Oh look, a post where I’m fangirling about something, how groundbreaking. Lol.
5 Seconds of Summer are an Australian band. If you haven’t already heard of them, you’re about to. Because I’m awful at summaries, feel free to head over to their Wikipedia page for more details on the origins of the band and their career to date. Basically though, it goes like this: they formed in 2011 in Sydney and began by posting cover songs on Youtube, before signing a publishing deal with Sony and releasing their debut EP which reached #3 in the Aus Itunes charts. Following a few supportive tweets from a couple of One Direction members, 5SOS joined the Take Me Home Tour in 2013 as 1D’s support act, touring through the UK, USA, Australian and New Zealand. They also played an Australian headlining tour during a break from the TMH tour which sold out super fast.
Fast forward to the present day and 5SOS are currently headlining their “There’s No Place Like Home” tour across Australia, and are set to once again support One Direction on their upcoming stadium tour across the US, UK, Canada and Europe. They’ve released another EP and its first single, She Looks So Perfect, went to #1 in 39 countries. 5SOS are officially the fourth Australian band or artist to reach #1 in the UK, and the first to do so in 14 years, which is pretty insane.
(Over 21 million views and counting, whaaaaaat)
There’s another single, Don’t Stop, being released on a second EP (which will technically be their fourth extended play release) in June, and with luck, there should be a full length album released by the end of the year. The majority of their live set consists of songs that have never been released as studio versions, but that the crowd knows and loves regardless. I guess the idea behind releasing EPs in addition to an album really gives as much music as possible to the fans to enjoy.
To put this in a teensy bit of context, I saw 5 Seconds of Summer perform live at the Palais Theatre last night. It was fun. I felt quite old, but it was still fun. I think my hearing may be temporarily damaged by all the screaming, but oh well. Overall, it was a good show. Definitely enjoyed the playlist of songs that was happening beforehand and in between the support act and the main event. Stacy’s Mom, anyone? (“IT’S ON SINGSTAR!”, as one 14 year old sat behind me reminded us all). Props to the girls I saw recording the show on their iPads. Dedication.
Luke called Melbourne “unnecessarily architecturally brilliant”, Ashton got the crowd to do a Mark Holden-esque touchdown (“You probably have no idea what I’m talking about, unless you’re nearly 20 like I am”), Calum appeared to have mastered the art of avoiding the flying objects being hurled at the stage, and they played some lovely smooth jazz when Michael gave his speech about the ever-important process of buying merch. Also, Luke has the Alex Gaskarth leg thing down to a fine art. And they all have very nice hair. And lovely arms. ANYWAY. LET’S MOVE ON.
Let’s talk about 5SOS and social media. As a band that started to gain recognition on the Youtube platform, social media has been a massive part of their rise to fame and also the development of the extremely strong connection the boys appear to have with their fanbase. Now, the stats. Yay for stats!
- The band’s Twitter account has over 2.7 million followers. Ashton (drums) has 1.8 million followers, Luke (vocals/guitar) has 2.4 million, Michael (vocals/guitar) has 2.2 million and Calum (vocals/bass) has 2.2 million also. Let’s keep in mind, this band hasn’t even released their debut album yet.
- The original Youtube account (which belongs to Luke, technically), hemmo1996, has over 900k subscribers, and the band still use it to post videos from their livestreams and tour promos, etc, which is pretty cute. The videos for unofficial sort of but not really singles Try Hard and Heartbreak Girl (I have a few issues with the lyrics of Heartbreak Girl but we’ll discuss that another time) have view counts in the millions. As I said before, the video for She Looks So Perfect has over 20 million views (it was posted on their VEVO account. You know you’ve made it when you’ve got one of those.)
- 5SOS have been working on their debut album and the EPs they’re releasing for close to two years, recording in Los Angeles, London and everywhere in between, working with the likes of McFly, the Madden Brothers, and Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low, amongst others. The fans have been able to follow along with this journey not only with tweets, but with Keeks and Instagrams galore. They’ve got over 500K followers on Keek & just over 1 million Instagram followers.
(On a super cute note, Luke’s mum Liz is currently on tour with the boys (Luke is only 17, after all) and posts some pretty cool concert photos on her Instagram account (which has a casual 100K followers.). She’s also a maths teacher. My mum’s a maths teacher. #funfact)
- Now, over to Facebook. At present, they’ve got 2.8 million Facebook likes which is pretty impressive. The band’s Facebook page dates back to 2011 when the band first started, and the tone of their posts hasn’t really changed since then, which is definitely a massive part of their success across various social media platforms and is also incorporated into things like their mailing list emails. There’s lots of smiley faces, exclamation points and pretty much every emoticon that exists, but that’s (as funny as it sounds) part of why their fans like them so much.
5 Seconds of Summer aren’t a distant celebrity-type group who only engage with the public and their fanbase with a publicist by their side. They’re very much extremely organic in their social media use, and from what I can gather are true to their personalities or at least what the fans view as their personalities online and in interviews. They’re more like friends, or brothers, or those boys you went to school with than some super famous dudes separated from reality. Not only do 5SOS utilise their social media to share good news and engage in conversations with fans, they’re also able to use it dispel rumours and get some kind of handle of and control over the dramas that can often accompany fan bases, especially those that consist of mostly female teenagers. Overall, however, I’ve been quite impressed with what I’ve seen of the 5SOS fandom so far. Yes, there’s lots of screaming and hysteria and waiting at airports, and personal dramas, but mostly they stick to the premise of being the 5SOS Fam, not just a regular fandom, but a family of sorts, which is nice. Another factor to consider is how equally dedicated to their fans 5sos appear to be. They recently completed a mini-tour of Europe, playing free acoustic shows in five European countries over 5 days (during a 5 day break they had from recording, travelling and other commitments).
We could definitely draw some comparisons between the fanbases of 5 Seconds of Summer and One Direction, with a major difference being One Direction’s reality show origins which contrasts heavily with the “friends from high school origins” of 5SOS, At the end of the day, one is a boyband of vocalists, and the other is a band that actually play their own instruments, so take from that what you will. (For lols and more on this, I wrote a piece on the evolution of the boyband when I was blogging for Catalyst last year.)
Anyway, I feel like I’ve blabbed on about this enough. Basically, I quite enjoy 5 Seconds of Summer, and as a PR student, I’m a huge fan of the way they use social media. The end.
Have a great day!
(I’d apologise for all the screaming but I was at that concert and NOW YOU ALL KNOW MY PAIN #Iamtoooldforthis)
(Image credits linked to images, by the way. Yay.)