Yungblud has just dropped his second album Weird! (Polydor).
In the latest issue of Music Week, manager Tommas Arnby discusses his big ambitions for the record. Yungblud’s 2018 debut, 21st Century Liability, has sales of 63,288 (Official Charts Company).
The rising UK rock artist has been playing a virtual tour of shows targeted at fans in different territories.
With strong BBC Radio 1 support and more than 8.5 million monthly Spotify listeners, there are big expectations for his sophomore album. But he faces Q4 competition from artists including Shawn Mendes and Kelly Jones.
Here, manager Tommas Arnby, CEO of Locomotion Entertainment, opens up about the campaign…
Yungblud has been effective at blurring genres – is that key to his success?
“Yeah, but ultimately he's a rock artist. It's a lot more fluid now. But that's what he comes from. Rock’n’roll is more of an attitude and expression, which we've seen in a lot of hip-hop recently. That's what he's got, and within that he can dabble in lots of genres but still maintain an authenticity. He's a rock’n’roll kid, you know.”
You've announced Alexandra Palace for next autumn as part of a UK tour. Will touring keep this campaign going long into 2021?
“Oh yeah, 100% We’ve got so many things coming as well, like main stage appearances at festivals. From June onwards, we’ve got great positioning in the festival circuit in the UK and Europe. It's an interesting time for putting tickets on sale. But his fanbase is growing rapidly at the moment. One of the things that I’m putting a lot of focus on is growing the Spotify followers, even more so than the monthly listeners.”
Does social media continue to be a key factor in the rise of Yungblud?
“Instagram and TikTok have been very important platforms for him to properly figure out and scale with authenticity. On TikTok, he’s smashing it. It’s still the fans who are our best sales force out there. Compared to other artists that are having similar or even more streaming success, they are often heavily reliant on editorial [playlists], but we’re not so much. Editorial support is responsible for about 22% of our streams, but our own [organic] consumption counts for 70-odd percent.”
You’re coming to the end of a three-year strategy for Yungblud – what’s the next stage of the plan?
“We want to double the fanbase globally on this next project. It would be great to have an international bonafide hit record, which I'm sure we will be able to achieve. Having an album out this year, which was incredibly important for me to keep building the core [audience], means that I can definitely do the first achievement. Then he'll be one of the top five British artists out there, which is pretty good in three years.”
In a way this feels like his debut album…
“I’m glad you said that. We looked at the first album as being a bit of a mixtape, we just wanted to put out some music. I think its highest charting position was No.141. It was literally, put music out and then build a fanbase on the back of it. You can't really build a fanbase with no music, and you need more than a couple of songs. I didn't want to be relying on streaming editorial support and radio, I just wanted to put out a body of work, put him on the road and start building. So that served its purpose. This one has a global strategy and some more expectations attached to it!”
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