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Freek Janssen

Published on

June 12, 2013


music, newsjacking, viral

The most impressive marketing campaign of 2013 in the music industry deserved a good newsjack.

And it got what it deserved; the French musician PV Nova uploaded his answer to Daft Punk’s smash hit ‘Get Lucky’ on YouTube just two days ago. It has already reached more than half a million views and 4,000 social media shares.

Impressive, right? It is what PR professionals are working on every day: spotting a hype, developing content that rides the wave of popularity, and creating online buzz around it. If there is any industry that knows how to do that well, it’s the music industry.

The hype

Without any doubt, Daft Punk’s new album Random Access Memories is the most hyped album of 2013 (which is quite remarkable for a band that has not produced an album since 2005).

The expectations for a new album were extremely high, making it easy for the band managed to create an enormous buzz with what you could call drip-feed marketing: releasing small bits of information bit by bit. It started with a single image on their Facebook page and website.

Gradually more information about their new project was released, including the names of contributors to their new album (Nile Rodgers and Pharell Williams, to name a few). By the time their first single Get Lucky was released, their entire fan base (and the rest of the world) received it with open arms. It topped the charts all over the world.

The newsjack

Only days after the release of Get Lucky, the first newsjacks appeared. One of the most popular ones are a video with legendary moves from the TV show Soul Train. But the video I’d like to share with you was produced in Daft Punk’s home country of France. The Evolution of Get Lucky is a chronologic cover that shows how the song would have sounded if it was produced in the 1920’s, 1930’s onwards until the 2020’s – each decade with its distinguishing sound.

Why this is so good

This video has all the elements of a brilliant newsjack.

  1. It’s timely: the whole world is still listening to Get Lucky
  2. It adds something to the original: although you might think that the song is very typically 2013, this video shows that the song could have been written in any moment in time. It just would have sounded different
  3. It’s relevant: Random Access Memories is like a trip through modern music, including elements from the sixties and seventies, combined with robotic music of the future. This is perfectly reflected in PV Nova’s video. One of the tracks on the album (Giorgio by Moroder) even mentions a project from the seventies that could have sounded exactly like that of PV Nova:

I wanted to do an album with the sound of the ’50s, the sound of the ’60s, of the ’70s and then have a sound of the future. And I said, “Wait a second…I know the synthesizer – why don’t I use the synthesizer which is the sound of the future?”

What PRs can learn from the music industry

The music industry has gone through some tremendous changes since the Nineties. Record sales have dropped dramatically, and the industry is still struggling to find new business models.

But when the pressure increases, creativity flourishes.

Every now and then, an Internet meme arises that fuels creative ideas. When Radiohead decided to release their new album In Rainbows (2007) on their own website and encourage fans to ‘pay what they wish‘, a lot of producers supported the band by making remixes of one of their songs. The international hit single Somebody That I Used To Know by Gotye (2011) was covered by many artists (like the one-guitar version by Walk Off The Earth we all saw on Facebook).

Recently Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe and the Harlem Shake inspired thousands of people around the world to record their own video parodies.

Music gets people excited, it makes their heart beat a little faster. The passion that musicians, producers and amateurs alike use in their creative responses to hypes, is something that will always inspire me to do the same.

Which is your favorite newsjack in music?

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