As she sets out on the comeback trail, Carly Rae Jepsen and her label have taken some unusual first steps. At 10:15 Friday night, Bravo TV's blog, The Daily Dish, will debut the music video for "I Really Like You," which puts Tom Hanks and Justin Bieber to use in promoting a single that Jepsen's label, Interscope Records, has high hopes for. The odd-seeming move is another example of record labels moving further and further away from traditional platforms to get exposure for their artists, and using increasingly unusual methods to gain as much attention as possible in a media-saturated landscape.
Most people aiming to make a splash on the Internet wouldn't choose to debut their new work on a Friday night. “Looking at Internet traffic as a whole, that does seem like an odd time to premiere anything,” said Josh Schwartz, the chief data scientist at Chartbeat. “You don't see any traffic reaching its peak at 10 p.m.”
Schwartz added that if Interscope were looking to debut “I Really Like You” at a moment of maximum Internet activity, it likely would have worked with Bravo to put the song out around lunchtime earlier in the week. But Interscope may be taking a surgical approach to promoting an artist most would assume has mass appeal.
Friday’s music video premiere is likely part of a larger deal between Interscope and Bravo: “I Really Like You” is already being used in on-air promotions for a new Bravo show called “Newlyweds: The First Year.” The ads, with Jepsen’s music in them, will run through the end of the month, providing a heap of media exposure that will be tremendously valuable to Interscope as it looks to build anticipation for a new Carly Rae Jepsen album slated for summer release.
“The labels and artists have caught on,” explained Leah Streetman, the founder of Triton Creative Group and a former vice president of film and TV creative at Republic Records. “They're very aware of the role that syncs play.”
Bravo and Interscope declined to comment on the specifics of their arrangement, saying its details were private. But after decades of resistance and uncertainty, record labels now aggressively pitch their big singles to networks and cable channels in hopes of lining up a situation like Jepsen’s: syncing a song they are hoping to break big into ads that will run constantly on a channel popular with the label's target audience. That is why songs like “Uptown Funk” and “Happy” are heard during commercial breaks nearly as frequently as they’re heard on radio.
“TV has become the new radio in a lot of ways,” Streetman said. “It’s a huge audience you’re reaching.”
But syncs are one thing. And music video premieres are another. This is the first time Bravo has premiered music or a music video, and most of its music video content has explicit tie-ins with its stable of reality TV personalities. Premiering the video on the air would likely have been a tough sell – few, if any, programs on Bravo’s programming slate would naturally accommodate a music video. But on a blog, a music video is just another piece of content to be offered up to readers, and more and more brands and broadcasters are beginning to leverage their Web presences to present content they cannot get onto the air. “That’s the direction that the networks and other brands are getting into,” Streetman said. “They’re getting into that multi-channel entertainment space.”
Because this is the first time Interscope has worked with Bravo's website, it has no expectations or benchmarks by which to gauge the performance -- just a hope that it will work. "Music providers are finding nontraditional places to share music," Streetman said. "They have to explore all the ways of exposure."