Last week the XX made their entire second album available online for fans to listen to prior to the official American release date. To promote the release the album was streamed on a site, a single fan was given a link to this site (chosen as a superfan) and was free to share it via Facebook, Twitter and email. This they did 24 hours after first release in which the site crashed due to millions of streams. The XX worked with Internet Explorer to map how the site was spread from this single source across the world through an interactive website.
The site can be shared via Twitter, Facebook and email and every single one of these shares is visualised on a map with a 'ray of light' beam that points from the share source location to the recipients location. A slider bar can be adjusted to select the period of sharing activity that you want to see. The site is built exclusively in HTML5 and works plug in free on all modern browsers.
Whilst the visualisation looks pretty, I think it could have benefitted from offering more interactivity. I would have liked to zoom in and see the exact location of the shares and be able to select shorter periods on the timeline, a summary of the stats may have also been interesting.
The bands record label told The Guardian that they aimed to draw attention to the albums release date, the fact the site crashed 24 hours after launch due to the millions of streams it received suggests they have achieved this. By embracing digital sharing, the bands record label have not only grown awareness but also rewarded the fans who helped create the success of the XX's first album through word of mouth - the fact the band shared the album with fans before the official launch date reflects well.
What are your thoughts on this promotional approach? Are you impressed with the visualisation of the data? And have you seen any similar ideas used to promote song and album releases? Let us know in the comments!