— blending the mix

iTunes sends Gnarles Barkley to number one BEFORE it gets released

 Here in the UK, the title of first ever single to get to number one before ever being released goes to Gnarles Barkley!

iTunes (amongst others), as of Sunday evening, saw ‘Crazy’ amass 31,000 downloads and went straight to the UK number 1 spot.

Apart from this song being great (I URGE you to download it – the bass is great!), the route to its success is a very interesting one.

The main youth national FM radio station Radio 1 runs a unique theme of “in new music we strust” which ensures that it always stays ahead of the game and prides itself on discovering new talent (Arctic Monkeys are one such band).

One DJ, Zane Lowe has created a growing cult following, premiering the song some months back. In a curious move to advertise Radio 1 on BBC television (!), the backdrop to the “in new music we trust” ad was the very same Gnarles Barkley song – and it captured a nation’s imagination!
Talk about about viral…DJ’s all over the UK were constantly being asked to “play that song from the Radio 1 advert”!

Let’s consider the route to success:

  • Niche radio show
  • Small (but growing) core of fans
  • Download pre-release
  • background music to national tv ad
  • Number 1 on iTunes
  • Number 1 in UK charts

Isn’t it funny how such huge success can come from one small cult audience? Listem to Steve Rubel’s great audio about word of mouth to see how you can leverage the power of word of mouth from your best brand advocates to sell your brand to non-believers!

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