Capitol Records and Awesomeness are taking the virtual concert route to promote the soundtrack to “To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You,” the Netflix
“Before COVID-19 hit, artists obviously had the ability to build fan bases and develop credibility by live touring, in-person events, promotion, publicity and performance opportunities, says Bridie Connellan, director of marketing at Capitol Music Group. “With the landscape of that feeling wildly uncertain, online is now the space in which artists must connect with their existing fans, find new ones and really think about how they are getting their vision and message across in a way that is also still meaningful and authentic to them… it’s absolutely crucial.”
The team at Awesomeness, the ViacomCBS studio that targets Gen Z, approached Capitol with the idea for to All The Music, a virtual showcase featuring performances by cast members and soundtrack artists including top-liner Lana Condor, who’s hosting the event, and Anthony De La Torre covering “I Like Me Better” by Lauv, Janel Parrish covering “About Love” by Marina, Chaz Cardigan, Cyn, the New Respects and Bad Child.
“The thing that sets this apart from other virtual concerts is the involvement of cast from the film,” says Anton Monsted, EVP, soundtracks, at Capitol Music Group. “It’s a format we hope to expand upon with upcoming projects.”
Nikki Scoggins, SVP, creative at Awesomeness Digital Studio, says in the absence of concerts and festivals, “We looked at what we could do to create unique musical moments and some of the unexpected surprises you might get at a concert, or unexpected collaborations. It feels more visceral. There are mistakes, there are giggles.”
Music is central to the DNA of the Awesomeness demo, Scoggins says, and presents ample opportunities for virtual connections. Among them, musical performances will be baked into Awesomeness’ July 25 VidCon “Night of Awesomeness”, which will feature rapper/producer JUFU, Avenue Beat, and the Montes Twins. The studio also is piloting several music-saturated online fan experiences and is in the works on a new emerging artist showcase series targeted for fall.
“We’re trying to figure out how we have music and art continue while we can’t all be together in large groups. This will be the first of many bigger events that we start to translate,” Scoggins says. “It’s all evolving. We’ll see what works out of this, what people gravitate toward, and we’ll make it even better for the next time.”
“It is an uncertain time for the world, and it’s important for artists to create connection and moments of comfort wherever and whenever they can for their fans,” Connellan says. “Every single person in this business has had to adjust their strategy and think more strategically and creatively about how we release and market music. But at the end of the day we have an audience hungry for content, creativity and a genuine connection to artists who are also in their own homes.”
For many artists, the current environment has propelled an uptick in virtual fan outreach. “People need a friend more, people are lonely,” Condor says. “More and more fans are reaching out during thus time because they want someone to talk to. During this time we’re finding ways to have connections, and deeper connections. Events like our To All The Music and all these virtual events are beautiful things because they make people feel less isolated.”
Connection To A Cause
Aside from connecting fans, To All the Music will raise money for the Save the Music Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring instrumental music education in public schools and raising awareness about the importance of music education.
“Right now it is the most important to have a purpose and a cause of why you are creating art,” says Condor, who runs a scholarship program to help put girls through school in Vietnam.
“This is something my Asian followers are very passionate about. As we’ve been expanding activism with Black Lives Matter and within music, I’m finding young people are vastly intelligent and need to grab on to something more than just your piece of work,” she says. “There needs to be a message behind what you are doing. Our fans really jump on that and they feel more inclined to participate in our work because now there’s a greater purpose.”
Capitol’s Connellan concurs. “Right now everything we do should have the intention to better the world in some way,” she says. “We are incredibly aware of the young listeners, viewers and fans of the ‘To All The Boys’ series and soundtracks and we are also aware of the challenges they now face in being at home for an undeterminable amount of time.”