A SUMMER FORUM: Capitol's 5 Seconds of Summer, whose hotly anticipated album streets this week and is set to crash into the #1 spot on next week's HITS Album Sales Chart with sales in the 250-275k ball park, will headline a show at L.A.'s newly refurbished Forum on 11/15, it was announced today; pre-sales begin on Saturday (7/26) at 11am. In the meantime, of course, the band is stoking the fire surrounding the album drop with a huge TODAY Show appearance today, a block party on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Thursday (7/24) and other splashy stuff. As we noted earlier, the Aussies' eponymous full-length (which earned more pre-orders than any release in UMGD history) is making the iTunes album chart its bitch; they're currently on a massive tour with One Direction (with whom they share Modest Management); and they'll be among the performers at the VMAs on 8/24. The world, as the saying goes, is their oyster. To discover how they got here, see our setup story.
Here’s your summer forecast: Hot.
Capitol’s 5 Seconds of Summer at last rolls out its full-length debut this week, following up the Aussie pop-rock heartthrobs’ well-received EP, She Looks So Perfect (which bowed at #2 in April with 143k; it’s now at 365k with TEA) with a multimedia barrage in the midst of their massive arena tour with One Direction.
When the EP streeted, Capitol chief Steve Barnett told us he saw it as "just the first chapter in what’s going to be a long run for us," and the label is clearly putting its money where its mouth is. The album has already achieved the biggest preorder in UMGD history, we’re told, at about 125k, and has thus far hit #1 at iTunes in six territories and Top 5 in five others. At this point it’s expected to bow in the neighborhood of 200k+.
The self-titled album features songs written and/or produced by busbee (Christina Aguilera, Jason Aldean), The Madden Brothers, John Feldmann (Panic! At the Disco, The Used), Biffco (1D, Ellie Goulding), Steve Robson (1D, James Blunt) and Lindy Robbins (Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, MKTO) among others. There’s a greater edge in the band’s sound this time out, which melds soaring romantic hooks with seriously crunchy guitar.
"I think that people will come to realize with this album that this is very much a rock band," says Capitol EVP Greg Thompson. "Of course, they also play gentler songs. But I think there’s hunger out there for more guitar."
Each of the album’s "instant grat" tracks on iTunes—"Don’t Stop," "Good Girls," and "Kiss Me Kiss Me"—has gone to #1 at the download store. New track "Amnesia" (co-written by The Madden Brothers) impacts Pop and Hot AC at presstime; its lyric video has earned 5m+ views (the official clip is due 7/31). With the addition of Hot AC, Thompson emphasizes, "We’re getting not only the soccer players but the soccer moms."
Release week will see the band hitting The Today Show and Jimmy Kimmel’s Outdoor Stage, a Ryan Seacrest interview, iHeartRadio and MTV live streams and a Spotify drop (they’ve already been streamed about 21m times). On 8/24 they’ll perform on the VMAs. "They’ve committed to spending a ton of time in the U.S," Thompson points out. "They’ll be here through Christmas, playing holiday shows."
Though the lion’s share of retail on release week will be digital, a Target-exclusive deluxe CD package offers four different covers, four extra tracks and other value-added content that Capitol believes will up the physical-sales quotient over time. A standard edition will go to all physical retailers. "I believe fans will buy the digital version and go buy this Target version," says Capitol SVP Marketing Kirdis Postelle.
Postelle has emphasized the importance of social media in the band’s growth, with "fan-facing" initiatives that constantly reinforce the idea of a 5SOS family. "They control everything," she adds. The Aussies currently enjoy about 3.7m Twitter followers and 5.5m Facebook likes. Their VEVO channel has 1.2m subscribers.
"All of the exciting things happening for 5 Seconds Of Summer is a testament, first off, to the talent and drive of this great young band," Barnett enthuses. "The fan response is phenomenal, and sold-out arenas and record-setting pre-orders are not something that can be faked or manufactured. What is happening is all very real and bodes well for a long and promising future for 5SOS.
"But all successful international campaigns have a team of motivated professionals at the helm and behind the scenes," he continues, "and we are all benefiting from incredible management, led by my longtime friends Richard Griffiths and Harry Magee. Then, of course, there’s the great teamwork between Capitol in the U.S.—led by Greg Thompson and Kirdis Postelle—and Capitol in the UK, led by my friend and colleague Nick Raphael. They are all doing a remarkable job."
Raphael described the project to us earlier this year as "more than 20 years of relationships coming together on one project," reflecting the long-term professional and personal ties between Barnett, Griffiths and Raphael.
The band, consisting of frontman-guitarist Luke Hemmings, guitarist Michael Clifford, bassist Calum Hood and drummer Ashton Irwin, formed in Sydney in 2011 and first made an impression on YouTube.
The band came to the attention of Modest Management’s Griffiths and McGhee in 2012, courtesy of Matt Emsell, then of Wonder Management, who came aboard with the band. One Direction, of course, were Modest roster-mates, but 1D’s Louis and Niall were already admirers and invited 5SOS on tour. Griffiths notes that 1D fans’ response to the Aussie boys was "insane."
The veteran manager took the band to Capitol U.K. head Raphael and SVP Jo Charrington, who were enthralled by the lads’ live presentation and jumped on the project.
"By the time the 5 Seconds of Summer album comes out in the U.S.," Raphael insists, "it will be the result of over 3 1/2 years of work by the guys since Luke first started posting covers on YouTube on his own to the band's formation to touring with Hot Chelle Rae in Australia to signing to Wonder Management then in turn Modest then Capitol U.K. to recording and writing their record. For anyone thinking they are an overnight success, think again—this is the hardest-working band I've met in 20 years of being a record executive!"
The slayage is impending. If they really do land in the 250-275k range, that would put them in line with Katy/Miley/Gaga from last year which is saying something for an brand new import band.