Apple Collaboration, SXSW Success, And Why We Have Our Eye On Elliphant
If you were watching the Grammy broadcast earlier this year, that may very well have been the first time you ever laid eyes on Elliphant.
A lot of people noticed Elliphant that night. Not because she performed at the award show — she didn’t — but because she featured in Apple’s iPad spot alongside two other up-and-coming acts: Gaslamp Killer and Riton. During a night saturated with appearances from major artists like Rihanna, Katy Perry, Hozier, and more, the young Swedish artist stole a sliver of spotlight with the music-forward advertisement.
Elliphant first appeared on the Next Big Sound chart in September 2014.
At the time, the likelihood that she would hit the Billboard 200 within the next year was about 27%, and has been hovering around an average of 28% ever since. This is a strong score for an artist still defined as “promising,” with less than 100,000 Facebook page likes, 16,000 Twitter Twitter followers, and 26,000 Instagram followers.
The iPad spot generated a ton of buzz, in part because this major brand had chosen to work with smaller artists. It featured the three of them using the device to communicate and collaborate on a remix of Elliphant’s track “All Or Nothing.” Several months later, the track is still one of her most popular records to date. Last week she saw more than 20,000 YouTube detection video views for the track, compared to about 15,000 for “Only Getting Younger.”
The campaign also led to a big social boost for Elliphant. In the month leading up to the awards, she had been averaging about 21 new Twitter followers daily. That night alone she added 22x that, and the effect lingered for several days following. She also experienced a lift across Facebook, Instagram, and a high number of Wikipedia page views as a result.
The spot itself stands apart from your standard brand/artist endorsement deal, a fact that is reflected in its performance on YouTube (the spot attracted about half a million views within three days.), and the high amount of social buzz for both the brand and involved artists.
Not long after, Elliphant made her way down to Austin for SXSW. Off the back of her showcases (among them a performance at the Pandora Discovery Den) she saw a 135% increase in new Instagram followers, a 230% lift in Twitter mentions, and about 3,500 visits to her Wikipedia page.
More than 1.1 million YouTube detections in the U.S. in the past three months is an increase of 15% compared to the three months prior. She resonates well with male millennials, and her strongest social platform is probably Instagram; with a fairly moderate 26,000 followers, she received more than 120,000 likes on content in the past month.
Positive and sustained growth in numbers across networks, as well as a highly engaged following, indicates that Elliphant is indeed a rising star.
Describing Elliphant’s sound poses somewhat of a predicament — it is a mélange of hip-hop, R&B, and electronic. But she’s young, fresh, and in working with her, Apple may have taken a risk, but it is paying off. The young artist is growing rapidly, and expanding her fan base particularly in the U.S. (approximately 50% of her Twitter mentions in the past month came from the States, 7x the number of mentions from home in Sweden).
Once she reaches mainstream, the brand will have bet on her early, and played a major role in introducing her to new audiences — audiences that she needs to reach at this critical stage in her career. As these types of partnerships become more and more ubiquitous it is becoming clear that the brands and bands that are willing to take risks, and a creative approach to collaboration, will stand out as leaders in the market.
This article originally appeared on Forbes.com.
Liv Buli is the resident data journalist for music analytics company Next Big Sound. She takes a data-driven perspective to covering the ins and outs of the music industry. Buli is a graduate of New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and her work has appeared in Newsweek Daily Beast, Billboard, Hypebot and more.