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Destination PR: How to attract cultural travellers

Published on By Tara Schwenk

An industry-celebrated digital PR campaign for our client, Leipzig Tourism, didn’t just boost their backlink profile; it won them a new, diversified audience.

Bach is the most streamed classical composer EVER on Spotify.

Campaign highlights:

  1. 30 million+ audience reached
  2. Link and coverage in Classic FM & usually impossible to get a travel link on.
  3. Mentioned in The Times
  4. International coverage: UK, Germany, Hungary
  5. Campaign of the Month: Digital PR Examples
  6. Significant boost to backlink profile: new, authoritative and diverse links
  7. Inclusion in NeoMam’s jealousy list of the best Digital PR campaigns of 2021 alongside brands like Heinz Ketchup, Interflora and McKinsey & Company

With this campaign, we’ve proved the impact that digital PR can have in reaching new audiences.

Our idea and research were covered by Classic FM – which is notorious in the industry for being impossible to get travel content published on. The piece was also syndicated in other markets, such as Germany and Hungary, which further demonstrates the international market reach of digital PR. And, as the icing on the cake, our idea won campaign of the month in the highly-respected industry roundup, Digital PR examples.

How we did it: freely available data, made into a new resource

Bach is an important figure in Leipzig’s history. He lived in Leipzig for many years of his life, was the cantor of the famous St. Thomas choir and composed many of his most celebrated works in the city. Leipzig has a Bach Festival, a Bach Museum and, more recently, also dedicated Bach Forest to him. Most importantly: Leipzig’s brief to us was that they want to be known as the perfect travel destination for people who love music.

That gave us an idea.

Through our work and history with Leipzig, we knew that Bach was criminally underpaid in his lifetime. So, we decided to bring Bach to the future, so to speak – and find out how much money he’d earn from Spotify if it existed in his time.

Using Spotify plays and industry average pay per stream data, we were able to create benchmarks for how popular and how well paid classical musicians are on Spotify – with a dataset nobody else had.

We researched the Spotify profiles of Bach and other great composers – Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt – to see
how many streams they get per month. We then used the pay per stream amount (an average of $0.0037, according to RouteNote, who also covered our story) to ​​work out how much their streams earn them in a year.

Bach came out on top of them all. His music brings in around $300,000 per year – while the highest annual salary he earned in his lifetime (adjusted for inflation) was just $39,000.

But we wanted to know more. We wanted to create a campaign that was newsworthy to modern audiences, to maximise our reach. We needed a tangible comparison, someone everybody alive today knows – like Ed Sheeran.

Comparing Bach to modern musicians

We took Bach’s biggest stream – Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007: I. Prélude – and compared it to Spotify’s biggest artist and biggest song; Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You.

Shape of You has billions of plays, and has earned in excess of $10.4 million.

Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major has been streamed more than 162 million times, but an average of $0.0037 per play, that only gives Bach’s biggest stream lifetime earnings of around $600,000. Unabated, we used an inflation calculator to find out what that would have earned Bach if Spotify existed in the 1750s – his last active year.

Adjusted for inflation, Bach would have earned almost $25 million for Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major – more than double Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You.

Now, we had a shocking statistic, exclusiveto us – based on our own research. We had a hook and a dataset. All we needed now was an asset.

List of shocking music statistics

Working with Leipzig Tourism’s design team, we managed to work up an easy to read table to show our work, with eye-catching designs to share with the press.

Results – and why it worked

Since launch, we’ve reached 30 million+ people and counting, and new links continue to be found from radio, news and online magazine websites.

Photo of composer Bach with a question and figures behind what he would have earned on Spotify now

Our idea resonated with classical music aficionados – and was picked up by the classical music press. This is an important and highly relevant audience for Leipzig Tourism, whose musical history and connection to Bach is celebrated internationally.

The resource we created carries some clout after being picked up by Classic FM – which is seen as a reputable source for other websites to use as a reference, further strengthening the credibility of what we created.

As a result the campaign then got picked up in the international music press in Germany and Hungary.

And it was recognised by other digital PR professionals as a standout piece:

Social media post showing the Bach to the Future campaign was campaign of the month

This recognition in turn put us and our campaign on the radar of someof the best SEO people in the industry such as Gus Pelogia, a judge for the US Search Awards, EU Agency Awards and UK Search Awards:

A post commenting on the Bach to the Future campaign by Gus Pelogia

Our piece was name checked by The Weekly PR, alongside campaigns for brands like Uber and Balenciaga. That’s high praise in itself.

So – why did this campaign work?

We engineered this campaign to be relevant, timely, conversation-worthy and emotional (all core ingredients of a good PR story).

We made it relevant to today’s audience – with a modern context around Ed Sheeran
It was conversation-worthy and a little bit controversial. The astronomical sums of money and comparisons to today’s modern music made it the kind of thing you could chat about down the pub
It had an emotional pull; the tragedy of Bach’s underpaid genius and the vindication of his greatness. Seeing it in monetary terms made it easy to understand

What these results mean to Leipzig Tourism

With links to their website, social media shout outs and enhanced media coverage, Leipzig Tourism have won brand new audiences with digital PR, and have better potential search engine visibility thanks to the high-quality backlinks this campaign has generated, from top-rated domains.

Data from ahrefs Backlink Checker.

This graphic shows how our campaign pushed Leipzig Tourism’s domain rating to 71 (which is high), and won them a new, diversified audience from the websites and outlets it was publishedin.

This one-time resource is versatile and evergreen: we reused it for Adele’s new release, and we’ll use it again for stories about the Christmas number one. We can use it again next year, when Ed Sheeran goes on tour.

But the importance of a varied backlink profile can’t be understated – because not only does a varied backlink profile contribute massively towards SEO, it widens a brand’s reach. This campaign allowed us to go beyond the usual travel titles we’d target, and widened the audience to one far greater than just the core target.

Read more: the importance of diverse backlinks from travel PR campaigns

Leipzig Tourism is now squarely on the digital map, with a highly relevant and engaged audience, with millions of new people reached.

Digital PR for travel brands

Lemongrass Marketing specialises in digital PR for travel. We helped put Leipzig on the digital map – and can do the same for your travel brand. Let’s start a project. Call +44 (0)1865 237 990 or email