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Welcome To The Heist: Marketing Tips to Help You Stand Out and Succeed

sourceWith Macklemore & Ryan Lewis‘ recent success of winning 4 awards at the Grammys, I wanted to explain a few factors that I think made the duo successful. Some people say they’re an “overnight success.” As a fan of Macklemore’s music, I can safely say this isn’t the truth.

It’s important to note that the duo is not signed to a major label deal. They operate independently with the help of a distribution company. I think all artists can learn from these guys’ success. Here are a few key points:

1. Stand Out From The Crowd. Be YOU!!

While the rest of the Hip Hop community seems to be focused on boasting about their riches, jewelry, cars, popping champagne, etc., Macklemore and Ryan are taking a different approach, like for example releasing a song called “Same Love,” which covers topics including sexuality, homophobia and gay rights. These subjects are definitely not common place in Hip Hop, but by raising the issue and standing by a controversial topic, they stand out from the crowd.

Another example of the duo standing out is their single “Thrift Shop.” This track doesn’t fit the mold of a usual Hip Hop track either. Macklemore isn’t talking about buying expensive high-end brand names, he’s talk about going shopping on a budget and not getting sucked into corporate brand marketing. This track again separates them from other artists, and most importantly, it’s relatable, which helped make it so popular.

2. Be Patient

There’s no such thing as an “overnight success.” Macklemore met Ryan Lewis in 2006, they released The VS EP in December 2009, and it wasn’t a very successful release. Prior to this, Macklemore released Open Your Eyes in 2000, The Language of My World in 2005, and The Unplanned Mixtape in 2009.  It wasn’t until 2012 when they released The Heist they had their first real taste of success.

As well as releasing albums, the duo spent years building a local audience, which later led to a nationwide movement. Another import aspect of their rise to success was getting a good booking agent, who started to secure small gigs for them. They continued to grow, playing at Seattle Mariners open day in 2011 and progressing onto festivals later that year.

3. Build A Strong Team

Building a strong team is a vital part of having a successful career in music. It doesn’t have to consist of industry veterans — a team of top execs may not always be the best option. You want people that believe in you and your music, and who you can fully trust. Invest in people that share your vision and have your best interests at heart. When Macklemore and Ryan Lewis met, Ryan was a producer, guitarist and photographer aged 17. He was far from an industry veteran, but Macklemore related to him as a passionate creative and they were both chasing the same dream.

If you look at the list of contributors on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ album, The Heist, you’ll notice there are no big-name artists. They used local singer-songwriters and musicians from Seattle. In addition to this, Macklemore’s merch and tour manager also manages their finances. It’s all about trust.

4. Connect With Your Fans

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis always connect with their fans in an honest and authentic way. Take a look at their Twitter and Facebook pages to see just what I mean.

For Macklemore, “being transparent about every aspect of my life is what makes my music relatable and how I’m able to be an individual amongst the mass amounts of other artists.”

5. Creative Control Is More Important Than Money

Of course having a certain amount of money is important, but I think it’s better to have creative control to express what you want through your art and make your own decisions. Referring back to my first point, I highly doubt that releasing a single about marriage equality on a Hip Hop album would ever have been allowed if the duo didn’t operate independently. If you combine creative control with a quality product, money is much more likely to follow. If your main focus is on making money, your art will suffer and reaching success will be more challenging.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis make music they want to make and let the world critique and create opinions. I personally have always stood by this and believe you should never make music to cater to a market; you should create something that you feel satisfied with, and whether or a not a person likes it is up to them. I can guarantee, if you don’t feel confident enough to stand by your own product, no one else will.

Numbers Don’t Lie

To conclude, here are a few stats on the three top singles from The Heist:

Thrift Shop

  • 500+ million YouTube views
  • US & UK sales approximately amount to over 8 million
  • No.1 in the UK Singles Chart and US Billboard Hot 100
  • Two Grammy Awards

Can’t Hold Us

  • 204+ million YouTube Views
  • US & UK sales approximately amount to 4.9 million
  • No.1 in the US Mainstream Top 40 Billboard Chart

Same Love

  • 114+ million YouTube Views
  • US & UK sales approximately amount to 2.2 million

Follow these simple suggestions, and you’ll be one step closer to seeing numbers like these in your future.

The Marketplace Presents: Naked Press

NakedPressHiring a publicist can be daunting and expensive. We’ve sought to make it easier for you with the launch of Naked Press in The Orchard Marketplace.

With a focus on UK press — an important market, to say the least — Naked Press will pitch your release to targeted outlets including The Guardian, TimeOut, Mojo, Uncut, Q Magazine, Drowned in Sound, The Times, and more. They can take on artists in any genre and come at an exclusive discounted rate of £80 per press release, negotiated specially for you.

How do you get started? Just install the app in the Marketplace for the artist you’d like to promote, verify your artist name and contact email, and fill out a description of the release in as much detail as you can muster, including genre to key in on, specific requirements, highlights, deep, dark secrets, and more. Well, as long as you’re ok with seeing those last ones in print — that is the goal, after all!

Once you’ve sent that off, Naked Press will review your request and reach out via the email you provided. You’ll discuss the release directly, get the approvals needed, and Naked Press will work its magic on your behalf. Check back in the app 7 and 21 days after your press release has gone out to review number of contacts reached, opens and click rate. You can also access a PDF copy of the release for your records.

