Chances are, most people have never heard of Cazzette. But if Spotify has its way, the Swedish electronic music duo will soon enjoy plenty of fame.
In an experiment to see if it can become a next-generation digital star-making machine, Spotify is putting its entire marketing might behind Cazzette, which is coming out with its debut album, Eject, Nov. 13 on the streaming music service.
For Spotify, the idea is to find out whether it can help break new bands. In doing so, Spotify isn't necessarily looking to usurp the role of labels as much as test whether its on-demand music service can help boost artist revenue, either by fueling downloads or by driving fans to concerts.
"We want to be a powerful partner to artists so they can leverage our platform to build strong one-to-one relationships with their fans," said Steve Savoca, Spotify's global head of content. "That's something we've been putting a lot of effort into lately." Savoca argued that Spotify's heavy promotion of Kendrick Lamar's latest album, good kid, m.A.A.d. city, helped fuel the artist's rise to the No. 2 spot on the Billboard 200 in October.
"Even though there are a number of factors that drove that, we'd like to take some credit for raising awareness for Kendrick," Savoca said.
For Cazzette, the gambit carries little risk and a potentially big upside. The DJ duo, consisting of 23-year-old Alexander Björklund and 19-year old Sebastian Furrer, make most of their money from live performances. As a result, they care less about the question of whether on-demand streaming cannibalizes album sales than most established artists.
"Album sales are secondary," Björklund said, noting that he and his partner can do as many as three shows a night. "Of course, the promotion will reflect album sales, but that's not the main reason we're doing this. Accessibility and exposure is more important for us, as opposed to selling as many CDs as possible."
He also cited the flexibility of working with Spotify to debut songs.
"We have a lot of freedom to release whenever we want," Björklund said. "We're not tied down to any release schedule. And we can add whatever content we like to our own application within Spotify. It's an entirely different approach."
Ash Pournouri, Cazzette's manager, said that without a major label or other corporate marketing machine behind them, it will be much easier to measure how much Spotify will contribute to the group's success down the road.
The band will measure success by looking at album sales, gate attendance and social media connections.
"We're also hoping to make the Spotify charts," Pournouri said earnestly, with no hint of irony.
"It's an experiment," Björklund acknowledged. "The idea of it is really cool. We're excited to learn what will happen."
We'll check back with the band in three months to find out. In the meantime, here's a snapshot of where Cazzette stood as of Nov. 2, the day before Spotify's publicists launched their marketing campaign on behalf of the group.
Facebook Fans: 42,969
Twitter Followers: 19,663
SoundCloud Followers: 18,435
Average gate attendance: Between 1,000 and 1,500 tickets per show
Album sales: $0 (debut album releases Nov. 13)