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  • Writer's pictureDale Roberts

Voyager's approach is a recipe for true Eurovision success

Credit: Voyager

When people talk about true Eurovision success stories they often use the likes of ABBA, Celine Dion or, in more recent times, Måneskin and Loreen.

These are artists who were able to use Eurovision as a springboard to global careers and, in some cases, become household names.

But using Eurovision as a platform to succeed doesn't need to be global domination.

The music industry is in precarious times with streaming services and platforms like TikTok changing the game in their own particular ways.

Teya & Salena expertly summed this situation up with their cutting (and catchy AF) song 'Who The Hell is Edgar?'. Because of this, Eurovision fans now know that an artist gets around $0.003 for each stream of their song (this can go up to 0.005).

Voyager this year were able to win their semi-final and finish Top 10 in the Eurovision Grand Final in front of an audience of 162 million people.

This has helped them achieve over 8 million streams of 'Promise' so far which would be somewhere between US $26,000 to $39,000. This amount would be well under the average salary for just one Australian worker, let alone five artists (plus their management and other associated costs).

This industry situation is part of the reason why members of Voyager all have day time jobs with some needing to request leave to compete at Eurovision.

So how can this group with decades of experience between them become an "overnight" success story and maintain it? Well, Voyager appears to have had a plan that has been pulled off expertly.

Get chosen with the right song

Voyager at Eurovision - Australia Decides 2022 (Credit: SBS)

We all know the story that Voyager has wanted to do Eurovision since Australia was announced to be competing in 2015. They were shortlisted for 'Eurovision - Australia Decides' in 2020 and then competed in 2022, finishing runner-up with 'Dreamer', despite winning the public vote.

However, that loss, which many fans were not happy with at the time, was a blessing in disguise.

'Dreamer' was a four-and-a-half minute song cut down to fit the three minutes, while 'Promise' was, in Danny's own words to us, "Absolutely written with Eurovision in mind, because we wanted for the first time, to be writing something for the stage."

Now this 'writing a song for Eurovision' is something many fans rail against in this more "authentic" modern Eurovision. But what Voyager were able to do is write something authentically them, while thinking about how this was going to come across at Eurovision, both in the stadium and on television.

This structural and deliberate approach goes against a more natural creative process but is needed at an event like Eurovision.

With the cancellation of 'Eurovision - Australia Decides' 2023, SBS and Blink TV had a difficult decision in choosing out of the artists already lined up and those who put their hand up for an internal spot. Voyager's previous popularity and the staging consideration of the song, appears to be the pivotal factors that got them the nod.

Media strategy

Voyager's announcement maximised media coverage (Credit: Today Show Channel 9)

Voyager already had strong support in Australia and the decision to choose them was going to go down well with most Eurovision fans here. That was already achieved before they were announced.

What Voyager needed for long term success was to maximise media attention in Australia and create a buzz for fans in Europe.

The timing of their announcement at 5:00am for Eastern states in Australia caused understandable annoyance for many hardcore fans. However, this time was perfect to build buzz for fans in Europe (their evening) and to make the most of the day's new cycle in Australia.

It gave breakfast programs a chance to announce the news with the songs and other media outlets to get interviews and sound bites with the band throughout the day, with Danny as frontman the perfect media 'talent'.

Being chosen for Eurovision is a hook in itself but add in the genre of the band and Danny's glam aesthetic with long hair and keytar (plus his eloquent and captivating delivery) and it was bound to grab attention.

Not only was this needed for the announcement but the band's performance on TV as "media talent" would ensure programs would get them back for future interviews and their visual aesthetic would work for coverage during the event itself.

The strategy was a success with more mainstream coverage of our artist and song announcement than any other in recent times.

European campaign

Voyager at the Madrid Pre-Party

The first sugar hit of the announcement was done. Fans had reacted and decided on where they felt Voyager fitted among the 37 entries.... and it was about mid-field.

The song and the band were popular but not that popular. It was time for the next phase of Voyager's campaign.

The band hit the pre-party circuit in Madrid, Amsterdam and London, and from their very first performance had fans in the palm of their hand.

Their simple but anthemic chorus (which had been criticised) proved to be a winning formula, with a strong visual of crowds singing and jumping along wherever they went.

Their experience touring across the globe became a key strength for the gruelling nature of the Eurovision PR circuit. Not only did they perform well to fans, they performed well with fan press and local media. Danny's interaction with Wiwibloggs, where he challenged Deban on previous views in a direct but humorous way, won many fans over.

Additionally, the way the band could riff off each other in interviews made them a delight and enabled them to show their personality. Their genuine warmth, humour and ability to not take themselves too seriously, helped gain a connection with fans. This, in turn, saw their rankings and odds to do well at Eurovision climb.

