Here's Your All-time Hip-hop Music Promotion Guide To Kickstart Your Stardom
The year 2019 saw Jay Z become the first billionaire hip-hop artist, a craft he has perfected for the past 30 years. That’s a milestone that only Diddy has ever come close to, raking a net worth of about 810 million dollars as of 2018. But how did Jay Z and Diddy manage such high levels of success in this high-intensity industry?
There’s a lot that goes into becoming a hip-hop star. Millions of aspiring hip-hop artists join the industry every year wishing to climb up the ladder only to realize the ladder doesn’t exist. But why?
Unless you separate yourself from everyone else, you won’t see any ladder. Good music is not the only factor that takes you from bottom to top. You’ve got to invest in strategies that deliver success such as SoundCloud promotion or hip-hop music blog placement. You need to earn a strong fan base, earn revenues from your albums, gain show invites, and build a successful brand.
One way of ever achieving all these is by investing in serious hip-hop music promotion for those in the hip-hop space. And in this digital era, it’s your sure bet to stardom if used appropriately.
How Much Does Digital Music Marketing Score in Making An Artist A star?
I'm tempted to say 100%, but you've got to give credit to talent and music production. So, that brings it down to about 90%. If you are looking for profit and money, just like in other businesses, you’ve got to prioritize music marketing. And because we are in this digital era where almost all success in every other business (music included) is realized online, you’ve got to take advantage of the four social platforms dubbed the “Fantastic Four”- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube. Of course, that’s alongside other thousands of digital music streaming platforms like Tidal, Soundcloud, iTunes, Spotify, etc.
Music marketing is so powerful that if an artist can hit the jackpot digitally, it won’t matter what other talent is in the competition. They will all take a backseat or probably bow out.
Digital music marketing allows musicians and their fans to interact freely, creating a strong connection between them that only works to build their bond. Take the billionaire himself- Jay Z, for example. In 2013, Jay Z partnered with Samsung to release one of his songs' Magna Carta...Holy Grail. His fans had the opportunity to download his 12th solo studio album song exclusively using an app built specifically for Samsung smartphones. That yielded about 528, 000 copies three days later when it opened for action. Ed Sheeran, on the other hand, used social media (Facebook and Instagram) to create hype and buzz about him taking a break for a holiday only to show up later in 2017 to release two new songs, all at once. Drake used the power of internet memes to spiral his popularity and then, released a song titled 'more than a meme' so that he could debunk the then forgoing narrative that his popularity is only based on humor and comedy antics on social media. Lastly, Dj Khaled used Snapchat to build a brand that wouldn’t have been possible if he stuck only to producing his music.
What do all these imply?
Music marketing works magic. Your music doesn't have to be one of the best, but with enough music promotion and marketing, success is just around the corner.
Digital Music Marketing Techniques
Of course, no one yields success without employing techniques like rap promotion. Every hip-hop artist who has ever made it to the legends list used at least 90% of the available digital channels to promote their music.
Let's divide these techniques into three categories.
- Owned Properties - channels based on social media may disappear should the owners take them down (which means all your followers). Owned properties are those that you have total control over.
- Community Building - once you've built your online hub through your owned properties, it's now time to grow your fanbase, nurture it, and develop a strong bond with them.
- Amplification Techniques - with your online hub ready and your fanbase growing real fast, it’s time to invest in channels that will avail your music, videos and news updates to your fans when it matters most.
So, let's start at stage one.
- Building owned properties
Owned properties include your website, email lists, blog, and an electronic press kit. From these channels, your fans can get the most up-to-date information about everything about you.
a) Your Website
If you trace all top the hip-hop artists of this century, you’ll notice one thing in common- they ALL have a website that has all the information that regards to them.
A website serves you no matter what social networks come and go. You can decide to sell your music and merchandise on your website.
b) Email list
Social media platforms have two drawbacks that limit their effectiveness compared to having an email list. First, it’s an algorithm that determines what gets seen by your fans (which means some don’t get noticed) and two, it at times requires your fans to be online when or around the time you post your content. An email list is guaranteed to engage your fans. Every communication you send is guaranteed to reach their inbox.
c) Your hip-hop music blog
If you intend to share all things going around you and your band, your blog is the perfect place to begin. You could start with posting album reviews, your creative processes, recording/touring diaries, lyrics, and even more personal entries that relate to your life as a musician.
d) Electronic Press Kit (EPK)
Your EPK is your brand's resume, having all your music, updated bio, videos, photos, links, contact information, tour dates, press coverage, etc. It's essential, especially when you are booking shows, shop demos and when connecting with others in the hip-hop industry.
