When singer-songwriter Terra Naomi was ready to produce a new album, she knew she didn’t want to work with a major label. Having been through the process before, she decided to set out on her own and crowd-fund her new album. But without the marketing power of a major label behind her, Naomi knew she would need to get creative and leverage new technology and social media to reach new audiences online. Enter Hipstamatic.
Naomi had her first hit on YouTube in 2006 with the video for the song “Say It’s Possible,” which earned her the first YouTube Award for Best Music Video and got her signed with Island Records. Not ready to go down that path again, she leveraged her fan base to help fund a tour and production of her new album, “To Know I’m Ok,” which goes on sale today. But producing an album is only one of the things a record label is good for. Once it’s done, there’s also the tiny matter of getting it noticed.
Since Naomi would be mostly marketing the album herself, she decided to partner with technology and social media companies to do so. The first partner she reached out to was social image sharing app Hipstamatic. What was important to Naomi was creating a real partnership with the app maker, not just using it as a promotional vehicle. “I wanted a partner that would be involved in an ongoing way,” Naomi said.
So they created a contest that would be one of the first of its kind, asking Hipstamatic users to submit photos which would be included in the first music video from Naomi’s album, “You For Me.” The contest asked users to post photos responding to the question, “What do you love?” The result of the contest was a little overwhelming: According to Naomi, Hipstamatic received more than 10,000 photo responses.
So how do you sort through 10,000 photos and find the best ones for your music video? Most of the hard work was done by the community itself, which rated photos to help choose the 100 or so that would make the final cut. Naomi also added a few photos that she especially liked and wanted to make sure were in the video.
The video, which combines visuals of Naomi singing and playing the piano along with Hipstamatic photos interspersed in, was directed by Alex Albrecht, who is probably best known as co-host of Diggnation and The Totally Rad Show. Albrecht, who has been moonlighting as a director on two short sci-fi films, got involved after being connected to Naomi through his agent. This was Albrecht’s first music video, but it likely won’t be his last. Speaking on the phone, he said he enjoyed the ability to allow the music to inform the visuals that were displayed on-screen.
The Hipstamatic deal is just one partnership that Naomi has lined up to promote the song and her new album. She’s also teaming up with social media analysis firm Klout, fashion and music site 1Band1Brand and, of course, YouTube. While YouTube is where Naomi first got her start, five years have passed since she first went viral. So she’ll be working with some of today’s bigger YouTube stars to reach their audiences to promote her new album.