See How St. Vincent Doubled Her First Week Album Sales…

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Updated 4/18/14 11:30 AM PST.

St. Vincent’s latest album St. Vincent came out on February 25th.  The Found Group ran the digital marketing campaign for the release.  I recently profiled The Found Group’s tool, a link shortener that makes it easy to form retargeting pools.

In the first week, 29,506 copies of St. Vincent were sold (excluding the first week $3.99 Amazon MP3 sale).  This is double the amount of first week sales for St. Vincent’s previous album.

So how did The Found Group’s digital campaign play into this?

The Found Group used along with a number of other approaches.  For example, they used information from their retargeting pools to figure out what videos fans had already seen.  When a fan navigated to the landing page on St. Vincent’s website they were served a page that catered specifically to them.  If someone had already seen the first music video they were shown the second one instead.

The following infographic details each of the digital methods that were used in the campaign.  It also shows how fans were reached multiple times, giving them more opportunities to make a purchase.  Jason Hobbs of The Found Group says a customer usually has to see a product around seven times before they’ll make a purchase.

The infographic is a little overwhelming, I had to have Jason walk me through it.  If you have specific questions, leave them in the comments.

To reiterate, this infographic only covers digital marketing efforts. It was originally created as an internal document but was then approved to be shared with the public. The Found Group says:

“We clearly couldn’t have done it without the music, St. Vincent, the label, the management, distro, the PR, radio, etc.  These campaigns are team efforts, with a lot of moving parts.  And St. Vincent has a very strong team.”


When Nina Ulloa isn’t writing for DMN she’s usually reviewing music or at a show. Follow her on Twitter.

40 Responses

  1. Guile

    Would love to know what the paid media costs were.

    also what week 2 numbers were.

    Interesting regardless.

  2. Jeremy

    I’m not sure where there is any room left on that infographic but in their eagerness to demonstrate unparalleled digital promotional know-how, the good folks at The Found Group lost track of one important factor: the quality of the music. St. Vincent is very likely the best album Annie Clark has made so far, and the single “Digital Witness” is an extraordinary piece of avant-pop, at once accessible and off-kilter. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that they’re not selling safety pins or potatoes here. A less impressive album would have yielded less impressive sales, regardless of how many times the well-oiled machinery of the Found Group’s marketing plan forced “customers” to “see” the “product.” Some of us out here, against all odds, are still music fans who buy music because we like the sound of it.

    • GGG

      Sure, but an incredible album more often than not needs a marketing push, especially when you’re not St. Vincent, as opposed to say, Adele, who is the exception to pretty much every rule out there right now.

      I’m sure quality begot more sales, but good marketing raised awareness and visibility to push listens/buys.

      • Thomas

        Totally agree. It’s a great album for sure, but I know Jason and the team. They’re incredibly good at what they do. Let’s face it, when you combine a great product with great marketing, you’re going to get great results.

        • Jeremy

          I completely agree and give them all sorts of credit. I also agree that a great album is hardly guaranteed great sales; obviously an effective marketing plan is key. The problem to me was that as presented, it looks like anyone’s album would achieve great sales if plugged into this formula. I don’t believe that to be the case. Some of the uptick in sales surely has to do with how good the album is. Basically, I just wanted to give Annie some credit here too!

          • Nina Ulloa

            the infographic was originally created by the found group as an internal wrap up. her team really liked it and let them share it, so they sent it to me. all the infographic is discussing is digital marketing efforts, definitely not the whole picture f how she improved sales.

  3. Scott

    I don’t think it demonstrates a lack of credit at all, it just appears to be specifically about the digital portion of the campaign.

    • Nina Ulloa

      yes, this is solely an infographic explaining the digital campaign frm her digital marketing team. wasn’t meant to recap any other type of marketing.

  4. Matt

    Haha maybe they can make an infographic depicting the artistic path Annie took to make the album. And furthermore any album they ever market haha

  5. Bre

    Such an interesting way to look at things. Not groundbreaking but completely innovative and insightful to the way things in the digital world work. The more you know the better, always.

  6. Michael

    Airtime on public radio – specifically an interview in Boston, also helped. I would love to see a correlation between location of visits to her Wikipedia and official sites and interviews she gave. It was a lovely job they did on integrated marketing.

    • TuneHunter

      Sales would be over 1/4 million if we would have virtual walls around the music and Radio would be converted to music store.
      As is for 29K they have sold over 100K went thru the side door a la carte, courtesy of pimps like Shazam or Google lyrics search.
      If it is so good and if Radio could make sales they would get air time on any station serving this type of music.

  7. Gus Dobson

    While interesting to read, this sounds like a blatant ad for a marketing company.

    • Nina Ulloa

      i posted it because it IS interesting to read. you can gain useful info for free just by reading this.

