Bicep are the talk of the music industry right now.
Their second LP, Isles, dropped on Ninja Tune two weeks ago reaching #2 in the U.K. album charts. Part II of The Blueprint #001 shows you how Ninja Tune and Bicep flexed their marketing muscles to release an album planned for the dancefloor when dancefloors are off-limits.
If you are new here, I recommend you read #001 – Part 1 first. There is that much to talk about with this campaign, there might even be a Part III in March.
For now, let’s get into Part II.
Remember, the blueprint to success is right in front of you. You just have to look in the right places…
Let’s start by talking about the motion graphics used for the artwork of Isles and its lead singles throughout the campaign.
The artwork and animations are designed by Studio Degrau. The animated monumental sculptures give Isles its own identity that effortlessly translates to a number of different online mediums. The artwork is that iconic it also translates to the vinyl sleeves and stand-alone prints.
“Bicep is more than electronic music. It is a full experience. One worth to snap and contemplate in your life. Eternalising those moments into monumental sculptures was our gut. Our will. This is the first part of a bigger adventure, one that makes us really proud of having the opportunity to come on board.” – Studio Degrau on Instagram
I can only imagine what the production of the live show is going to be like…
Private Fan Community
One of the biggest challenges for an artist during the last 12-months has been connecting with their audience. With the vast majority of Bicep’s audience connecting at live gigs, Ninja Tune invited Bicep’s fans to a private WhatsApp via a QR code.
Members of the group were sent out news, audio and video clips or behind the scenes content. This created an exclusive feel to the group, with fans receiving news straight to their phone.
To take it one step further, Ninja Tune and Bicep created a bespoke AR filter. This launched a week before their album release date through Instagram Stories, encouraging fans to create unique content on the app.
To further encourage their fanbase to get involved, Ninja Tune and Bicep promised they would choose their favourite filters and project them on landmark buildings in Belfast and London.
19 January: Bicep shared a few of their favourite filters to their Instagram feeds and thanked fans for their submissions.
22 January: On the night of their album launch, the filters were broadcasted across London and Belfast landmarks including The Tate Modern Art Gallery.
23 January: Images of the landmarks are shared to Bicep and Ninja Tune’s social media.
The Album Launch
The day before launching Isles, Bicep revealed the tracklist of the album on social media for the first time.
On the day of the launch, the press did Ninja Tune and Bicep’s marketing for them. The album reviews and interview features all went live. The Guardian, NME, The Evening Standard and The Independent all praised the album.
- The Guardian – “dance duo create the ultimate living-room rave.”
- NME – “trippy electronic tales that transcend the club world.”
- The Evening Standard – “great listening now – but I can’t wait to hear it live”
- The Independent – “The dance duo dig deeper on this trancey affair.”
- Resident Advisor – “The whole thing is drenched in neon euphoria.“
Bicep – X ft Clara la San – Radio 1 Exclusive Premiere
Bicep’s focus of reaching their audience through the radio continued just hours before the album’s launch. Matt and Andy co-hosted the last hour of Annie Mac’s Friday night Future Sounds Show. ‘X’ featuring Clara la San was premiered by Annie for the first time.
Bicep’s album went live at midnight in the U.K. and Northern Ireland.
Vinyl + Merchandise
This is where Bicep and Ninja Tune really excels. Tess Kendall (Ninja Tune, Senior Product Lead) told Music Week:
“Bicep has a huge and engaged fanbase, they appreciate buying directly from the artist so we have seen great pre-orders via the Bicep store. We have been able to set up bundles with merch, tickets and also a competition to win a piece of equipment used on the album, all these run through D2C (Direct to Consumer) and have been really popular.”
The merchandise bundles turned the physical album into a collector’s item. When the vinyl arrived, this created more opportunities for fans to share organic User Generated Content (UGC) with the album being played on record players at home for the first time.
Bicep added their favourites to their Instagram Stories and engaged with fans by liking and replying to posts in their DM’s.
A third London date added
With thousands on the waiting list for BICEP LIVE, a third date for at the O2 Brixton Academy in London was added. Fans who bought/downloaded the album were given priority to purchase tickets.
This event sold-out in days if not hours. This is further proof of how successful this campaign has gone, with the live events giving fans a sense of hope that normality will one day return.
A live version of the album still to come
In all of the interviews, Matt and Andy have made it very clear that this release of Isles is the home listening version refined for streaming and radio – meaning there is still a live version of the album waiting in the wings to be released.
Expect to get a taste of this in Bicep’s next live stream on February 29.
With so much content to talk about and a live stream on February 29 to come, Part III of this edition of The Blueprint may be published at the beginning of March.
The Blueprint #002 will drop next week focusing on the success of Tommy Farrow’s debut release – Lets Just.
Thanks for all the support so far. See you next week.
Andrew at Socially Sound
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