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Purity Ring and the potential of Instagram

Mar 06, 2015

By John Crossingham

A big part of a band knowing how to use social media to their advantage is understanding what speaks best to their own particular strengths. Audio mediums such as Soundcloud are often a given; you are, after all, making something to be listened to. Without big budgets, things like lyric videos, phone camera endeavours, and basic uploads are making it easier and easier for most bands to have a healthy YouTube presence.

But after that, what is your band’s social strength with the most capacity to grow?

As Purity Ring release their anticipated second LP, Another Eternity, this month, a few numbers hint at what theirs might be. With three new singles released since December, their YouTube, Soundcloud, and Last.fm numbers are skyrocketing. But we can see something else lurking under the surface: Since Another Eternity was announced on January 13th, their Instagram followers have jumped by a proportionally huge amount. Same with the medium’s comments and likes. Take a look at the % Change column below.

In terms of actual numbers, those overall totals are still massively dwarfed by YouTube and the like. Yes, these Instagram numbers are technically small potatoes.

So who cares about Instagram? In a lot of ways, it’s all about the potential for growth, and where it is greatest. Next Big Sound, a company that specializes in tracking social media numbers in the music industry, has identified that Instagram is one of the metrics primed for the most growth in the coming years. While Twitter has somewhat plateaued, Instagram spent 2014 growing far faster, and with far higher to still climb.

Another reason why this is significant for Purity Ring? They’re the kind of band for whom Instagram is tailor made.

found the alternate dimension in mirrors

A post shared by purityring (@purityring) on

soon i will take pics of you from the stage. and ill always wear my own band shirts ha.

A post shared by purityring (@purityring) on

Since its inception, the band’s account is essentially the domain of frontwoman Megan James. Highlighted by self-tailored clothing, found-object curiosity, and hair somewhere between late Victorian and a mullet, the singer has cultivated a distinct visual personality. It’s the perfect fodder for a visual platform like Instagram. Not to mention far more engaging than the usual musician photo content of live shots, gear, and the road.

More than that is the band’s relationship with artist Tallulah Fontaine. An emerging artist whose work has graced Purity Ring’s album covers and merchandise, amongst other things, Fontaine is a regular poster to Instagram. The two regularly communicate with each other through their sites, creating a pleasant rabbit hole for Purity Ring fans to get lost in.

Drew this planet and a bunch of other fun things for @purityring 's new album Another Eternity. Coming out March 3rd on @4ad and Last Gang in Canada. Photo of Megan by @renataraksha

A post shared by Tallulah Fontaine (@tallulahfontaine) on

Of course, like everything on the internet, this is all contingent on keeping the content coming. Purity Ring are not currently obsessive posters. Aside from the extra attention that accompanies a big new release, a main reason for the sharp uptick in their Instagram numbers comes down to the simple fact that they started posting more often. January alone saw as many posts as all of the second half of 2014.

But based on overall trends, the territory is there for the taking. And certainly Purity Ring have the ammunition to get much more yet out of Instagram.

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