Last spring, Coldplay fans were left to release the new album’s lyrics to the world rather than Coldplay themselves. The four man British band carries with them much prestige, recognition, and clout, having received awards from 25 different internationally and nationally accredited music organizations. Over the years, they’ve been awarded 8 times from the Brit Awards–winning Best British Album three times and Best British Group three times. In the United States, they’ve racked up 7 Grammy Awards from 30 nominations, with 2009 proving to be their best year. Due to their highly established identification in the music sphere, they were able to accomplish an international mission successfully, but not without the assistance of social media.
For their seventh album, Ghost Stories, Coldplay wished to extend their art directly to the fans before the album’s actual release date. Chris Martin, the lead singer, hid his handwritten lyrics in ghost story books in 9 countries around the world. The band posted tweets revealing their plan and clues to locations of hidden songs paired with the hashtag “#lyricshunt”.
In a seemingly worldwide treasure hunt, fans from every country flocked to libraries in the hopes of stumbling upon an envelope with Martin’s scripted lyrics, and also, a ‘golden ticket’ for fans to travel to London for one of their shows. The band’s twitter kept tabs of updates from fans, posting pictures from those lucky enough to find the lyrics. Their choice of utilizing Twitter as their platform of social media was wise, especially considering the fact that Twitter is used the most as a technology to support fandom, serving more of a purpose than TV and other streaming audiovisual media, according to Tim Highfield.
Coldplay’s interactive promotion of Ghost Stories proved an advantageous move for the British group. Not only did the act attract a lot of media attention, it also awarded them the People’s Choice Webby Award. The Webby’s are a leading international award organization that recognizes excellence on the Internet, in particular with promotion.