Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats; Stax, Concord Music Group
INDEPENDENT ATTITUDE, MAJOR MUSCLE, GLOBAL AMBITION
Nathaniel Rateliff is an American singer songwriter from Denver who, since 2013, has been performing and recording as the soulful R&B band, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats. He is signed to the iconic Stax label through Fantasy Records (both of which are owned by Concord Music Group) in the US and distributed globally by Caroline, part of Universal Music.
An early solo career consisting of two albums had built a small but dedicated fan base, but the formation of Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, and the launch of their eponymous debut album in 2015,marked a new promotional approach.
Fantasy Records president, Margi Cheske, describes how their strategy was focussed on reaching global markets from the outset: “From the start it was a global campaign, eight months before the record was due we were planning in all markets all over the world. “It’s a global market now and, with some exceptions, that’s how you have to think, you can’t just have a local view. You can maybe start locally, but if you don’t hit the rest of the world early, you’ll find it very hard to catch up later."
The campaign drew heavily on the band’s live appeal and, in advance of the album launch, showcase slots were held in key cities around the world. A performance was booked on American talk show, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, to help generate further buzz around lead single S.O.B.
Cheske also points to the importanceof working closely with Caroline, part of a major record companythat dedicated itself wholeheartedlyto an independent artist: “We have a global distribution deal with Universal and that allows us to put some records out through Caroline. They were big fans of Nathaniel, they were very excited about the record and they came back with an innovative marketing plan that we all really liked. We worked with them daily and they did an amazing job on this record; it was a real partnership."
By the end of February 2017, the Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats album had sold 470,000units in the US and 240,000 across the rest of the world.
A global strategy, a key strategic partnership and an abundance of data all played a part in launching an important new independent artist, but, Cheske concludes: “Honestly, it all still starts with a great record. It was a record that everyone was passionate about and it made them want to work hard to give it the audience it deserved.”