'He's worked incredibly hard': How Columbia plans to build on George Ezra's BRITs triumph

'He's worked incredibly hard': How Columbia plans to build on George Ezra's BRITs triumph

With a double-platinum album, George Ezra was the biggest seller among this year’s BRITs winners – even Ariana Grande can’t compete. Now the Columbia Records label team is aiming to keep the album moving in 2019, as Ezra prepares for an arena tour next month.

Ezra collected the British Male Solo Artist award and performed Shotgun at the ceremony, which was staged at The O2 and screened on ITV.

Speaking in the latest issue of Music Week, Alex Eden-Smith, Columbia’s head of marketing, said: “George’s BRIT Award win is hugely deserved and a testament to everything he’s put into this album campaign. He has worked incredibly hard and been very focused on where he wanted to take this campaign.”

Staying At Tamara’s has sales to date of 785,568, according to the Official Charts Company. It is currently enjoying a BRITs boost with sales up 55.6% on week ago in the Midweek Sales Flash.

Eden-Smith said the TV spots secured for Ezra, including the Graham Norton Show, BBC Sports Personality Of The Year and Michael McIntyre’s Big Show on BBC One, were key to the campaign’s success. 

“Sam Sewell in the Columbia promo team has delivered an incredible run of TV performances on this album, allowing us to reach the widest audiences possible and sustain growth at crucial moments which has really made the difference,” he said.

The campaign will now switch to Pretty Shining People, following the success of Hold My Girl (No.8 peak, 418,571 sales), Shotgun (No.1, 1,733,404 sales) and Paradise (No.2, 1,210,280 sales)

Ezra heads out on an arena tour next month, including two dates at The O2, which sold out in under 30 minutes last year.

In the modern market, you can’t rely on a one-size-fits-all approach

Alex Eden-Smith

“George’s music continues to resonate with a large and varied audience and, from a marketing perspective, the challenge for us is to continue to get his music and personality in front of people in engaging ways,” said Eden-Smith. 

Columbia is ultimately aiming to outperform Ezra’s debut album Wanted On Voyage, which has moved 1,363,665 copies since summer 2014. While Staying At Tamara’s sales are led by physical, its streaming proportion of 20.8% is double that of the debut.

“The album [Staying At Tamara’s] continues to resonate with both a younger streaming consumer-based demographic and also older physical buyers,” said Eden-Smith. “George had two of the best-selling singles of last year, driven by a significant streaming base which has allowed us to deliver hit singles as well as consistent album sales.  

“Our strategy will remain on tailoring our marketing to serve different people with the most relevant content for their particular point of discovery of George’s music. In the modern market, you can’t rely on a one-size-fits-all approach, everything has to be bespoke to take into consideration different points of entry into an artist’s world.”

Ezra’s international reach is also growing. Hold My Girl has made an impact in Germany and France, following what Eden-Smith described as a “hugely succcesful global campaign” with Shotgun. In the US, Shotgun has been building its presence at radio and has just entered the Mainstream Top 40.

“Internationally, the campaign continues to go from strength to strength,” said Eden-Smith.

To read Music Week’s report on the post-BRITs plans for big winners, subscribers can click here.

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