Anatomy of a Hit: The Vamps – Can We Dance

It’s time for the third instalment of my new feature, analysing the highest charting new entry to the UK singles chart top 10 each week, and I’m so excited to be writing about this week’s biggest new hit…

#2 – The Vamps – Can We Dance

Although I was disappointed that The Vamps didn’t quite make it to no.1, it was amazing that they reached no.2 considering Can We Dance hovered around the bottom of the top 10 on iTunes all week. Unusually, it was physical sales, mostly sold from their official website, which gave them that boost. I’ve been impressed with The Vamps’ marketing campaign from the beginning, but it was hard to predict their success, as it’s so rare for a non-X Factor manufactured pop group to break through these days. They built a fanbase through grassroots marketing, combining clever moves with genuine hard work.

The Vamps are the latest protegées of Prestige, the management company behind Busted and McFly. Although they specialise in instrument-playing groups, their approach to launching new acts is pure pop. The Vamps, like Busted and McFly, were put together by Prestige. Cuteness was clearly the main criteria, along with an existing YouTube fanbase. They did the rounds of the labels, including an impromptu (or maybe not) acoustic performance outside Sony for waiting One Direction fans, which magically appeared on YouTube.

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After signing to Mercury, The Vamps carried on posting YouTube covers on their group and individual channels. They ticked all the old boyband marketing boxes – support tour, summer pop gigs, fan meetups, CD signings – but also made the most of new technology, releasing multiple versions of Can We Dance on iTunes and interacting with fans through Twitter, Instagram and webchats. They didn’t do anything that hasn’t been done before, but it was a comprehensive, well-executed campaign which truly deserved to pay off. The Vamps may well be the beginning of another “real music” phase, like the one Busted annoyingly ushered in, but it feels wrong to complain when it happens in such an inspiring way (and that lead singer is so cute…).

Come back next Monday to read my thoughts on the highest new entry in the top 10. Will it be Miley Cyrus, The Saturdays, Conor Maynard, Eminem or John Newman?

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