Get a visual tour of the app below:

Naked Press is available via The Orchard Marketplace. Find out more about them on their One-Sheet.

Let’s Go Find Some SuperStars with Som Livre

superstar_logoBrazilian music is as varied as it gets, from Baile Funk to Bossa Nova, Samba to Axé, and there’s a long history behind each genre and each region that champions it. We know this, having been present in the region for a long time now through some of our star labels, like Som Livre, and we’re always on the lookout for opportunities to spread the Brazilian beat.

That’s why we’re so pumped to be working with Som Livre to bring the music of a new local reality competition TV show, “SuperStar,” to iTunes Brazil. The show, which is based on an Israeli concept, has 50 bands from around the country competing against each other to become Brazil’s next superstar. It’s hosted by the lovely Fernanda Lima, actress, model and muse of the World Cup, and actor/entertainer André Marques. Judging the contestants are Latin Grammy-award winning Axé and Pop singer/songwriter, Ivete Sangalo, lead singer of Brazilian band Capital Inicial, Dinho Ouro Preto, and singer/songwriter and actor, Fábio Júnior.

The show is highly interactive, using a mobile app to get viewers to vote for their favorite bands and point them to “SuperStar’s” music on iTunes. This week, the track “Memorias (Come Wake Me Up)” by Malta hit #5 on the Singles chart, and we look forward to seeing some more chart topping music from the show.

“SuperStar” airs every Sunday on Globo in Brazil, and you’ll find 10 new tracks live on iTunes Brazil after each ep. Check out more info in our full press release here.

Scholastic and The Orchard Bring You Your Favorite Kids’ TV Shows Digitally

Cliff_Anniv_1024x1024Remember afternoons in 1st grade when you’d come home from school, have a gourmet PB&J with milk made by your in-home chef of a mom, and plop down on the couch to catch Clifford the Big Red Dog and friends in their latest neighborhood adventures? What about in 4th grade, same sandwich, same couch, but with Goosebumps playing? Those were some very fine TV-watching times.

If you’re hampering to catch some of those favorite after-school classics they’ll be easily available at your fingertips as part of The Orchard’s new deal with Scholastic Media. Next time you’re clicking around on iTunes US (ROW: they’re coming soon!) trying to find a short, entertaining tid-bit, you’ll now have the option to explore some all-time greatest kid’s TV hits. Right now, only Cliff & friends and the creepy-crawly spooky series are up for grabs, but others are soon to come, like The Magic School Bus, I Spy, The Babysitter’s Club and more.

We know the 90s kids out there are going to love this childhood throw-back, but it’s just as perfect for today’s youngsters! Planning any long road-trips for the fam in the near future? We’ve got your 3-hour beach drive covered! Your five year-old will be way too distracted by Clifford’s latest neighborhood quest to ask for a time-update, and your eleven year-old will be pinned to his tablet in the backseat, waiting for the next ghoul to pop out! That means quiet time in the front seat for you.

So whether you’re a kid at heart or you’ve got your own, you’re going to love these new (but old-school) TV options rolling out digitally. I, for one, will be jumping on The Babysitter’s Club bandwagon! For more info on all the series being released and where they’ll be available, check out our full press release here.

YouTube Really Wants You To Subscribe

YTSubscribeYouTube has hit the streets this month with advertising urging passersby to subscribe to some of its top creators. This is one of the first major physical ad campaigns pushed by the video streaming service specifically promoting channels. New Yorkers have started spotting ads like the giant one pictured left in NoHo as well as in the subway. And YouTube ads are planned to make their way to other cities as well as network TV.

So why does this matter? Well, for one thing, a major push by a mostly internet-based company like YouTube into the “real-world” is something to watch. Although the ads boast multi-million subscriber numbers, most people probably don’t know who these internet “celebrities” are. Likewise, most casual YouTube users don’t even subscribe. The majority of users still rely on the platform simply as a search-and-discover tool. And therein lies the impact of this campaign.

YouTube has been pushing the importance of subscription to both creators and users for some time now. Most recently, YouTube’s Head of Entertainment, Alex Carloss, made a compelling speech on the topic driving home the value of engaging a devoted returning fan base rather than a casual audience. The exact impact that subscribers have on views is still largely debated, but the concept points to a larger shift by YouTube. Deciding to pair a physical ad campaign with major channels and subscription has a feel more akin to network TV. Getting these brands and channels out in the open provides a new level of exposure to channels that normally rely solely on rabid internet sharing for promotion.

It’ll be interesting to see what the impact of this bold move will be on these channels and YouTube as a whole. Though it’s not exactly a complete game changer, it’s interesting to see an apparent shift in user behavior that YouTube may be looking for. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should change what you’re currently doing on YouTube, but you may want to push more focus toward subscribers to see if there’s an impact on your channel. For a quick way to rope in more subs, try enabling your channel’s In-Video Programming settings to ad subscribe links to your channel. See you on the subway ride home, YouTube!

About The Orchard

The Orchard is a pioneering music, video and film distribution company and top-ranked Multi Channel Network operating in more than 25 global markets. Founded in 1997, we empower businesses and creators in the entertainment industry.

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