  8. toobad

    I will say this.. I don’t listen to their music at all… but 1st album promo seemed like some pitchfork centric hipster-isms… new album definitely got coverage in a slightly different and I’d argue more mainstream way…

    Moral of the story…
    Have a good team
    Have a good plan..
    HAVE MONEY (to pay for it all)

  9. David Byrne

    I’d like to chime in now too and take a little credit as well

    David Byrne + St Vincent x a larger, new fan base, to the power of critical praise = best Week 1 ever

      • Matt

        I wonder if they activated that audience and tracked engagements separately. And which platforms they used to reach them.

  10. fuzzy mathematicians

    First album sold 20K first week. How is 29K “doubling” that number? The first week digital/physical %’s are about the same. The artist is on an upward trajectory for many reasons – I’m not going to question the skills of the found group as they do great work – but….what did they do AFTER first week to help keep sales up? 8K second week is a massive drop. Plus, it’s on a major – I’m sure some dough was dropped.

    • Kevin

      Actually the first week on the previous album (Strange Mercy) sold about 12,000. I still have the internal label update emails even though I’m no longer there. So 29,000 is more than double in the first week of the previous album.

      Also, 8,000 albums week two is appx. 40% of total week one sales, since almost 9,000 were sold in presell. That’s amazing. That’s not as drastic of a drop as you might think, typically I’ve seen closer to 10-20% of total sold on week two.

      From the last time I looked too, the album now approaches 60,000 albums sold.

      Seems pretty successful to me.

  11. Wil

    I think what most people fail to realize is that there is no ONE THING that leads to album sales. No Topspin b.s., no contest, no gated tab. All must work in congress with each other to lead to the end goal.

    But it’s good to have as many THINGS as possible to utilize.

  12. Incorrect

    The claim that “St. Vincent” first week sales were twice that of “Strange Mercy” is demonstrably false. Anyone with Soundscan access and three minutes to spare can tell you the actual increase was 45% — significant but nowhere near double. A responsible publication (or a writer with any sense of shame) would immediately apologize and post a correction, but I’m not holding my breath.

    • that's in the article

      they actually asy, “(excluding the first week $3.99 Amazon MP3 sale)”


  13. Really


  14. Community Activist

    I must say, I rarely see this kind of engagement on a comments section of an article on DMN, and I love it. You have the angry ignorant comments, with the open-minded “feed me content” comments, and the neutral comments, and the positive comments. Without the angry ignorant comments, this board wouldn’t be able to sustain such commentary. Applause and applesauce to those of you expressing dissent of all things.

  15. Infographics

    All infographics are scams guys. Anytime one is made the devil smiles don’t ever trust infographics, they are the devil

  16. shadesofsolveig

    1. For those complaining about the focus of this article on marketing vs. music: Duh. This is about the digital marketing tactics, not a review of the album.
    2. No one apparently understood article enough to comment much on the concept of retargeting customers – a term I have not heard yet, and as a social media educator and musicians, was actually quite interested to read about.
    3. For those complaining about the company being the subject of two different article on Digital Music News: Maybe they are just successful, so they are worth writing about. I can’t defend all of DMN content as being as good as this, but please, this is not a commercial for the company.
    4. There is little being written about how labels and agencies (and indies themselves) can successfully apply techniques which are still evolving in other industries to target customers (social media analytics), move them along the sales process, and bring them from the top of the funnel down to the bottom where the sale actually happens. Analytics in music marketing is not often written about on music industry blogs. Bravo to Nina for writing this. As a fan, you may not care to read about it, but as an indie musician, you should take note of how this agency contributed to the success of the album.
    5. Key takeaways for me: “If someone had already seen the first music video they were shown the second one instead.” and “a customer usually has to see a product around seven times before they’ll make a purchase.” This is the heart of the retargeting technique.
    6. To those critiquing Infographics as a content form: Many people are visual learners. Get over it. Good infographics are helpful distillations of complex ideas. The main thing I take away from that Infographic is the music sale process is complex and requires many customer “touchpoints” before sale happens. When you use analytics to differentiate customers who have already been touched and then engage with them again with DIFFERENT content – you can move them along in the sales process toward purchase. That’s helpful and unique information I have not seen covered extensively except by a very few in the industry.
    7. I’d like to know what the percentages at the bottom of infographic mean: ilovestvincentdotcom 3%, Twitter 4%, YouTube Ads 7%, Facebook 10%, Facebook Ads 14%, Newsletter 24%, Retargeted/Remarketing Banners 24% Assuming it means where actually purchase conversions are coming from, that is super interesting information. Note how much sales came from newsletters. Note how little came directly off the website. Note how much came from Facebook advertising. This is interesting information indie musicians and other labels can use to determine where to put their marketing dollars. If you know the campaign costs, you can do ROI on the campaign right from those numbers.

  17. gurdonark

    Hats off to St. Vincent on her new album. That’s what matters, and it’s good to see efforts to promote it.

    A smaller tip of the hat to the Found Group, for their skill in getting a huge, mildly out of focus selfie published as if it were journalism. If they are as good at getting digital media outlets to cover the artists as they are at writing self-promo infographics, then we can expect to see a new stable of platinum Found Group clients.