In a time when digital downloads and physical sales split the market in half, artists can be overwhelmed by the myriad of routes they are encouraged to take in order to build a brand and recruit new loyal fans. New Jersey’s The Gaslight Anthem is just one example of a band that has got it right.
This gruff punk rock band that originated in New Brunswick, with a sound influenced by the likes of Bruce Springsteen and various Motown groups, has been steadily rising in popularity since launching in 2006, back when they played mostly to local fans. On the cusp of releasing their fourth album Handwritten, the band is successfully taking advantage of several opportunities for exposure and can boast in excess of 600,000 declared fans to date as well as having been played close to 20 million times on Last.fm.
Several industry experts speaking at this week’s New Music Seminar in New York City highlighted the importance of authentic and direct fan engagement online when building your brand. For instance, the band used Facebook and Twitter to invite fans to participate in the shooting of the music video for their newly released single “45” at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park. The band also recently published a behind-the-scenes look at what went into making the album.
While a front page spotlight on Vevo as part of an exclusive launch of their music video may have helped give them a boost, they saw more than 130,000 views, a 3,500 percent increase in comparison to last month. Close to 50,000 people were talking about The Gaslight Anthem on Facebook this week, and their Wikipedia page has been viewed a similar number of times in the last thirty days.
But the four boys from New Jersey are not forgetting to take the traditional route - they are dedicated in their touring efforts. Back in the US for less than a day since playing dates across Europe and a string of small Scandinavian festivals such as Hultsfred in Sweden and Norwegian Wood in Norway, the band is already preparing for performances in Atlantic City this weekend and have tour dates scheduled throughout the summer. All that hard work pays off, they have more than 7000 Twitter followers in the UK alone, about 60 percent as many as they have across the entire United States.
In addition, an upcoming live appearance on David Letterman was announced for late June. Despite the ever-growing importance of social media, radio spins influence sales and television appearances remain the best way to get widespread exposure across the country with a single performance.
More music is being produced today than ever before. In order to have a successful career within the industry, a persistent, multifaceted approach is integral. It takes time for music to make it big - Gotye’s Somebody That I Used to Know was released in Australia and New Zealand in July 2011, but reached its peak in YouTube views with 3,5 million on a single day this May.
So keep on trucking boys.
Photo Credit: Screen grab Vevo
Liv Buli is the resident data journalist for music analytics company Next Big Sound. Buli is a graduate of New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and her work has appeared in Newsweek Daily Beast, The New York Times Local East Village, Westchester Magazine and more.