- Community Building
Your online hub is now taking shape. All you have to do now is to build and nurture your fanbase to create a sense of one big community. And the best place to start is on the 'Fantastic Four' which consist of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SnapChat. We will exempt Youtube for now and spare it for another discussion later in the article.
Although Facebook is still considered the largest social platform where all and sundry are advised to join, it's becoming challenging to get content to your fans organically. Facebook's algorithm has evolved and now favors sponsored content to regular posts that should reach the fans organically. Nonetheless, it’s still a powerful tool that must form part of your digital music marketing techniques. If you decide to pay for your content to be sponsored, you will have to learn a little bit of Facebook Ads Manager. It only requires a few hours of your time to learn it and get going. Facebook Ads Manager is useful for managing and measuring the performance of your promoted music on the Facebook platform and can be a rather pocket-friendly approach to promoting your music digitally.
Twitter is the undisputed jack of all trades any time you think of real-time updates. Depending on what kind of news or updates you want to share with your fans, Twitter is an excellent place to post your setlists, hosting Q/A sessions with your fans, comment on trending topics that your fans are following and more. Twitter also allows you to pay for your music and updates to be promoted on their platform and can be an alternative if it works for you.
There’s no better place to build your brand on using photos than Instagram. Instagram is owned by Facebook and offers you the ability to cross-share your photos to the other social platforms without much effort. Again, Instagram also allows you to promote your posts and manage the same from the Facebook Ads Manager dashboard. You just need to connect Instagram page with your Facebook page, and you are good to go.
If you have a younger target audience for your music reach, then SnapChat offers a fun and effective way to engage your fans. It was built mostly for storytelling through short and timed videos and photos. SnapChat feels more casual and personal than the rest of the social media platforms, which means you can deploy some unique marketing techniques that don't necessarily feel like "marketing."
- Amplifying Your Music Reach
The platforms above require regular engagement with your fans. These channels don't need much interaction but are very useful in amplifying your music's reach and getting it to your fans when it matters most.
a) Hip-hop Music Blogs
Hip-hop music blogs are a good place to start if you are looking for places to feature your concert reviews, album reviews, guest blog, or interviews. The catch is to get music blogs that feature hip-hop artists and create a pitch that will win the blogger’s attention.
YouTube is definitely the top music streaming service available over the internet and also the second-largest search engine of this century. Once you upload your music to YouTube, your fans can share it to the other social networks besides just watching and catching up with your newest releases. YouTube also offers opportunities for promoting your music through paid campaigns which you can use to get your music to a broader audience.
Similar to YouTube, SoundCloud offers even more fascinating features once you upload your audio music onto the platform. The platform features a large number of regular users and curators, which gives your music greater visibility. Your fans can also share streaming audio of your music to other platforms they are subscribed to giving you even more coverage. SoundCloud promotion is another option to get your music to a larger audience. Study your needs and draft your goals before starting the promotion.
If you are planning to run some tours around the globe, there’s no better place to get your tour dates to your fans and the whole world than on Bandsintown. Bandsintown is undeniably the best and largest place for concert discovery to post your tour dates for your fans. It also has an app, Bandsintown Manager App, that allows you to get your tour dates to Facebook, your website, and all other social networks that your hip-hop fans are spread.
e) Streaming Services
Now, this is where the real secret lies. And it’s no wonder Jay Z decided to buy Tidal. Getting your music listed on streaming platforms such as Tidal, Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music is one sure way to connect with your audience and avail your music to them exactly when they want it. If you manage to get your music added to the streaming platform's playlist, your music career could be headed to the top. Already, there are millions of playlists that suit every mood, activity imaginable, and genre. Playlists offer your music an excellent opportunity to reach your fans (and everyone who plays the playlist) at the right time.
