Cazzette Team With Spotify, Top Dance Chart & Won Record Deal; Without Selling Single Song

Four months ago, few had heard of Swedish EDM duo Cazzette.

Today, the act, two DJs from a small coastal town on the outskirts of Gothenberg, Sweden, has crested not just one Billboard chart, but three--Dance Club Songs, Global Dance Songs and On-Demand Songs. The group then capped its accomplishments with a contract with Island Def Jam-all without having sold a single track.

Cazzette's unlikely rise to prominence wasn't an accident. Rather, it was an orchestrated affair between Spotify and Cazzette manager Ash Pournouri, a scrappy EDM up-and-comer who also manages Avicii. Each brought different agendas, but they united over a common goal: to lift Cazzette out of obscurity. Pournouri wanted to leverage Cazzette's success as a strong second act to launch his own EDM label, PRMD. Spotify wanted to show the world it was capable of breaking a new artist, the way broadcast radio could.

Combined, their Pygmalion plan for Cazzette was unconventional for a number of reasons. First, Cazzette decided not to sell any tracks from its debut album, "Eject." "It's important for people to like your music before you start selling it," says Sebastian Furrer, 19, who with Alexander Bjorklund makes up Cazzette. "I remember when Skrillex's first EP came out for free. Two months after that, he was huge."

Second, "Eject" was released in three phases, with new tracks coming out a month apart. The first set of tracks was radio-friendly, the second had a house feel, and the third had a hard edge. The original idea was to build momentum and slowly milk the album during a longer period of time. The accidental outcome was that Cazzette, having not been pigeonholed into any genre, wound up attracting three different audiences, each gravitating to the different sounds on the album.

Finally, neither Pournouri nor Spotify spent money on marketing. Aside from the usual social media outreach and promotion at live performances, the group leaned heavily on Spotify to hype the album. In addition to a blizzard of email promotions, Spotify pushed Cazzette through recommendations on its Facebook app, as well as through in-house ads, both audio and visual, on the service's mobile and browser platforms.

The results: Cazzette's Facebook likes more than doubled from 42,969 on Nov. 2 (11 days before the act released the first set of tracks) to 92,564 as of April 8. Likewise, Twitter followers grew from 19,663 to 38,832 during the same period. Average gate attendance grew from about 1,500 people per show to 8,500 for Cazzette's most recent solo show in Monterrey, Mexico, according to Pournouri. In total, the album's tracks were streamed more than 16 million times on Spotify, peaking at 300,000 streams a day in late February. Lead single "Beam Me Up" debuted at No. 20 on the On-Demand Songs chart on March 23, topped Dance Club Songs in early April after an eight-week climb and spent 10 weeks on Global Dance Songs, peaking at No. 16 on April 6.

Regardless of who deserves credit for Cazzette's achievements, everyone got what they wanted. The group landed a major-label contract. Pournouri got an anchor client to launch his own label. And Spotify earned bragging rights by breaking a new band, as well as becoming a case study on building a marketing platform for artists that's akin to what broadcast radio can offer.

"Our partners in the music industry are now coming to us and saying, 'I would like to have that opportunity.' It was not at all lost on them the level of visibility we gave to Cazzette," Spotify global head of content Steve Savoca says. "That was the level of interest we were hoping to attract. The music industry's understanding of the value of Spotify is much clearer now."


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