In pandemic-stricken 2020, Selena Gomez had one of her most successful years yet. After scoring her first Hot 100 No. 1 at the end of 2019 with the vulnerable post-breakup ballad “Lose You To Love Me,” Rare became her third No. 1 title in early 2020, earning 703,000 equivalent album units to date, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. “There’s this bittersweet feeling, of course,” says Gomez. “I would much rather the world be in a better place. Yet at the same time, it was so beautiful to see that my music could hopefully bring some people some sort of joy in the midst of it.”
Her first album since 2015, Rare offered midtempo dance-pop from the perspective of an unguarded superstar — and Interscope’s marketing strategy was tailored to follow suit. “We had to make sure the promotion of the album felt as personal as the music was to her,” says senior vp marketing Matt LaMotte, pointing to intimate listening sessions and online fan Q&As held upon Rare’s January release, as well as album artwork and merchandise that Gomez herself helped curate. When the pandemic hit the United States in March, she launched a new set of merch for the empowering single “Dance Again,” with proceeds going to the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund.