Beach House and [fellow Sub Pop artist] Father John Misty… they think in albums,” explains Strickland. Rolling it out in chapters “was a thematic thing that Beach House was attracted to.”

With so many new tracks and an audience that was "three times as big" as their last record, Strickland said the Beach House team needed a way to focus on specific audiences and encourage them to listen beyond the one song. When Beach House started rolling out the new album, Strickland used Marquee on the first two chapters (8 tracks total) to drive active, intentional streams from listeners with the potential to become bigger fans.

They ran campaigns to reach two core audiences: 1) lapsed listeners who hadn’t actively streamed Beach House in the last six months, and 2) casual listeners who had actively streamed their music in the last six months, but less than other listeners. With both audiences, they had the potential to reach some of the listeners who had streamed the band following the success of “Space Song,” which had gone viral more than six months earlier. “A lot of [the strategy for Marquee] was connecting that one-song audience with the wider catalog and the new music,” explains Strickland.

Beach House reactivated lapsed listeners with their new and old music in the U.S., and each lapsed listener who engaged with the Marquee averaged eight streams from the new release. 20% of the Marquee listeners also streamed from older releases, with an average of nine streams per listener.

In Canada, they targeted casual listeners, resulting in a 24% intent rate for the new release – meaning nearly one in four Marquee listeners saved or added a track to a personal playlist – and seven streams per listener on the band’s older releases.

“It’s just the easiest way,” says Strickland of reaching listeners with Marquee. “Someone gets a ping on their phone – ‘oh, it’s the new [Beach House].’ It’s so easy for them to act on that and discover the new music. I can’t think of an equivalent of it, really. Then, to have that halo effect [on the artists’ catalogs] – which is really just an added bonus that we’re seeing with these campaigns – is just fantastic.”

Following the success of the Beach House Marquee campaign, Strickland and the team at Sub Pop have decided to double down for their next artist’s new release – increasing their budgets as much as 500%. “For Father John Misty, we’ve allocated a much bigger Marquee budget,” says Strickland. “Our first Marquee is planned around a radio single coming at the beginning of March, ‘Goodbye Mr. Blue,’ and we’ll Marquee that. And we’ll probably Marquee the subsequent singles, up until the album. We’ve got, by far and away, the biggest budget that Sub Pop has allocated for Marquee on the basis of what we’ve seen with Beach House.”

The halo effect – where listeners who engage with a Marquee are 3x more likely to stream from your older releases – is of particular importance to Sub Pop. “We take a lot of pride in our catalog, and when we have a new record by Beach House or Father John Misty, we want to get new fans for those bands, and we want to connect them with those classic albums,” says Strickland. “That’s really what Sub Pop is about – trying to build the audience for these artists.”

Once Twice Melody is Beach House’s first No. 1 album on Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart, and has also gone on to reach No. 1 on their U.S. Top Rock and Alternative Albums chart.

Get Started with Marquee

We’re excited to share more updates as we continue to expand Marquee, which is now available to all eligible artists on U.S. teams. You can learn more in our Getting Started with Marquee guide and watch for new updates on our site.

If you're interested in using Marquee to target audiences in three dozen markets, including Brazil, France, Germany, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and you have an eligible new release, you can do so via the Spotify for Artists dashboard. See the complete Marquee targeting list here. If your team is based in the U.S. but you don't see the Campaigns tab, set your billing country to the U.S. to get added to the beta.

To target audiences in the above markets with assistance from our local representatives, submit your info here.

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