How Record Labels, Producers and Artists Use Promotion in Different Ways
An artist would typically start with the above places to launch their careers. Producers and Record Labels who sign artists may deploy different approaches because of the money at their disposal. Here are a few strategies they can adopt.
- Record Labels invest in marketing. This includes creating advertising and publicity for artist's albums and tours, do promotional videos, produce promotional merchandise, create artwork for your hip-hop album, etc.
- Record labels and producers could at times invest in promotional activities that are aimed at getting your music into radio station playlists as well as other streaming platform’s playlists.
- Record labels also manage sales. They employ salespeople to distribute your music to music stores. Music sales are artists primary source of income, and the more sales made, the more the income.
- Some producers and most record labels will invest in an artist’s development. This is best witnessed during tours and live performances. Artists need tour support to cover for expenses (money used or lost during tours). Record labels come in handy for the artists during such times.
Trends in digital music marketing for 2019 and beyond
Trends come and go, and it's good to be better equipped to adjust your music marketing approaches with the latest techniques winning results. Here are the trends that have shaped 2019 so far:
- Managers and Labels shifting responsibilities
Others may think this is a power struggle, but it's more of a division of roles. Today, you'll see managers taking over social media management, signing partnerships with streaming services, and analyzing analytics provided by DSPs or social platforms. These were primarily seen as roles served by labels.
- YouTube is slowly taking up an artist’s marketing.
Youtube is slowly throwing it’s weight behind artists to facilitate their music marketing pursuits through their newly launched products YouTube Music and Video Music original production in collaboration with artists. These are mostly spotlight stories focusing on different aspects of the artist’s life and career. Examples include Shawn Mendes, J Balvin, G-Eazy, and Janelle Monae.
- Labels are resorting to in-house marketing teams
Labels, although shedding off some responsibilities to managers, are also taking up some responsibilities that were previously handled by external agencies. These include forming in-house digital marketing and media, buying teams. Recording labels have realized that user data is so powerful that if adequately analyzed, could be the gamechanger in digital marketing. If a label doesn't have enough in-house skills, they will likely hire one or several. There are also tools they can use in this regard to be able to utilize the data for retargeting marketing, among others.
- Flexibility in budget and approach is becoming the modern-day music marketing campaign.
Everyone is taking the flexibility pill today. The duration of music marketing campaigns can never be guaranteed, and neither is the budget allocated for it. They can only be anticipated because of the events that may arise during the campaign itself. For example, an artist may do certain things during the campaign period that results in waves- positive or negative, thus affecting the course of the ongoing campaigns. Besides, certain songs in one or more streaming services can all over sudden have a spike, while they were not the ones that were targeted. Quickfire partnership opportunities can also arise out of nowhere.
All these calls for fast decisions and flexible strategies to match the occurrences.
- Augmented Reality offering a playful potential for artists
Just the other day it was VR making headlines as the next big thing for "immersive" music content. Today, the story has changed, and Augmented Reality has just blown the door open. AR offers more opportunities for rather playful, creative artist marketing executed on platforms where their fanbase are in the millions. Ariana Grande used Snapchat AR lens to sell merchandise. Years and Years previewed their new album as a Facebook Camera effect. These are just a few cases on how some of the senior names in the hip-hop industry have used AR to engage fans and in the process, driving sales and streams.
How Young Rappers Could Use a Music Promotion Company To Grow Their Fanbase Without Using the Internet
The question that most upcoming rappers haven’t really wrapped around their heads revolve around what exactly can or should a music promotion company do for them. Young rappers need to understand the potential that lies in contracting a music promotion company to run their music promotion campaigns and manage them. Here are some of the means these promotion companies can boost your music career.
1. Handling Interviews
Interviews in the appropriate media outlets are one sure way of keeping your name constantly in the airwaves. And they are hard to come by in the initial stages of your musical development. Allowing a music promotion company to help you handle your interviews could prove to be the difference between you and the next rapper trying to break into the records. These promotion companies have connections with most magazines, radio and TV stations, talk shows, etc. and can negotiate for your coverage. The more you get to be interviewed on different radio/TV stations and your music played, the more you grow your fan base. They will also train you on how to answer questions, carry out yourself, and handle certain topics.
