With Future Islands’ new album As Long As You Are on the horizon, and in the face of no touring for the foreseeable future, the big challenge for the band in 2020 was going to be in how to convert their huge live following into release-week excitement.
Following four pre-release singles and an extensive digital marketing campaign including the usual Instagram filters and stickers alongside traditional promo, the week into release was vital. We needed to keep the momentum that had built from several months of anticipation and engage the band’s existing fanbase to make the release feel like a big deal and grow the kind of social media word-of-mouth that would usually be generated via tour activity. We needed a fresh new narrative to increase excitement and also to bring people together to share their anticipation.
We launched an international online listening party with a twist. It felt like a special treat for fans who wouldn’t be able to go to a show, whilst also firmly fitting our plans to create a communal moment to bring fans together for a fun event in a very difficult time.
Using the title As Long As You Are Listening, Together, the band shared a streaming website that was geo-targeted to your location and could only be unlocked once enough people in that area had visited the page. Fans were encouraged to share online to encourage fans in their area to visit and there was a progress bar showing how close the stream was to being unlocked.
Once unlocked, the album played on repeat for a 24-hour window, with fans in each area listening together in real-time and using a custom Spotify-authenticated chatbox to share first impressions.
Our unlocking thresholds were based on Spotify’s API to assess monthly listeners per area and weighted based on their global fanbase.
We saw fans visiting from across the globe, with brilliant turnouts particularly in Southeast Asia, South America and Europe. We drove another 1,500 people to pre-save/pre-order the album and social traffic was great as fans introduced the band to people to help them unlock the page.
The album charted internationally, with some of their highest placings ever. The band’s exclusive livestream with Noon Chorus exceeded all expectations on ticket sales.
Visibility around the campaign was great and we learned a lot about how to create exciting moments without our traditional reliance on IRL events.