Toronto based Born Ruffians released RUFF on October 2, 2015, the follow-up to their Juno-nominated album Birthmarks. While the band had been able to build a dedicated audience in the US and Europe, they existed mostly at the margins of the Canadian indie scene. With the assistance of the Radio Starmaker Fund, we have been able to market Born Ruffians to a wider, mainstream audience and position them as a leading Canadian rock act.
In Canada, Born Ruffians were able to use Starmaker’s Domestic Marketing program to undertake a dynamic strategy that coupled the band’s unique brand of DIY marketing approaches with more proven, traditional methods. From street poster campaigns to commercial radio advertisements, Born Ruffians became a leading indie crossover act in 2015. Their single “Don’t Live Up” was the group’s highest charting single at Alternative Rock Radio to date and their streaming numbers topped over 15 million on Spotify alone. The marketing program allowed us to effectively promote their music to an audience they had never previously had the resources to reach.
Internationally, the release of RUFF brought extensive press coverage from leading international outlets, including NPR, Buzzfeed, Stereogum, Q and Uncut. These key press pieces helped to anchor the promotional campaign and provided the band with touring opportunities throughout the UK and Europe. The Radio Starmaker Fund allowed us to hire augmented radio, press, and marketing support throughout these regions, resulting in several international press milestones as a result, including their first Rolling Stone review in Germany. The band’s singles received strong coverage from BBC6 and Radio X and they performed radio sessions throughout France and Germany.
Born Ruffians have toured tirelessly in support of each of their releases. However, with the funding from both the Domestic and International Touring programs, we were able to establish an aggressive touring strategy that served to promote RUFF, bolster press opportunities and extend the overall album cycle. They have an extremely dedicated fan base and funds from these grants were crucial in allowing the band to reaffirm their presence in markets that would have not otherwise been financially viable to reach. The funding allowed the band to tour more effectively by reducing the burden of overhead costs that had once been detrimental to their larger touring ambitions.
We are ever grateful to the Radio Starmaker Fund, an organization whose financial support serves only to bolster the ambition and success of Canadian artists. In many ways, Born Ruffians have been an exemplary case study of an artist who has benefited deeply from the Fund’s overall mission, taking them from their indie rock roots and pushing them to the fore of the Canadian and international music scene. This wider visibility would not have been possible without funding from Starmaker’s programs.