2. Engaging with Your Fans
Fans are like your customers and need to be kept in the right place. Music promotion companies will handle your social media platforms and engage with your fans, keeping them updated. They can run campaigns that are aimed at promoting your music and creating awareness of your music career, which is a very critical aspect of growth.
3. Handling or Interacting with members of the press (not only in cases of comprising situations)
The press doesn’t need to be handled only during a crisis but even in success. Young rappers may not be able to handle the success that comes with making it to stardom early in their careers and thus needs someone to handle the press for them. In cases where there’s a crisis to be handled, these companies come in very handy. Things happen. Scandals are revealed daily about rappers or musicians in general. Such companies have the experience to take care of it without severely affecting their careers so early.
4.Connect you with DJs, A&Rs (artists and music content), music journalists, and music venue managers
DJs are the hardest lot of people to deal with as a musician. Some demand some incentives to play your music or want favors that a young rapper may not be able to fulfill. Music promotion companies have connections with DJs who matter most in the industry and can get your music to thousands of fans you would not have reached on your own. DJs can feature your songs in the mixes that they upload to streaming sites or avail to their followers to download for free.
As a young rapper, you will need a lot of mentoring and guidance on how to promote your music for better commercial opportunities. This is where Artists and Repertoire (A&Rs) people come in handy. They are not only responsible for scouting talent and overseeing their recording process, but also assist with marketing and promotion of the artist. In fact, this is a fully functional unit within the music promotion company.
Another group of people that promotion companies will help with are music journalists. These are the people who report on music news, review albums and concerts, interview musicians, and write music criticism works. Through their means and those negotiated by your music promotion company, they are able to jumpstart your music career from off the ground. And of course, if you are planning on doing live performances, you will need some contacts with music venue managers. Your promotion company should connect you with these people.
Some Of The Best Practices For Promotion Online
Early in this article, we covered a few techniques to market your music online. These are some of the techniques that were left out.
Radio is probably the only platform that will provide you the most extensive reach within your state, county, or country. But the real hustle is in getting your music played on the radio.
With a music promotion company, it could be easy to achieve. These companies have connections with program producers, presenters, DJs, show directors, etc. who they could approach and based on their understanding, get your music on the airwaves. You could also try to get your music played on non-commercial radio stations like college radio stations.
2. Spotify Promotion To Earn Your Hip-Hop playlist placement.
For countries where Spotify is licensed to operate, it’s undoubtedly the best platform for music lovers. Spotify has seen a tremendous rise in the past, and it's every artist's dream to distribute their music on Spotify. Not only will you earn revenue from your music as an artist, but you are likely to gain new fans, get a growing number of song saves and listeners. With all the foregoing benefits, it's a wise idea to invest in Spotify promotions so that you can earn your song a Spotify Playlists placement, which is the prime of it all. Investing in Spotify promotion is likely to get your song reviewed by the registered Spotify curators who may push your song to the most listened to playlists.
Just like Spotify, Apple music boast of millions of registered users waiting to play your song. Promoting your song on Apple music does not only give you more plays, which means more revenues but also earns you more followers and grows and pushes your song to different hip-hop playlists with its rising streams. Both Apple music playlist curators and Spotify curators pay close attention to the buzz created around a particular song before they can push it to any playlist. That means the more people talk about your music whether on your social media, YouTube, on blogs or on review websites, the more they are likely to pay attention to it and include it in the curated playlists. However, you must endeavor to push more organic traffic to your music listed on Apple Music than paid streaming. Share your Apple music link to your social pages and encourage your fans to share the link and invite others to play your music.
In the end…
Hip-hop music promotion is an essential part of your success as a hip-hop artist and if executed well, has a potential of elevating your music career to the top of the industry. And as much is it a real gem, its execution is what matters most. A music promotion company that understands how to manoeuver the tricks and implement strategies that ensure effective online promotion is a must-have for any hip-hop artist or rapper hoping to go viral and win the race.
This music promotion guide covers extensively the key strategies and how to go about them. Hip-hop music promotion or even rap promotion should be executed only by the experts. Artist Push has the requisite experience as well as knowledge of the latest trends in hip-hop music promotion.
Our services are curated to fit your needs and your music goals. Our promotion tactics have yielded unparalleled results for our client’s, and we invite you to try us out and see the magic we bring to your music career and development.