The lead single off the duo’s eagerly-awaited Random Access Memories, their first studio album in eight years, “Get Lucky” came together fortuitously itself. Co-writer Rodgers, who also contributes a funky guitar riff, had been wanting to collaborate with Daft Punk for years before their schedules finally synced up. And it was a shared interest in Rodgers’ Chic that brought Daft Punk together with Pharrell, who recorded his vocals separately.
Pharrell had “gotten off a plane totally jet-lagged, and they made him take some crazy elixir,” remembers Def Jam executive vp of marketing and commerce Scott Greer, who oversaw marketing for Daft Punk at Columbia Records at the time. “He went into the studio and knocked it out, and then just went on his way.”
But months of careful planning, shrouded in secrecy, went into making the song a hit. It began with a simple Facebook post of the duo’s trademark robot helmets -- an image that was later replicated, with no explanation, on billboards across the country. “At the time, that wasn't being done -- music wasn't marketed like a brand item necessity,” Greer says. “But it created this conversation without saying anything.”
Similarly, after a 15-second teaser of the song aired during a March episode of Saturday Night Live, Entercom senior vp of programming and music initiatives Michael Martin remembers fans debating over the lyrics. “People were trying to [decipher], what are they saying?” he remembers. “As humans, we flirt, and that’s what Daft Punk was doing with us -- flirting.” Next, the duo unveiled an extended trailer at Coachella, causing a spectacle without setting foot onstage.
When the full song was finally unleashed in April 2013, it was an instant hit, setting a new Spotify record for first-day streams. Two months later, “Get Lucky” reached its No. 2 peak on the Hot 100, becoming Daft Punk’s first top five single.
This was all well before artists started wiping social media pages to signal impending news, leaving Easter egg clues for fans to decipher and dropping surprise releases left and right. As Daft Punk was carrying their album in a locked titanium suitcase and making everyone who knew of its existence sign a non-disclosure agreement, the rest of the industry was just catching onto the idea that giving the world a mystery to solve could help sell songs. In fact, Greer can only compare the final “Get Lucky” reveal to sitting in Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment headquarters eight months later, launching the star’s legendary self-titled surprise visual album: “What was special was seeing the reaction,” he says.