A two-week catapult into the limelight
Hozier’s Guitars originally published this post on August 30, 2015 on Storify. This version has minor modifications.
In Part 1: The Making of the Take Me To Church Video we gave you the story of how the video came together.
In Part 2 we examine the chain of events over a two-week period that helped to make the Take Me To Church video a viral phenomenon and how it catapulted Hozier’s career into the limelight.
24 SEPTEMBER, 2013: Video Pre-promotion
25 SEPTEMBER, 2013: Launch Day
The Take Me To Church video was posted to YouTube.
Rubyworks, Hozier’s label, chose State.ie to premier the Take Me To Church video.
Hozier posted the announcement to Twitter and Facebook.
— Hozier (@Hozier) September 25, 2013
Wow, incredible new video from hozier for Take Me To Church http://t.co/o2qjbuoRj0
— mary-kate murphy (@marystatemurphy) September 25, 2013
Other media started mentioning the Take Me To Church video almost immediately.
That evening the video was posted to Reddit by atheism-blocker101 with the caption “A guy I know just put out his first ever music video. I’m speechless.”
Niall Muckian, owner of Hozier’s label, Rubyworks saw that the video had been viewed 900 times before he went to bed that night.
Meanwhile, Hozier played RTÉ’s Late Late Show Special for the 25th Anniversary of Childline.
— ISPCC Childline (@ISPCCChildline) September 26, 2013
Then, overnight, something extraordinary started to happen.
Hozier: “I remember someone texting me to say it was getting 10,000 views an hour. I went home that night and watched the views rise hour by hour.” (Irish Examiner, February 2015)
26 SEPTEMBER, 2013: Day 2
Hozier: “I got home from doing something and somebody from Australia sent me a message on Facebook saying your video is going mad on Reddit […] It was about a day or 16 hours after it had been put on YouTube.
Somebody who knows me put it on Reddit – somebody called Atheist blocker 101 (sic.) or something – saying my friend just released this video and it went to the front page of Reddit videos and the views were coming in at 10,000 every hour. So that was a massive tipping point. It was just some friend of mine who hasn’t come forward yet; somebody who knows me on Facebook posted it on Reddit. I’m grateful that they did that. I’ll buy them a pint!” (The Edition, October 2013)
In the early hours of 26 September, a comment was left on the Reddit thread: “I just spoke to the guy briefly over Facebook. Said thanks for such a great song and video to accompany it. The guy (Hozier) had no idea it was posted here and wanted to thank the OP. So OP good work man (OP=Original Poster)
Rubyworks’ Niall Muckian awoke to 9000 views; 5 minutes later 20,000; an hour later 40,000.
— Rubyworks Records (@Rubyworks) September 26, 2013
— Dara Munnis (@daramunnis) September 26, 2013
More support came in for Hozier and the video.
— Jim Sheridan (@Jim_Sheridan) September 26, 2013
— HelloMissionPR (@hellomissionpr) September 26, 2013
That evening, Hozier posted his thanks for the response to Facebook and the video hit 100,000 views.
Our video for Hozier was released yesterday and just hit 100k!! We're celebrating the only way we know how…in an empty bar in Mullingar.
— Brendan Canty (@feelgoodlost) September 26, 2013
27 SEPTEMBER, 2013: Day 3
The views kept growing and reached 120,000.
— HelloMissionPR (@hellomissionpr) September 27, 2013
This chart shows the meteoric spike in attention that propelled Hozier’s video from a video subthread to the front page of Reddit. (Karma is the Reddit version of likes or faves.)
Industry buzz was growing and Niall Muckian at Rubyworks started fielding calls from international labels interested in Hozier.
28 SEPTEMBER, 2013: Day 4
As a young video director, Brendan Canty was excited when his work was chosen for the Vimeo Staff Pick.
— Hozier (@Hozier) September 28, 2013
29 SEPTEMBER, 2013: Day 5
The show Totally Irish on 98FM posted the video to their Facebook page and announced that the video had achieved 163,000 views.
And, in a sign of burgeoning popularity, parts of the video were turned into GIFs for the first time.
30 SEPTEMBER, 2013: Day 6
Irish radio were catching on to the song.
— Hozier (@Hozier) September 30, 2013
@KCTodayfm that Hozier song gives me chills & the video by Brendan Canty reduces me to tears every time, powerful stuff
— Olivia O'Sullivan (@oliviaos) September 30, 2013
1 OCTOBER, 2013: Day 7
The Irish Examiner reported that the Take Me To Church video had been viewed 175,000 times.
— Brendan Canty (@feelgoodlost) October 1, 2013
2 OCTOBER, 2013: Day 8
Jim Sheridan, with whom Hozier had worked on the Late Late Show Childline 25th Anniversary Special on the evening of the video launch, posted a Tweet tagging Stephen Fry with a link to the video.
— Jim Sheridan (@Jim_Sheridan) October 2, 2013
At the time, Stephen Fry was a very vocal activist on the issue of LGBT discrimination in Russia and had a very large following on Twitter. (See Part 1 of this feature for more details.) Fry’s retweet of Jim Sheridan’s post was a significant event in how the video gained exposure.
Stephen Fry just shared the Hozier video…awesome!
— Brendan Canty (@feelgoodlost) October 2, 2013
Massive thank you @stephenfry for sharing on the video to Take Me To Church. It was through you I first heard about LGBT issues in Russia…
— Hozier (@Hozier) October 2, 2013
Niall Muckian: “… Stephen Fry retweeting it — it’s just a whole new level. One of the more unusual things as well is that it seems that there’s now the very beginning of mainstream awareness and press. He’s just been playlisted on Today FM, one of Ireland’s largest national radio stations. But all the blogs and the more selective indie kids are talking about it just as much as the kind of more “mainstream” press. Sometimes it needs to be one or the other but at the moment it seems to be getting embraced by everybody.” (Billboard, October 2013)
3 OCTOBER: Day 9
The Take Me To Church EP reached #1 on the Irish iTunes charts.
Hozier played Hard Working Class Heroes, an industry showcase 3 day event for independent artists shows in Dublin. International label attention had become intense with 15 senior A&R agents in attendance.
4 & 5 OCTOBER, 2013: Days 10 & 11
Hozier did two support gigs in Belfast and Derry for the band Little Bear as the video and buzz about him continued to gain momentum.
6 OCTOBER, 2013: Day 12
The Take Me To Church video was featured on PerezHilton.com.
@PerezHilton Thank you so much for sharing the video!
— Hozier (@Hozier) October 6, 2013
7 OCTOBER, 2013: Day 13
In the Billboard article “Birth of a Buzz: Behind the Scenes as Hozier Goes Viral,” author Andrew Flanigan summed up the extraordinary velocity of the Take Me To Church video:
Not even two weeks later the debut video from an almost completely unknown artist with no major international support has received 232,134 views.
It is also no small feat in itself that the same unknown artist had a lengthy Billboard business piece written about him within 2 weeks of his first video launch.
Update: June 24, 2016
Hozier’s Guitars has made slight modifications to this post in migrating it from Storify to HoziersGuitars.com.
In the 1004 days since the Take Me To Church video was released, it has received almost half-a-BILLION views on Hozier’s YouTube and YouTube Vevo channels combined (+451 million).
Featured image: Hozier, Take Me To Church video.