Sound of the Overground: Free music makes for impressive marketing

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A column in which Duncan Greive scours the world’s charts in the hope of finding, if not the perfect beat, then something worth whistling at least.

The Rose Tint, released by David Dallas is probably the most impressive music marketing story of the year. Photo / NZ Herald
The Rose Tint, released by David Dallas is probably the most impressive music marketing story of the year. Photo / NZ Herald

The Locals

I try to avoid talking about the album charts because they seem less connected to pop music than ever, but occasionally events force your hand. Following Dirk Nowitzski's heroics in winning an NBA championship for the Dallas Mavericks, another Dallas, this one named David, has done something quite remarkable. The Rose Tint debuts at number three on the New Zealand album charts, two spots ahead of Bic Runga - who has torn her house down to rebuild it in pretty remarkable fashion herself.

But Dallas' feat is the more impressive. Because despite the 'free album' having been a known approach since Radiohead's In Rainbows, and a way to launch hip hop careers for everyone from Drake to Dallas collaborator Freddie Gibbs, the fusing of various approaches (from an artist pretty deep into his career too), and the staggering success they've wrought, is what's really new here.

To recap: The Rose Tint was released as a free download six months ago, and generated significant amounts of buzz, helped by extremely savvy online promotion from Dallas. Six months later he releases it on CD, and throws ridiculous energy into its release (most impressively a pop up store - an idea borrowed from fashion, but executed better than anyone in that arena I've seen). And despite some major retailers refusing to stock it - including the nation's biggest, The Warehouse - it gets within a SuBo and a Gin of topping the chart.

Which makes The Rose Tint, and Dallas, the most impressive music marketing story of the year from here, maybe from anywhere.

RIANZ Top 10 Album Chart

1. Gin - Gravel and Wine
2. Susan Boyle - Someone to Watch Over Me
3. David Dallas - The Rose Tint: Deluxe Edition
4. Six60 - Six60
5. Bic Runga - Belle
6. Adele - 21
7. Florence + The Machine - Ceremonials
8. Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto
9. Pink Floyd - A Foot in the Door: The Best of
10. Michael Buble - Christmas

The World

America's more sane cousin to the north has nowhere near the troubles from its proximity to the USA that Mexico suffers through, but one bizarre element has just finished working its way through the court system. Those Latter Day Saints who keep the flame of Joseph Smith alive through their commitment to plural marriage - AKA polygamy - have drifted north of the Idaho border chasing freedom to love as grotesquely as they desire (read John Krakauer's superb Under the Banner of Heaven for more on these maniacs). Unfortunately the BC Supreme Court just denied their request for religious freedom. Shame. I'm personally more consumed by another question - where's Canuck native Drake in their singles chart?

Canadian Hot 10

1. Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris - We Found Love
2. LMFAO - Sexy and I Know It
3. David Guetta ft. Usher - Without You
4. Maroon 5 ft. Christina Aguilera - Moves Like Jagger
5. Adele - Someone Like You
6. Flo Rida - Good Feeling
7. Gym Class Heroes ft. Adam Levine - Stereo Hearts
8. Cobra Starship ft. Sabi - You Make Me Feel...
9. Hedley - Invincible
10. Katy Perry - The One That Got Away

The 'net

I know, I know - does anyone really need to know that LMFAO and Adele are really running the game right now? More interesting to me is the appearance of Don Omar, my favourite artist from the reggaeton explosion a few years back. Danza Kuduro is far from his best work, but still sounds great, and has had over 250,000,000 views, second only to Party Rock Anthem. Incredible numbers for a song with no lyrics in English.

YouTube Worldwide Music Chart

1. LMFAO - Sexy and I Know It
2. Adele - Someone Like You
3. Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris - We Found Love
4. Katy Perry - The One That Got Away
5. LMFAO ft. Lauren Bennet & Goon Rock - Party Rock Anthem
6. Adele - Rolling In the Deep
7. Maroon 5 ft. Christina Aguilera - Moves Like Jagger
8. Pitbull ft. Marc Anthony - Rain Over Me
9. Nicki Minaj - Super Bass
10. Don Omar ft. Lucenzo - Danza Kuduro

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