A Snow Patrol star has credited Ed Sheeran for blazing the trail in harnessing social media to get ahead in the music business.
Drummer Jonny Quinn said the singer-songwriter taught Gary Lightbody and the rest of the Northern Ireland band how to use the power of Twitter when he toured as their support act in North America in 2012.
“He taught Gary, our singer, how to use Twitter,” Quinn told a business event in Belfast.
“And he was telling us about when he started out and he couldn’t get any of his music on radio but he had a million Twitter followers, and basically he asked his Twitter followers to tweet Radio One and say ‘play Ed Sheeran’, and they all en masse hit up Radio One, and when they looked at it they realised, ‘that’s our age group, that’s who we are meant to be appealing to’, and they started playing him because they just couldn’t resist this en masse.
“That, for us, was learning about how he could mobilise, with no money, no marketing spend - it would have taken £100,000 to do anything - to move the dial.
“He was also very good at it, he adopted it very early before anyone else, so he was able to use that tool and now he’s got 12.5 million Twitter followers.”
Quinn, who away from the stage runs a music publishing company, was addressing business figures on how new technology has impacted his industry, at the event hosted by BT.
He reflected on how big labels were slow to spot the shift in how fans accessed music, with the emergence of file-sharing and downloading. Quinn said the industry had “finally woken up” to the new landscape.
The BT Business Innovation Breakfast was held at the Titanic Belfast centre.