This Grammy-Nominated Country Singer Is Using the Swarm App to Offer Sneak Peeks of Her Album

Kelsea Ballerini exchanges videos and song clips for check-ins

Kelsea Ballerini hopes to zero in on a young, tech-savvy audience.
Kelsea Ballerini/Instagram

Hey, it’s summer, so ’tis the season for scavenger-hunt-styled marketing efforts. A new example is 23-year-old country singer Kelsea Ballerini, who was nominated for Best New Artist at the Grammy Awards this year.

Ballerini is offering sneak peeks on the Foursquare-owned mobile app, Swarm, to generate buzz for her sophomore album, Unapologetically, which will be released by Black River Entertainment on Nov. 3. Through this weekend, global users of Swarm—which reportedly attracts about 8 million check-ins a day—can follow Ballerini and the Swarm app on Facebook and Instagram to receive hints on where fans can visit to earn 30-second clips of her new songs. A combined 1.2 million people follow the singer on Facebook and Instagram.

After checking in on Swarm, a video takeover ad appears on the smartphone users’ screen. Then, her fans can swipe and tap the screen to get video clips of either Ballerini’s new tunes or her talking about the songs. They can also either save the clip on Swarm for later viewing or clickthrough to watch an entire music video on YouTube for her first single on Unapologetically, which is called “Legends” and was released in early June.

There’s also a feature letting viewers see the album’s tracks. The music initiative is timed to capitalize on the release of Swarm 5.0, an update which became available on Tuesday in app stores and entails more travel-journal-styled elements and interactive features then before. Ballerini’s endeavor represents a first-of-its-kind effort on the Swarm, per a Foursquare rep.

“It definitely was unchartered territory, but it felt right,” the songstress told Adweek via email. The app “is a way for people to log their life which is a perfect parallel to the music on this album. It’s a journal of my last few years—there’s a song for every mood or place my fans might find themselves.”

Since Ballerini released “Legends,” she’s gained some media traction by appearing on ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Meanwhile, her Swarm campaign underscores that the app continues to attract advertisers, such as OTT subscription service YouTube Red, financial brand TD Bank and tequila Herradura Ultra in recent months. So Foursquare Labs, Swarm’s parent, still has media-based revenue streams in addition to business-to-business-minded Foursquare, which has pivoted hard toward offering retail location intelligence.