Ed Sheeran turned us on to Twitter, says Snow Patrol drummer

Jonny Quinn says pop star taught NI band how to harness Twitter’s power when on tour

Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol performing in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, in 2012.  The Northern Ireland  band’s  drummer Jonny Quinn has credited pop star Ed Sheeran for teaching  Lightbody and the rest of the band how to use  Twitter when he toured as their support act in North America that year.  Photograph: Aidan Crawley/The Irish Times

Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol performing in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, in 2012. The Northern Ireland band’s drummer Jonny Quinn has credited pop star Ed Sheeran for teaching Lightbody and the rest of the band how to use Twitter when he toured as their support act in North America that year. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/The Irish Times

 

Snow Patrol drummer Jonny Quinn has credited pop star Ed Sheeran for blazing the trail in harnessing social media to get ahead in the music business.

Quinn said the singer-songwriter taught Gary Lightbody and the rest of the Northern Ireland band how to use the power of Twitter when he toured as their support act in North America in 2012.

“He taught Gary, our singer, how to use Twitter,” Quinn told a business event in Belfast.

‘Play Ed Sheeran’

“And he was telling us about when he started out and he couldn’t get any of his music on radio but he had a million Twitter followers, and basically he asked his Twitter followers to tweet Radio One and say ‘Play Ed Sheeran’, and they all en masse hit up Radio One, and when they looked at it they realised, ‘That’s our age group, that’s who we are meant to be appealing to’, and they started playing him because they just couldn’t resist this en masse.

“That, for us, was learning about how he could mobilise, with no money, no marketing spend - it would have taken £100,000 to do anything - to move the dial.

“He was also very good at it, he adopted it very early before anyone else, so he was able to use that tool and now he’s got 12.5 million Twitter followers.”

Business event

Quinn, who away from the stage runs a music publishing company, was addressing business figures at an event hosted by BT on how new technology has affected his industry .

He reflected on how big labels were slow to spot the shift in how fans accessed music, with the emergence of file-sharing and downloading.

Quinn said the industry had “finally woken up” to the new landscape.

The BT Business Innovation Breakfast was held at the Titanic Belfast centre.

Press Association