url & Havêa Records – from 0 to 1 million streams
IDOL and Havêa Records have been working together for a little over a year now. When the German label signed url (pronounced “Earl”), the American singer-songwriter had only put out a handful of self-released singles through Distrokid without creating a full strategy. Phil previously worked as an A&R and Product Manager at Majestic Casual for several years and also has been releasing music himself as part of Nu Disco-trio Les Loups since 2010. His own indie label Havêa Records launched in January that year, with url as his first international signing. It is altogether the story of a brand new label and a promising new artist who both evolved very quickly.
url released his first EP, ruiners club, in November 2021. Before working with Havêa Records, the artist didn’t have a significant profile on any platform, and roughly 500 monthly listeners on Spotify at the start of 2021. Marit Posch, General Manager of IDOL Germany, explains how, together with the label, they built his profile to where it is today.
The initial objective for url’s releases in 2021 was simple: reach a million streams. “Phil from Havêa Records, is pretty realistic about what is possible to achieve with a newcomer: he was aware of the difficulties, because, even if the label is very young, he is already well set in the music business”. Marit explains that they mostly worked on a digital marketing strategy. “We had a few exchanges with Antonio Rescigno, our Digital Marketing Manager at IDOL, and we applied a social media budget. It may not have been a big budget, but the money was well spent and it really helped grow his profile.”
“Before we even released url’s first single through Havêa and with IDOL’s distribution support, I wanted to make sure that his artist profile was as appealing as possible to editors and listeners.” Phil explains. “We took down 3 of his earliest singles that hadn’t performed well, redelivered 2 other singles through Labelcamp, fully remastered and with new and more consistent artwork, while also slightly rebranding the formatting of his artist name and release titles across DSPs.”
“One chance was that url is very active on social media, TikTok as well as Instagram,” notices Marit. “His modern approach really helped develop his profile on streaming platforms. The head of the label, Phil Landmann, had a clear idea of what he wanted, and helped url with the production of his songs, building a local team of creatives handling the art direction and mastering, as well as content creation for social media. Together with the artist, they had a deep reflection about their target group, building a social media plan, and they did a really good job.”
The label also decided to release each track as a single leading up to the EP. “We intentionally released the EP track by track, with a remix released four to six weeks after each single. Which means releasing once a month, and this worked out pretty well, especially with the remixes because they got url into electronic music playlists such as Poolside Grooves, Choice Edit, OFF POP and Oyster on Spotify, helping us reach new audiences.”
This strategy, along with the digital marketing, proved to be successful. Marit details: “Spotify supported the artist from early on, we might have a fan in the US editorial team! And then Spotify Germany followed because Havêa Records is a German label. Afterwards, we got nice support from Apple Music and, later on, Amazon Music. We got into a Bedroom Pop playlist on Amazon and it spread to other DSPs.” In early December, url reached 1,3 million streams on Spotify alone.
“I was in direct touch with the artist, and the label was really communicative, providing assets and all the info I needed…” says Marit. “It’s a dream for a Label manager! Especially when you work with newcomers, as they don’t necessarily have a professional management, it can be pretty chaotic. But all Havêa Records’ releases are high quality music with a special touch that separates them from other releases in their genre. Phil Landmann is a really good A&R with a lot of great ideas.”