Kate Voegele played tonight in London. Inspired by excited tweets from the gig I decided to share a Let’s Learn From experience from last May, when Kate released her third album Gravity Happens.
The release took me by surprise. I had not expected to be so drawn into a release day buzz, but with everything going on I could not help it. Here are four points from my observations of awesome community involvement around the album release.
Lesson #1: Don’t be afraid of fans hearing music before the release
Kate gave many songs as previews before the album was released. I had been listening to at least 3 full songs before the release date of May 17th.
The album went all the way to #10 on iTunes charts right on the release day. We can see that such generosity in previews did not put off the fans from buying the music. In stead it feels like it helped create excitement towards the release and so encouraged to buy. After all, we rarely buy albums we haven’t heard anything of yet.
Lesson #2: Relate? Tag yourself.
About a week before the release Kate Voegele’s facebook page’s album “Gravity Happens” got its first song lyric photos. They are beautiful like cover booklet pages. And each one’s caption said that if you relate to the lyrics, tag yourself in it. Throughout the week more songs were added so that a little after the album release all the song lyrics were in the album.
It’s so simple, yet genius because:
- It’s the booklet many of us most miss from CDs, when we buy albums digitally.
- It built up excitement about the album as the release date was approaching.
- Tagging illustrates and supports a sense of belonging to the songs
- Tagging is also the best way I know to get something spread easily on Facebook.
Lesson #3: Share the excitement in real time
The album was released at midnight on May 17 and right then Kate held “a Twitter Party” answering to questions with #gravityhappens hashtag. First tweet after announcing that the party had started was that the album was now released on iTunes. Then she answered questions ending the Q&A with announcement of an online release party the next evening right before her song was to be played at One Tree Hill’s season finale.
I was asleep during the release moment’s fun, but waking up in the morning and opening twitter I couldn’t help but be drawn into the celebratory mood. Over the course of the day the Online party got sold out a few times and extra tickets were added. All of it built wonderfully towards the evening.
Lesson #4: Celebrate the release with an online party/chat/gig
If you’re not merely a local act, you most likely can’t host a release party where everyone has a fair chance of making it. So why not take it online, so that even those who can’t physically come to where you are can feel included? If you do have a physical release gig, could you live stream it? Or spare 20 minutes to do a chat, Q/A or anything with the fans online! It’s best to start a new chapter with whole community feeling appreciated.
Kate used StageIt for the “party”. And I must say the concept was a positive surprise. You need tickets to attend, but tickets can be set to “pay what you can” and Kate tweeted she doesn’t really care about the payment and invited to ‘just come hang’. StageIt also allows fans to “tip” the artists. Many payed more than the pay-whatever-you-like tickets.
Low profile but exclusive is a wonderful concept. Easy but special is such fun, great service that it makes people wanna give back. Fans seemed to have fun also “tipping” Kate while the chat was going. The money was probably still trivial. But it shows the familiar concept of good quality and being special and generous are qualities that make us want to give back somehow.