March 22, 2023
Even if you haven't heard of NewJeans yet, there's a good chance you'll soon be humming along to their infectious tunes. The Korean pop group is quickly gaining international attention and breaking..Read more
March 31, 2023
Even if you don’t know who Max Martin is, you’ve definitely heard his songs. Hit-pop songs are kind of his thing after all. Martin first stepped into the music world in 1985 as a frontman for....Read more
March 18, 2023
The Filipino-Canadian duo from Vancouver has been releasing new tracks left and right, and they are known for their most streamed songs on Spotify, “Timezones,” and “Silver Skies.” Previously .......Read more
March 17, 2023
The singer, songwriter, and actress Miley Cyrus has recently released a record-breaking song called “Flowers” in January 2023. This song recites her 10-year long relationship with her ex-husband....Read more
March 4, 2023
Men I Trust is a Canadian indie pop band known for their dreamy and mellow sound. Their music is laid back, incorporating elements of funk, disco, and R&B to create a smooth and groovy vibe that isRead more
March 3, 2023
Artists like Kaytranada have proved that you don’t need access to a professional recording studio to create well-produced music. As technology and social media have advanced, it is now easier than eveRead more
February 25, 2023
People draw inspiration from others when forming their ideas, it’s a fact of life. Sampling in music is no exception - and artists do it for a variety of reasons. Traditionally, copyright laws andRead more
February 23, 2023
Tobias Jesso Jr. You may know his name from his 2015 solo album Goon. Or maybe from his work on various popular songs, such as “When We Were Young” by Adele and “Alive” by Sia. Or even from his receRead more
February 23, 2023
HBO’s The Last of Us is arguably the hottest show out right now, receiving near universal acclaim from viewers and critics alike. This holds especially true for episode three: “Long, Long Time”.Read more
February 21, 2023
Folk singer. Songwriter. Canadian. Polyglot. All of these titles belong to Gina Lam, also known by her stage name Ginalina. In November 2022, she released her latest album titled Going Back: RemembeRead more
February 21, 2023
Rihanna is an illustrious artist. She is among the best selling female artists of all time, and was one of the greatest hitmakers of the 2000s and 2010s. She has since grown to become the richest...Read more
February 20, 2023
Streaming is now the driving force of the music industry, making up 84% of the industry revenue in the U.S. While streaming is much more convenient for listeners, many artists argue that it is near imRead more
Sam Smith just released their new album “Gloria” on the 27th of January. As described by Pitchfork, “Gloria flips between hyperpop, country, dancehall, disco, 2-step, and intimate, Kehlani-esque R&B”. Through the different genres, the album features Ed Sheeran, Koffee, Jessie Reyez, and Kim Petras.
“Unholy”, featuring Kim Petras, was the second single from this album to be released. It dropped on September 22, 2022, and ended up being incredibly successful. It reached #1 on the US Hot 100 chart and also spent quite a long time topping the UK charts as well. To this day, it is still in the US top 10.
The song’s success was helped by an intense social media marketing campaign. Unholy’s catchy chorus was perfectly suited for a TikTok audio - and Capitol Records knew that.
The Campaign & Launch
Capitol UK’s general manager (Tom Paul) is credited as the mind behind the marketing campaign for “Unholy”, and he helped Smith orchestrate a release of a sample on TikTok in August.
Paul’s plan worked, and it blew up almost instantly on the app. Fans were shocked to hear this kind of sound coming from Sam Smith, and demands for the song’s release came quickly as it gained traction with various trends.
The most popular variation of this audio now has >2.5 million videos using that sound, not to mention countless other variations with hundreds of thousands of video uses.
Smith rode that wave of interest, and continued to do so for a very long time.
A side effect of the song being everywhere was that fans got used to the 20-second earworm. Usually, when a song blows up on the app, users can then search for the full song, and not being able to do so was frustrating to some fans. Hearing the same part over and over again did not help this.
Videos started popping up on TikTok with fans expressing their concerns. The common theme among these videos is how they already felt “over” the song, and that they should have released “Unholy” at its peak while it was trending.
The label did intend to release it sooner, however, the Queen’s death pushed back the song’s release by another week. Even before that setback, it was already a popular audio for well over a month.
Some fans also had an issue with Unholy’s length. At only two minutes and 37 seconds, fans felt that there was not much material beyond the audio they had already been exposed to. Additionally, fans found that the audio on TikTok sounded dramatic and rich, whereas the final release was more muted.
The idea to promote the catchiest part as a TikTok audio was an excellent one - it drove an immense amount of anticipation for the release. However, if you tease a song for too long you run the risk of fans moving on to other things.
By teasing music on social media, artists are able to receive feedback about what works and what doesn’t on their songs. Unholy’s punchy, bass-intensive chorus on TikTok never came to fruition, which led to disappointed fans. Artists should be sure to pay attention to the feedback they receive about what works and what doesn’t prior to release.
While “Unholy” was still incredibly popular and a commercial success for Smith and their label, you can’t help but wonder if it would have done even better if they had released it sooner.