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Sony Music

After a ‘fall,’ The Offspring climbed Billboard charts

How Cypra helped Sony’s Columbia Records avoid promo pitfall

The Offspring, one of punk rock’s most enduring bands, has performed more than 1,000 shows and sold more than 34 million albums since it was formed in 1984.

But Offspring’s popularity in the music world meant nothing in the email world when the band’s venerable record label Columbia — and by default its parent company Sony Music Entertainment — began running into deliverability issues with its email servers, which put the kibosh on Sony’s creative marketing efforts for Offspring’s much-anticipated 2008 studio album “Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace.”

In early May, Sony online marketers were encouraging visitors to the Offspring website to type in their email addresses in exchange for a free, high-quality digital download of the album track “Hammerhead” in advance of the “Rise and Fall” release in mid-June. Problem was that Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail, and other receiver Internet Service Providers (ISPs) had started filtering many of Sony’s messages, preventing fans from accessing the links.

How would Sony avoid what could possibly turn into a music-promotion disaster?

The company approached several email-services providers, but only Cypra Media promised that its Email Delivery Gateway solution could solve the problem in less than a day. In fact, it took only about four hours on May 13 for the Cypra team to deploy a permission-based email-reply campaign for Sony.

Here’s how Cypra did it:

To optimize the email delivery and provide a delivery boost, Cypra arranged for Sony to configure its sending server to route the message through Cypra’s Email Delivery Gateway solution.. Next, Cypra tested the message to ensure its deliverability. The next day — May 14 — digital links to Offspring’s “Hammerhead” were sent to thousands of requesting fans.

Disaster avoided

But that wasn’t the end of the project. Even though recipients had opted-in to receive the link, some sent messages resulted in bounces from overeager fans who accidentally entered an incorrect email address. The Cypra Delivery Gateway automatically forwarded this feedback so Sony could add the data to its global suppression list, thereby preventing the same delivery problems in future mailings.

As for the song “Hammerhead,” it ultimately went on to reach No. 2 on Billboard magazine’s “Hot Modern Rock” singles chart last year. The album “Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace” — released June 17 — shot to its peak position of No. 10 on the “Billboard 200” list by July 5.

“Cypra services were integral to us while our mail servers were in approval for whitelisting,” said Michael Conley, online production manager for Sony’s Columbia Records in Manhattan.

Based on Sony’s numbers, Cypra’s campaign resulted in a claim rate of over 83 percent to Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail, and other ISP domains — a very good benchmark in the email-marketing and entertainment industries.