Above, Urturn co-founders Olivier de Simone and Vincent Borel in the VIP suites at MIDEM
Webdoc, a startup that was one of the four winners of last year’s Midemlab competition, has rebranded just in time for MIDEM 2013 as Urturn — with the addition of a new “Expression” API designed to help labels and artists promote user-generated content across social media.
The company has been working directly with labels like RCA, Columbia, Polydor and Interscope, along with artists like One Direction, Rihanna, Pink, Ellie Goulding, The Script, Kendrick Lamar, Alicia Keys, Green Day and Kimbra. Using the Urturn Expression platform, artists can share customizable content like birthday cards, album release flyers and digital billboards to share on their social profiles, with access to a dashboard of data that tells you everything from location and time spent to number of shares and the types of devices used.
Kendrick Lamar was the subject of a preliminary use of the Urturn platform last fall, when Webdoc partnered with Interscope for an interactive campaign that allowed fans to insert themselves into his Good Kid M.A.D.D. City cover using the album’s signature black line across the eyes. “Fans really connected with him, and were very proud of the posts – the click-through rates were really high,” said Urturn co-founder Vincent Borel, noting that the Lamar campaign received a viral lift of 30% and engagement from 10% of fans who viewed the content.
The campaign was the proof of concept Borel had been looking for ever since Webdoc gained early industry traction from last year’s MIDEM. “Everyone was saying engagement is the new metric, but how do we measure engagement and how do we get artists engaged?” he said. “We set out to measure content creation – who was creating content around a particular artist, around a particular topic, and getting the viral word-of-mouth out.”
Another recent artist tie-in, One Direction, utilized the Urturn platform to send musical birthday postcards to different band members. This created a useful model for future campaigns, he noted. “Today when you share a track you only share a link and play button — but the play button is driving no emotion,” he said. “The analogy is: I’m walking on the Croisette in Cannes, I’m taking a picture of the sea and I would think about ‘The Girl From Ipanema,’ add in the button and then share that song. In some ways a it’s a disruption of the play button. You add a lot of contextual emotion.”