If you do it right, then once is enough. That was the spirit exhibited by the Multi Award-Winning, band during their livestreamed Album Tour dubbed The Midnight Train Virtual Experience to an audience estimated at slightly above 95,ooo viewers across social media channels on a historical night they will long live to cherish. Based on the fans comments and feedback on social platforms, however, once was not enough, as many of them are voicing their yearning for a repeat, or even a re-watch of the experience, which has since been made private on their Channel.
The Midnight Train Virtual Tour wasn’t just an experience, it was a moment in the history of time to the more than 95,000 fans who watched the Livestream at the comforts of their homes, all around the world. For a band that is vastly travelled and exposed globally, it was exciting to see their fans from various cultural backgrounds come together to enjoy and express their joy, bewilderment, gratitude and love for their music icons.
The live band performers smashed previous streaming records, viewers observing that the virtual tour had registered more than 210000 views just 12 hours later. That is well up on the initial peaking of over 32,000 on YouTube alone, for the Midnight Train experience, making it the most-viewed YouTube premiere by any artist in the region. The other notable virtual experience that attracted similar magnitude of interest was for Nyashinski, a fellow widely celebrated Kenyan performer and culture influence, who staged a highly-acclaimed virtual album launch back in May, garnering more than 23,000 live views on both YouTube and Instagram platforms.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, most people had never imagined how virtual experiences would be like, especially those who loved frequenting music festivals and showcases. One thing that kept coming up in conversions and timelines, was the desire most people had to be able to see their favorite artists and bands on stage again.
As the world has been adjusting to the new normal, visionary artists have been hard at work, finding creative ways to not only connect, but also engage with their fans around the world, digital serving as sigh of relief. Sauti Sol had earlier in August promised their fans a virtual concert of the album, Midnight Train. All the fans had to do was to subscribe to the bands YouTube channel, with a target of 600,000 subscribers at stake. The group however had to push the event to a later date due to overwhelming interest from fans all over the world for inclusion, as the they toppled the target with an additional 30,000 more subscribers.
The band had received interests and requests from their fans in various cities around the globe, Nairobi to New York, London to Lagos, Jakarta to Johannesburg, as every one of them wanted to take a ride on the Midnight Train. The virtual album tour was well promoted, with some of the leading brands in Africa joining the band for campaign partnerships. This enabled them to create experience packages and giveaways for the fans to better enjoy the night.
Leading up to the launch, Sauti Sol engaged their legion of fans through a series of tailored interactive activities and content including Sol Family, an ongoing docu-reality with a leading cable network that showed the band’s family life behind the scenes. The four band members also graced the Engage Talks Series stage to share their individual personal life stories, each resonating differently with the audiences. They also curated individual acoustic renditions of notable Album singles that exhibited their diversity and individualism. Album tracks like Nenda Lote, Sober, Insecure, Feel My Love, Rhumba Japani and My Everything (featuring Multi-Grammy Award winner, India Arie) proved a huge hit with the fans on the night.
In addition to the quartet, the showcase featured their label signees Bensoul and Nviiri the Storyteller, Okello Max, Lisah Oduor and Xeniah Manasseh who all wowed on their sets, as well as the joint performance of Rhumba Japani, which was the highlight of the night.