'Sam Fender's a phenomenal talent': Polydor's Karen Dagg on the No.1 album campaign

'Sam Fender's a phenomenal talent': Polydor's Karen Dagg on the No.1 album campaign

Polydor are feeling “very positive” about the Sam Fender campaign, senior marketing manager Karen Dagg has told Music Week.

The singer-songwriter’s debut Hypersonic Missiles landed at No.1 last week with sales of 41,000, according to the Official Charts Company. As well as as a strong showing for vinyl (8,200 units), streaming was not far behind.

As reported in the latest issue of Music Week, Fender has followed debut album artists Lewis Capaldi, Tom Walker and Dave in reaching the summit.

“We’re feeling very positive as we move into the next stage of the campaign,” said Dagg. “The album streaming numbers and supermarket volume are both indicative of Sam’s music reaching wider audiences and there’s huge scope to continue that trajectory here and internationally. We’re seeing excellent growth in new areas and the [2020] tour announcement is testament to just how far Sam has come in the last year.” 

Fender has confirmed a run of arena dates in March, alongside other venues including Alexandra Palace.

“Sam’s live show is second to none, so making the live plot and release strategy work in tandem was very important in growing the story,” added Dagg. “We put together a multi-format album offering and staggered D2C roll-out to help bolster pre-orders which finished in excess of 20,000 units.”

Fender is part of a wave of new Polydor acts – including Mabel and Jax Jones – making a chart impact with different release strategies. Dagg acknowledged the effort that was required to secure the breakthrough for an indie rock act such as Fender, following his BRITs Critics’ Choice win.

“Sam’s a phenomenal talent and we were really fortunate to have that recognised and championed early by key media and partners including Radio 1 who built Sam from Introducing to Brits List, Radio X, Apple, Spotify, Deezer and more,” she said. “All the tips lists and of course the BRITS Critics’ Choice award were fantastic shows of support, but in reality we knew there was a lot of work to do in order to grow his audience.”

Dagg expanded on the strategy for Fender, who’s not had charting singles in the run-up to the album, though has enjoyed airplay success and strong ticket sales.

“We realised early on that there were different emerging audiences in Sam’s fanbase that we could really focus on,” said Dagg. “We’ve been forensic in identifying and working out bespoke strategies for each of those demographics – tailoring the content, advertising platform and creative. In the absence of traditional hit singles, we knew it was essential to drive each of the major promo looks, so we could join the dots effectively for a more mainstream audience on album release and into the next stage of the campaign.”

To read the interview with Fender’s team pick up the latest issue – or subscribers can click here.

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