If you scroll through Kelly Clarkson’s Twitter page, you’ll notice something curious. Among the tweets promoting her new album, recognizable by the #piecebypiece hashtags, are also lots of regular quips and honest responses to fans.
One of the reasons Jordan Blaugrund, VP of digital marketing at RCA Records, says his team chose to work closely with Twitter for the release of Clarkson’s upcoming album Piece By Piece is, “It’s the place where she’s really herself.”
During the promotional ramp up to today’s album release, Clarkson has also taken advantage of Twitter’s new audio cards. The integrated audio functionality enables followers to listen to music inside the Twitter app while browsing their timeline.
“The audio cards allow us to put music right in front of people, and by doing that, we’re also partnering with iTunes for the added benefit of direct connection to retail,” says Blaugrund, who also indicates that the singles showing up the iTunes charts are connected with the awareness from Twitter.
The topic of music overall remains one of the most popular on the service, year after year. That may be one reason Twitter has been continuing to work on its music strategy for the last few years. And if artists’ promotional campaigns are successful? Well, that’s just music to everyone’s ears.
The quantifiable part of that success is in the numbers. During the roughly two-month period of Clarkson’s Piece By Piece campaign–starting January 1–she’s gained more than 193,000 new Twitter followers. Her tweets relating to the campaign have also been viewed more than 9.9 million times.
And Clarkson’s audio card tweets have been viewed about 1 million times. That number might seem a bit low, but currently the audio card feature is only available to iOS and Android users who also follow one of their media partners–in this case, that’s Clarkson. These are exclusive artist numbers not typically provided by Twitter, which means there’s also not much other data to compare these numbers against.
Clarkson, of course, isn’t the only artist taking advantage of Twitter’s growing media capabilities. The expanded audio and video features are helping artists move beyond the standard 140-character text limitation. Lady Gaga recently used Twitter’s native video player, for example, to officially announce her upcoming role in the American Horror Story television show on FX. After making the announcement exclusively on Twitter, the tweet became her all-time most retweeted–some 133,00 RTs and counting. Gaga gained over 58,000 followers after making the statement.
The fact that Facebook has largely neglected giving artists new music-related features also partly explains why Kanye West announced the title of his new album, So Help Me God, on Twitter Saturday night instead of Mark Zuckerberg’s service. “More and more, we’re seeing artists across every major music genre use Twitter to share content directly with fans in a way that quickly spreads that content around the world,” says Shavone Charles, a music spokeswoman at Twitter.
U2 used Twitter to put up an exclusive album trailer for their album Songs Of Innocence, Cody Simpson teased a new song with Twitter’s video upload feature, and Eminem made his SHADYXV album announcement. All are just a few examples of artists using the service to debut content.
Twitter has long been a way for artists to reach their fans, but it’s finally tapping into its full potential with first-party media tools. Even though Twitter #music–the service’s first attempt at harnessing the music conversation–didn’t work out, there are more opportunities for Twitter to be a big part of the conversation. And the more ways the company lets fans interact with audio, video, and images, the more it also gives artists new ways to move beyond text.