Marie Ulven is as ambitious as she is talented. Under the moniker, girl in red, the 22-year old singer-songwriter and producer has gone from bedroom pop musician in her native Norway to international indie phenomenon in the five years since the release of her emotive breakout hit “i wanna be your girlfriend,” which boasts over 180 million streams on Spotify to date.
In a recent interview announcing her inclusion in Spotify’s RADAR program, she makes her career goal quite clear: “Taking over the world! That’s what I’m looking forward to. Having my music in people’s ears — that’s like the coolest thing ever. [First] RADAR, then world domination!” Though the world domination part sounds like something a supervillain might say, girl in red’s aspirations are really the same as any artist who pours their heart and soul into their music — she wants to be heard by as many people as possible. Her team at AWAL have committed to helping her achieve this goal: “We want to make her into the biggest rockstar of her generation,'' says Jacqueline Rossi, a Senior Director on AWAL’s Global Commercial Partnerships team. “I think people gravitate towards her music because it is so honest, and she writes and produces almost everything herself.” In her RADAR mini doc, girl in red went further to describe her career goals, “I want to create the biggest mosh pit in the world — and I want to be in the middle [of it].”
After cultivating a fanbase over the past few years with hit singles and EPs, girl in red finally released her debut full-length album, if i could make it go quiet on Apr. 30, bringing her one step closer to making that metaphorical mosh pit a reality. In planning her release strategy, the AWAL team leveraged Marquee’s recent international expansion to run a multi-market campaign — one that launched on the album’s release day in Australia and New Zealand, and another in the U.S. and Canada a week later for a coordinated “one-two punch” of on-platform promotion.
“We were trying to make as much noise as possible from the moment the album was released," says Mary Vardouniotis, a representative from AWAL Australia. “We were aiming for a Top 10 album in Australia. We wanted to ensure that fans were aware the record was out from the onset and with that knowledge, they’d go back and listen during that week.” AWAL’s strategy paid off. Not only did listener conversion rates reach 17.6% in Australia and 18.6% in New Zealand, but the team also achieved its charting goal.
In the U.S., they took a different approach. Rossi and girl in red’s team at AWAL sought to create a release moment that capitalized on the recent visibility she got from Spotify initiatives like RADAR. AWAL ran the U.S. campaign a week after their release date because they wanted to, according to Rossi, “... give people an opportunity to discover the album through [our] release-week [marketing] activity and then, hopefully, get another wave of people [we] didn’t reach in those marketing efforts.” To enable this strategy, they targeted two segments of her audience — recently interested and casual listeners. “Recently interested [listeners] specifically to get to those people who discovered her through RADAR or the new [terrestrial] radio campaign, and then casual [listeners], because we’re always looking for ways to turn the casual fans into more lean-in listeners.”
Despite the differences in the regional campaign strategies, audiences across the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand showed intent to keep streaming — after seeing the Marquee, over 42% of listeners saved a track from the album or added it to their playlist. “I think these are some of the highest intent rates I’ve seen on any Marquee campaign,” says Rossi. “Getting one stream or a couple streams is great, but knowing that they’re enjoying the music, and saving it and adding it to their playlists … we know how valuable that is. It’s great to see that intent rate.”
In an attention economy where awareness is everything, Rossi sees Marquee as a powerful tool for converting listeners into big fans: “People need to be served content more than once to establish familiarity [with an artist] — specifically, the casual fans. They might not think, ‘Oh, does she have an album? Does she have something else?’ I recognize, as a consumer, how valuable it is to get that [Marquee] notification, right there when you’re ready to go and listen to music. You don’t have to do anything else besides click.” With Marquee as a key component of a holistic marketing approach, girl in red’s goal of “world domination” doesn’t seem far-fetched. In the near future, the most common answer to the question “do you listen to girl in red?” will be a resounding “yes” anywhere in the world.
The Marquee beta continues to expand globally, so follow along on our site for the latest updates. If you’re interested in using Marquee to target audiences in the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand, submit your information here to book a campaign through a Spotify representative. In the U.S., we’re gradually rolling out a new campaign management tool in Spotify for Artists. If your team is based in the U.S., set your billing country to the U.S. to get added to the beta in the coming months.