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“These guys have a real voice and it’s resonating with people.”
——Epic’s Scott Seviour
A GREAT BIG WORLD: GETTING OUT THERE
The Rollout of the Duo’s Brand New Debut Album Was a Total Team Effort

With single "Say Something" continuing to blow up (and over 2 million in sales), Black Magnetic/Epic’s A Great Big World bring their full-length debut, Is There Anybody Out There?, to the marketplace today, with all signs indicating it will battle for the top of the Album Sales Chart, just as it soared to the top perch of the iTunes chart immediately after becoming available at midnight East Coast time.

The Pop/Rock duo—consisting of Ian Axel and Chad Vaccarino, who met at NYU’s music school—began making noise last spring, when their bouncy "This Is the New Year" was performed on Glee. The song subsequently earned a number of other TV syncs.

But it’s with "Say Something" that AGBW truly began to take off. In September, the delicate ballad aired on So You Think You Can Dance and—on the strength of a 45-second snippet playing on the show--began selling on iTunes. "It was the show’s biggest-reacting song of the season," says Epic EVP Marketing & Artist Development Scott Seviour. "We knew we had something then." The label responded quickly to the heat, and the song started reacting at Hot AC radio. The pair released a four-song EP and began a tour the following month.

Then Christina Aguilera entered the picture, and the story exploded.

The Pop siren and co-star of NBC’s The Voice fell in love with "Say Something" and joined AGBW in recording a duet version, with the original plan having them perform together on The Voice in late November. "We had that in our back pocket," Seviour says. "We were growing single sales, building the audience on tour in a nicely organic way. We were planning to service the record and work toward the show at the end of the month."

Then the call came that Aguilera wanted the band on The Voice on 11/5, and Team Epic’s lead time for the big reveal suddenly shrank to two weeks. "Fortunately, the song was building nicely and we knew it was a hit on its own," Seviour says. "Since we’d won the lottery with Christina, it was time to turn on the mega-millions." An announcement on 11/1 prompted an Entertainment Tonight segment setting up the Voice performance (with pre-orders beginning the night before), and the night of the broadcast saw the song fly to #1 at iTunes.

Cue the whirlwind. Mere days later, the trio shot the official video for "Something," followed by a VH1 Morning Buzz appearance, the taping of a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show special, West Coast headlining dates and a bi-coastal press blitz. The single impacted at Pop on 11/18, and the video bowed on ET the next evening (it has since earned nearly 20 million VEVO views).

Then came their powerful spot on the American Music Awards, where they once again performed with Aguilera—and returned to #1 at iTunes. "It was the biggest reaction earned by anyone on the show," Seviour says. "Meanwhile, radio and video were happening—everything was pumping." Axel and Vaccarino spent much of December doing holiday radio shows.

The Victoria’s Secret show—their first major TV look without Aguilera—aired on 12/10, and the subsequent retail spike resoundingly demonstrated their ability to sell on their own as well. Christmas week saw them sell 355k singles. In addition to its chart-topping iTunes success (it’s #3 at the moment), "Say Something" has been #1 on the Shazam tag chart for four weeks running and #1 at Spotify.

VH1 made the band a You Oughta Know artist for January, and an array of high-profile TV appearances surround the album release date, including Leno, Good Morning America and Live With Kelly & Michael.

"Say Something" is currently #12 at Top 40, #5 at Hot AC (RateTheMusic research has it #2 with females at the format) and #18 at AC. Expectations are that it also will be a contender for #1 at all formats.

Manager Cyndi Lynott says she’s grateful that "New Year" came before the "Say Something" breakout. "It helped us put this team together," she says. "We have an A-list team, between Black Magnetic, our agent Ken Fermaglich from The Agency Group, Epic Records, our lawyer, Jeremy Mohr, Universal Publishing—we had the team in place and when ‘Say Something’ happened we were able to react in a day. It’s so important that everyone was there and could jump on this and it was all systems go with no lag."

The album generated north of 20k in pre-orders, and iTunes Radio streamed the album in the week leading up to release, with retail promotion at Target, Walmart and Best Buy and an integrated Amazon campaign locked in. A national club tour is underway, including a sold-out 1/16 appearance at NYC’s Highline Ballroom. International promo commences next month.

"It’s thrilling," Seviour notes. "These guys have given us so many firsts since we relaunched Epic. We’ve had some success before this, but this feels, in its totality, like the moment when we’re really breaking an artist. These guys have a real voice and it’s resonating with people."

"When I first discovered their music," notes Black Magnetic founder (and noted music supervisor) PJ Bloom, "I heard classic pop songs that had the ability to speak to a huge audience in an incredibly relatable way. And when I met Chad and Ian, I knew I wanted to be in business with them." He adds, "Our team is as strong as they come," noting the results earned by L.A. Reid’s Epic team and manager Lynott.

"The guys are so genuine, so appreciative—even though they’ve had about two days off in the last three months," Seviour adds. "You just want to put your resources behind that kind of energy."

"There’s been a lot of hard work, a lot of great songwriting and a lot of luck," says Lynott. "You need all of those things for something like this to happen."

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