May 25, 2012 at 11:25 am

How Kylie Minogue Fans Blew Up Twitter to Unlock a Video


kylie minogue twitter video

This is a guest post from regular Evolver.fm contributor James Martin of midemblog.

This morning, Kylie Minogue‘s new video was unlocked by her fans, who had been asked to generate 25,000 #KylieTimeBomb tweets in order to access her new song, “Timebomb.” They did so in less than an hour. At the campaign’s peak, it reached 10 tweets per second, making the Antipodean singer the number one trending topic on Twitter in just six minutes. Once the tweet target had been reached, the below video was revealed, and the song made available on iTunes and Spotify.

No sooner was it all over, Syd Lawrence — an independent developer via his own shop, wemakeawesomesh.it and participant in midem hack day 2012 – told us all about the making of this next-generation, single launch campaign.

midemblog: How did you get involved with this project?

Syd Lawrence: I’ve now done three ‘tweet to unlocks’ for Kylie, through EMI. This one was by far the biggest, as this was for a brand new track. It’s Kylie’s 25th anniversary, so we have been running one each month on the 25th. EMI contacted me after having seen some of the other projects [in which] I have been involved.

How did the mechanism actually work? Did a tweet counter make the video go public, or just reveal a hidden page of the site?

We simply had a tally of tweets. A few minutes before we reached our target, the video was set to go live on YouTube. We almost had one issue where a video looked like it wasn’t going to go live in time, so we had to make a last second switch to get a working video up. Once the target is reached, the site then goes and finds out what video it should be displaying. The site itself didn’t even know until minutes before, as we didn’t want people to find a link early, as some Kylie fans were digging about in the source code a few days before it went live. Unfortunately they found out that it was going to be 25,000 tweets of #KylieTimeBomb to unlock a video, which is a little bit of a shame. But I think if anything, it got some of the smaller music blogs chatting about it in time for the launch of her new single.

What was the most challenging part of the project for you? How long did it take, from first contact with the client to final delivery?

To be honest, the challenging part was triple/quadrouple checking that it works. There is nothing worse than seeing 4,000 people on a site at any given time waiting for a countdown to end, for nothing to happen.

Would you say it’s encouraging that artists this big are willing to experiment so much?

They have a mass audience who are eager to find out about all the new things their musical heroes or heroines are doing. It’s relatively cheap to do that using methods like this.

Or rather is it just a case of making your launch stand out?

Yeah, absolutely it is, it’s getting your launch in front of as many fans as you possibly can. They could buy from iTunes, from the page, as soon as the video went live. I must stress: They could buy before it was even on radio.

Are hackers the industry’s new darlings?

Ask me again in six months’ time.

Syd Lawrence’s midem hack day hacks and others on midemblog.

Syd Lawrence on Evolver.fm: