Inside producer & DJ Sonny Fodera's self-released Top 10 breakthrough with dance smash Asking

Inside producer & DJ Sonny Fodera's self-released Top 10 breakthrough with dance smash Asking

Australian producer & DJ Sonny Fodera has made a chart impact with dance track Asking, a collaboration with fellow DJ MK and featuring vocalist Clementine Douglas.

In its 13th week on the chart, the single entered the Top 10 on Friday (October 13). Asking has chart sales to date of 183,305, based largely on 21.2 million streams in the UK alone.

The achievement is even more significant as the track is on London-based Sonny Fodera’s own label, Solotoko. 

Fodera’s previous chart peak was in 2020, when MK collaboration One Night (feat. Raphaella) charted at No.51 (387,098 sales to date).

Here, Greg Burnell, MD of management firm Palm Artists and partner at Three Six Zero, opens up about the Sonny Fodera campaign…

How have you achieved this chart result with Sonny Fodera? What's been key to the Top 10 placing?

“We released the track on Sonny Fodera’s own label, Solotoko, via our label services company Palm Projects distributed by ADA. It's been a massive team effort across our London office, the sales and distro team at ADA, multiple promo agencies and our USA Three Six Zero partners. 

“The track is 100% independent and self funded, making it the first artist-owned dance label to achieve a Top 10 single in over a decade! This has allowed us to be nimble when it comes to marketing spend, adapting our plan and budgets on the spot when needed, without the constraints of a multi-layered organisation. Really scrutinising the efficiency of our digital ad campaigns, alongside social media activity, has driven substantial new fans for Sonny and new listeners for the track. Jacko, Vicki and Ehsen at Listen Up and Aaron at Plug & Play provided a phenomenal radio campaign, which broke new ground for Sonny in particular across multiple networks. 

“We launched the track in early July, knowing that Sonny & MK would have a run of huge live moments across the summer to build awareness and content around the track. Headline shows at Brooklyn Mirage and festival slots at Tomorrowland, Creamfields, Hard Summer, plus their Ibiza residencies were the perfect opportunities to build and embed the song into people’s summer memories, while capturing crowd reactions, which acted as the backbone of the social campaign. Clementine Douglas provided some outstanding live PAs of the track, which really helped join the dots and further establish the track as a summer festival anthem in the UK.

“Since the launch we have ensured a steady stream of new moments in the campaign, with five different mixes, marketing activations and new ad assets each week. This resulted in consistent week-on-week growth at streaming while the radio campaign built. Patience has been needed across the 14 weeks but we could see from the data early on that his audience had really reacted to this particular track, so we just had to consistently service it until we hit our peak, which hopefully has yet to come.” 

How is management increasingly important in terms of the label role – is this a good example of how that approach can work for artists?

“We have been servicing Sonny Fodera’s releases on his label via Palm Projects for three-plus years now. It was a crucial turning point for us, as it gives us total freedom in terms of schedules and marketing campaigns. As Sonny’s management, we totally understand his brand and the potential of his audience, while utilising touring as a major factor in our marketing plans. 

“There is also no such thing as wasted investment in promotion or advertising in key territories, as it’s very likely a fan will buy tickets or engage with him on multiple levels outside of just listening to his records. So we are able to go further than most labels would comfortably invest without a direct return, providing his brand is growing. It's a genuinely 360° approach when the artist owns their own masters and we are really passionate about being able to offer that opportunity to our management clients, alongside others who want to back themselves. We are trying to illustrate that with the right team and careful investment, artists can build a future with substantial revenue from their own recordings.” 

Asking definitely tapped into the current wave of faster tracks capturing the energy of UK club culture

Greg Burnell

In terms of bpm, how is this track tapping into the appetite in dance music for faster tunes? Do you see that continuing?

“Asking definitely tapped into the current wave of faster tracks capturing the energy of UK club culture. 127bpm might have been out of character for a vocal house record a few years ago but we have seen things speeding up across the board, with genre lines blurring, which is always exciting!” 

What's next for Sonny Fodera in terms of recordings and collaborations? 

“Sonny has a collaboration with Jazzy & Belters Only coming soon, followed by another solo single and album on Solotoko in 2024, alongside his next headline show at Alexandra Palace on March 29.” 

Will this week’s ADE performance in particular be a chance to celebrate this self-released chart breakthrough with the dance community?

“We are all really looking forward to ADE and it will be great to connect with partners from across the world who have helped promote the track thus far. We have partners from the US, Australia, SGA and Benelux coming to meet and discuss the campaign as it continues to build in their territories. Sonny Fodera is hosting a Solotoko showcase at Chicago Social Club on Saturday and we have Gorgon City hosting their label party, Enter The Realm, plus a packed schedule – so our team can't wait to get back to Amsterdam this week. 

“Huge shout out to Simon Bensoussan and Scarlett Thomas for their tireless work on the campaign, and a massive thanks to Howard Corner at ADA for encouraging us to develop this side of our business.”


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