Many will point out that the "fandom" of Eurovision is small in comparison to the 162 million who watch it on the night. But what these dedicated fans and fan press do is provide a foundation to build upon. Like an inverted pyramid, that small but strong support builds buzz, attention and momentum with media and casual fans.

Alongside fan press, the band also did mainstream media including Danny's appearance on German television and radio. Born and raised there until he migrated to Australia in primary school, he was able to showcase his linguistic talent and also helped connect the small independent band from Perth with Europe in a way that showed there was more beneath the glam aesthetic.

Eurovision success

The Toyota MR2 was a secret weapon (Credit: Sarah Louise Bennett / EBU)

Media attention and fan love was achieved, now the band needed a result. Their staging, which was the very heart of their entry, was pivotal.

Enter the Toyota MR2.

The band wanted to create movement and a 'journey' as part of the entry. Danny told ABC Conversations that the first idea was to have him on a motorbike but then the thought of sing his iconic car came into play.

The car was an exact version (albeit lighter for the Eurovision stage) of Danny's own, so not only was it a captivating visual, it also gave him a familiar environment to help prepare for the performance ahead.

We all know how incredible their performance was but it can't be underestimated. It can be very hard for bands to get the mix of playing to the camera and the audience live in the stadium right. It can also be difficult to showcase all the band's members to connect with them, but also not lose focus on a primary frontperson.

Voyager did this incredibly well. Each band member fully committed to the performance that you completely forgot they weren't actually playing their instruments live!

Scott and Simone had fantastic chemistry, Ash played the drums with a crazed 'Animal-from-the-Muppets' style energy, while Alex delivered his backing vocal and iconic growl incredibly well (Alex, in my humble opinion, may just be the best secondary vocalist from a band to ever grace the Eurovision stage).

To pull all this off needed a sophisticated and deliberate approach that is purposely designed to not be obvious to the viewer at home. To butcher Dolly Parton's iconic line that "it costs a lot of money to look this cheap", it took a lot of hard work and planning to make Voyager's performance look fun, live and effortless.

This approach won them their semi-final (in a 100% public vote we might add) as well as a Top 10 Eurovision finish. Something they were well outside the odds of doing before the Liverpool week began.

Taking advantage of their exposure

Voyager used Eurovision as a platform for further success and promotion (Credit: Network 10)

The first parts of the Voyager success story were done: They had delivered an epic performance and result that Australia was proud of AND tuned in for.

While many artists rest after the months and months of hard work for Eurovision, the band had already planned how they would maximise this exposure. There was no rest for the wicked!

They announced an Australian tour for June and a European tour for October. They had their eighth studio album coming out in July and even released a single off the album, 'Prince of Fire', just before Eurovision.

The Australian tour was a sell out and gave the band an opportunity to thank their long standing fans as well as introduce new ones to their full style of music and true live performance.

The previous hard work with the media paid off with Danny doing the promotion circuit for the album's release including Channel 10's 'The Project' and 'ABC News Breakfast' as well as BBC's Radio 2 in the UK.

Voyager would simply not have had these promotion opportunities without their Eurovision success AND their previous performance as media "talent".

The promotion and fan love paid off with their new album 'Fearless in Love' appearing on the ARIA Album chart at no.35 as well as no.7 on the Vinyl charts.

The was the first time the band had appeared on the ARIA charts. This followed 'Promise' charting at no.79 in the UK after Eurovision and going no.1 on the AIR (Independent) charts in Australia.

The tour and album sales would no doubt pay off far more than the 8 million streams and purchases of 'Promise'.

The song itself would not be the measure of success for the band but how they could build off it and create loyalty with the fans that had come along with them on the Eurovision journey.

And so far, this has proven to be incredibly successful.

A template for others

This band knows how to Eurovision (Credit: SBS)

In 2019 Danny from Voyager travelled to Eurovision in Tel Aviv to watch the event as the fan he had been for decades. He told ABC Conversations that when he watched he thought, and maybe truly believed, "yeah, I could do that".

But what Danny and the band saw was that Eurovision offered far more than the three minutes in front of 162 million people.

They saw the opportunities the Contest could bring them before and after it happened.

It was an opportunity to build a bigger profile at home and internationally including with some of the most supportive and loyal people: Eurovision fans.

But it was also an opportunity to use the global iconic event to help catapult a career to the next level.

However, this can only happen if that act has the talent and the plan to succeed like Voyager did.

Their ability to maximise every stage of the Eurovision journey from trying to make a national final, to being selected, to building a profile in Australia and then the world, was so well put together. And it was a band that came to the event with a genuine love and warmth for Eurovision plus the experience to know what it meant.

It is an example and a template for others to follow, in their own creative, genuine and strategic way.

It also proves you don't need to be a big star to be successful at Eurovision and you don't need to become a global icon as a test of Eurovision success.

Each act is more than the position they finish at the Contest.

So thank you and congratulations to Voyager for capturing the power of Eurovision in the best possible way.

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