The U.K. alternative rock band and their label, Dirty Hit, used Marquee and Canvas to create an immersive experience for rock fans on Spotify
With hits under their belt like “Don’t Delete the Kisses” and “Bros,” rave reviews from publications like NME, plus a Mercury Prize for their 2017 sophomore album, Visions Of A Life, Wolf Alice is one of the most celebrated rock bands of the past ten years. So when the band and their label, Dirty Hit, were strategizing the release of their third studio album, Blue Weekend, their goal was to make a splash like they never had before and make sure that Wolf Alice’s name and music were ubiquitous when the record dropped in June of this year. “After winning the Mercury prize and just having such huge critical acclaim, you feel like you have to level up,” says Perdi Higgs, Streaming & Digital Promotions Manager at Dirty Hit. In this instance, “leveling up” meant having a sharper focus on streaming success and fan engagement on Spotify to drive the kind of immersed listening rock fans are known for.
Higgs turned to Spotify for Artists tools Canvas and Marquee for a one-two punch that would help create the perfect storm of activity around the release of Blue Weekend, and drive listeners to engage more deeply with the band’s music over the long term.
“A lot of our strategy was making sure that, from before we even launched the new music, we were using the tools to re-engage the fanbase and help drive followers.” Leading up to the album’s release, they used Canvas to tease new songs by populating Wolf Alice’s back catalog with new imagery. Later they created Canvases for each of the songs on the new album.
“An engaged fanbase is one who will embrace what you’re releasing in its full form,” explains Higgs. “They take the time to understand the album, and Blue Weekend was tied to its visuals. We released an official video for each track on the album, which was replicated on-platform with 11 unique Canvases for each song. We wanted to create an experience by which this fanbase was engaged, because they were taking in the whole album in all forms while consuming it.”
With the audience primed for Blue Weekend, it was time to make noise on the big day. Dirty Hit began their U.K. Marquee campaign on June 4, the album’s release date, notifying fans that the anticipated new album had finally arrived that Friday. “It was about, in that first week, having everyone see Wolf Alice everywhere,” says Higgs. “[We wanted people to] hear them on the radio, see them on Spotify, watch them on the TV, see their billboards in London, etc. For us, Marquee was not only a way of getting an audience, but it was also making a statement.”
The combination of strategically engaging the audience before release and using Marquee to make sure awareness was high when it dropped made for great results, specifically, an average of 32 streams per listener. In fact, 35.8% of Spotify listeners who saw the Marquee went on to stream Blue Weekend within two weeks. Fans weren’t simply interested, but also invested in this music. “We were really impressed with the results in comparison to other [promotional] platforms,'' says Higgs. “That’s such an amazing thing to see because it shows that people are consuming it fully, and people are consuming it with patience.”
Their Marquee campaign showed positive results, not only in release-day fan engagement, but also in developing the loyal fan base Dirty Hit aimed for; 34% of listeners who saw the Marquee saved or added a track from the album to a playlist (what we refer to as “intent rate”) — another telltale sign that they had reached the right listeners which was a win for the band, the label, and Higgs: ”While the expectation is that rock and alternative aren’t associated so much with streaming, to me, they have some of the most loyal, engaged, wonderful fans out there, and I think this has been a really nice education in that.”
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