Features September 9, 2021

The missing piece: Behind the global appeal of Vance Joy

The missing piece: Behind the global appeal of Vance Joy
Pic by Will Morrissey/supplied

That ’s ‘Missing Piece’ is a love song of its time explains why it instantly made international connections.

It was inspired by the separation of loved ones due to the pandemic, Joy has said.

“It can be tough, but when what you have is good you know that these separations are just small stuff; you’re both holding the line,” Joy explained when the song was first released.

“It’s about the stillness you find when you are together.”

This week, ‘Missing Piece’ was certified Platinum in Australia for sales of 70,000 – the fourth Australian track to do so in 2021 – with 10 million local streams.

Internationally, it has generated close to 50 million streams, adding to his total of 3.2 billion.

It spent its second consecutive week at #1 on Billboard’s AAA Radio Chart and is poised to enter the Top 10 of the Rock & Alternative Airplay Chart.

The singer also took to The Late Late Show With James Corden this week, performing the hit from the iconic Antoni Gaudi building, Casa Vicens in Barcelona.

His first solo single in three years, its success on radio and streaming platforms says something about the continued appeal of James Gabriel Keogh who took his stage name from a story teller character in Australian author Peter Carey’s book Bliss.

Dan Baker, general manager of media & strategy at Labels, says there aren’t too many Australian – or even global – artists out there, who have such genuine appeal across all formats.

“If you look at the top 30 songs played on Australian radio so far this year, ‘Missing Piece’ has been played across more stations than any other track on that list,” Baker adds.

Joy’s manager, Rachael Tulloch, says Vance Joy writes timeless songs and turns everyday feelings and emotions into something people can listen to.

“His brand is pretty pure and all true to him. In an ever-changing world I feel people really value authenticity and classic songs.”

The year began with the release of Joy’s first ever collaboration, with Benny Blanco and Marshmello, on ‘You’.

“When we locked this down we knew it was going to be a big moment so it was important to ensure we followed it up with a Vance Joy record,” Tulloch explains.

“Vance wrote ‘Missing Piece’ with Joel Little last year and was keen to release it.

“So we were flexible with scheduling it so it could come when we felt ‘You’ had taken a breath.”

The song was moved up a week after landing a sync on Grey’s Anatomy.

After that, the global plan rolled out with heavy focus on DSPs and radio.

“One of the main talking points, at this point, was that Vance Joy was sitting up from 11 million to 17 million monthly listeners at Spotify, making him one of the top 200 artists on Spotify in the world,” Tulloch says.

“Beyond that we really let the music speak for itself.”

The team partnered with Side Door Access to launch a number of virtual zoom concerts “that were just for the mailing list, a way to engage with the fans during a release time when we couldn’t be on the road”.

‘Missing Piece’ was playlisted on the triple j, Nova, KIIS, Hit and Triple M networks on release. It hit #3 on the TMN Hot 100 a few weeks later, and is still holding in the Top 5.

It’s Joy’s fifth Top 5 radio single alongside ‘Fire & The Flood’ (#1), ‘We’re Going Home’ (#2), ‘Georgia’ (#2) and the 12 x Platinum ‘Riptide’ (#4).

Joy has his media supporters in the US where his second album Nation of Two debuted at #10 in the Top 100. His 2014 debut dream your life away sold one million there.

‘Missing Piece’ was his third #1 on America’s AAA Chart, after ‘Lay It On Me’ and ‘Fire And The Flood’.

Streaming services showed interest from day one. In Australia, it reached #1 on Spotify’s Hot Hits and Apple Music’s Today’s Hits playlists within two weeks, with Joy gracing the covers of both.

Baker notes: “We had been given a great start, from here it was all about ensuring the song connected.

“Thankfully we had a top 5 national airplay single, two big network promo’s with Channel 7’s Farmer Wants a Wife and Network 10’s Five Bedrooms and some great marketing to help do just that.

“Four months in and ‘Missing Piece’ has been a staple at the top end of both the Apple Music and Spotify charts.”

Overseas his record label Atlantic landed 39 New Music Daily’s on Apple Music, 38 New Music Friday’s across Spotify “and great support from YouTube Music and Amazon globally”.

At this stage there are no plans for Joy to tour until the end of 2022.

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