by Dave Mainella
This past week, indie new-wave rockers Metric released the second and third parts of an innovative online marketing campaign in anticipation of their upcoming single, “Youth Without Youth” (out May 1, Metric Music International). We are now more than halfway through this Odyssey of online participation and eagerly await the conclusion of Metric’s marketing mystery.
The premise is this: sections of the song’s lyrics are unveiled online and as the online audience fits each batch of lyrics onto the puzzle of a notebook page, a secret prize is revealed. A video was unlocked with the first round of lyrics on April 19, and the second round, released this past Monday, reveals a download of the song’s sheet music. Instructions ask for video responses from fans playing their version of the song based on the sheet music. In return, these fans will be the first to hear “Youth Without Youth.”
The third section of lyrics were unveiled just yesterday and with it, a short commentary from band members Emily Haines and Jimmy Shaw about the creative process behind the making of “Youth Without Youth.”
Metric is exploring an innovative digital marketing strategy. A representative of the band expressed Metric’s continued interest in releasing music in unconventional ways. The focus of this campaign is, of course, on fan engagement. The audience as a marketing tool can be very powerful.
Metric teases us with bits and pieces, stringing us along an impartial musical journey until we are rewarded with the new song in complete form next Tuesday. Anticipation builds with each unveiling of lyrics, and the audience feels a sense of accomplishment at each level, inching closer to the goal and each time by means of their own.
It’s a fun way for a fan base to play along. And to Metric’s benefit, the more an audience feels involved and connected, the more likely they are to want to share their experience, and the band’s music, with others.
Audience participation will always have a place in live performance. It helps to make a connection between fan and artist, a moment where the fan leaves knowing that they could not have ever experienced that at home. But the involvement of an audience in recorded music is more difficult to achieve, and to use such involvement as a marketing strategy is an ambitious and ingenious foray into digital trends.
This prolonged and engaging release appears to certainly have some degree of success. As of publishing, Metric’s lyric “notebook” website has logged six thousand Facebook likes and fifteen thousand tweets on Twitter. The band has received four solid video responses on YouTube, and according to their representative, Metric is very impressed with the response.
We are eager to see similarly creative ways of digitally releasing music in the future, from Metric and others. It will be interesting to see Metric’s conclusion to this campaign. And, of course, to finally hear “Youth Without Youth.”
“Youth Without Youth” will appear on Metric’s upcoming album, “Synthetica,” out June 12 via Metric Music International.
Dave Mainella is a musician, producer, composer, and writer living in
New York. He graduated from New York University in 2011 with a Jazz
Studies degree. See what he’s up to @DaveMainella.