Social Media’s importance in the hip-hop community

How many of you realize how incredibly important social media is? Do you download music off the internet after seeing it on a Facebook fan page, or an artists twitter feed? Have you followed blogs much like this one? Do you hear about new releases, singles, and videos from an artists website?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then you know how important online based marketing strategies are when it comes to music. Traditionally music was bought at record stores and Best Buys after fans had a chance to hear a song on the radio they enjoy or had a friend share some music. That is not the case these days. An online presence is the most successful way to market yourself as an artist now, be it in the hip-hop community, the indie community, the heavy metal community, and so on. Many underground artists have experienced success by consistently updating their web-pages, fan pages, and twitter feeds. Big name artists are also utilizing the web for this purpose. Flowtown.com’s blog recently wrote a great article called “How Six Hip-Hop Artists Use Social Media” which publicized how industry artists have created buzzes online, keeping them in the loop and fans a chance to interact with them.

Flowtown.com spotlights six better-known artists and their online marketing tactics. I’ll give ya’ll a little breakdown of their article.

Lil Wayne

  • Lil Wayne has been called “The Best Rapper Alive” by nearly every fan he has, and also by reputable magazines like Times. He’s got over 23 million fans on facebook and over 1.7 million followers on twitter which gives him a vast platform for preaching and promoting. So how has he used this to his advantage? By talking back to his fans and letting them know he appreciates them. When he was incarcerated on gun charges last year he made sure his content was still being updated by friends and even sent personal letters thanking his fans that were posted on his blog.

Kanye West

  • Kanye West has received some bad press in his day. When he jumped on stage and disrupted Taylor Swifts acceptance speech for winning best video of the year award at the MTV music awards in 2009 he gained a lot of enemies. Many people have heard horror stories of his excessive ego yet he still maintains a steady 6.5 million fans on Facebook, and over 3 million twitter followers. He also has an extremely well-known website that he uses to promote his music and his own search engine “Search With Kanye West” where you can earn Swagbucks and buy things such as t-shirts, hoodies, tv’s and more. He’s also got his own charity for children titled “The Kanye West Foundation”. As you can see, he’s got a huge online presence which keeps him relevant and keeps fans up-to-date.

Lupe Fiasco

  • Lupe Fiasco, who happens to be one of my favorite artists, started out on the underground streets of Chicago. He’s known for his lyrical wordplay, and truthful music. He is a fan favorite for many reasons, and I could spend 1000’s of words speaking on just him, but I won’t bore you. Lupe really cares about his ever growing fan base, and he has actually stated that his fans are his friends. To prove this he’s created an FNF army (First and Fifteenth, which is what his self titled record company was called). The FNF army consists of fans who have signed up for his online mailing list through his website. Many artists have mailing lists and the options to join on their websites, but Lupe takes it another step by giving his fans a name, listening to their feedback, and sending out new songs before they are even released to the press which makes fans feel important. He also engages fans on his twitter and asks them questions about things other than music like politics, public opinions, etc.

50 cent

  • 50 cent is one of the smartest marketing/rappers alive. He owns stake in Vitamin Water, has started his own record label and signed successful acts. The record company is called G-unit. Recently he said that he’s starting up another one! This one will be called G-note, and most likely be as successful as the last. Along with his marketing skills, he’s got a large fan base from his rap career. 50 Cent has been known to care for his fans. On his website ThisIs50.com he has built an entire social networking page where fans are encouraged join based on perks such as engaging with 50 Cent himself, receiving a free weekly mixtape from widely known artists, free videos from 50 Cent and much more. He also was in the Social Media Marketing news for grossing $8.7 Million in one weekend based off of promoting penny stocks. He may be under fire for promoting it, but regardless he sure knows how to market something.

Russell Simmons

  • Russell Simmons is what one would call a pioneer in Social Media. He even did an interview with the Huffington Post exclaiming “Social Media is the new Hip-Hop”. Russell Simons is known to be one of the richest figures in hip-hop and for good reason. He built a multi-million dollar rap label called “Def Jam Records” which included the likes of; The Beastie Boys, Cam’Ron, DMX, Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Public Enemy, and many, many more. The label is still up and running, along with his many clothing lines like, Phat Farm, Argyleculture, and American Classics. He also writes for The Huffington Post and Global Grind.

Ludacris

  • Ludacris is known as a happy-go-lucky, fun loving rapper. Little do most people know, there’s a smart marketing genius within the carefree guy. Ludacris’ latest album was titled “Battle of the Sexes”, and to interact with his fans and promote the album he took matters into his own hands, by asking his own questions and answering fan questions on Twitter. He also just recently created a new brand of Cognac called “Conjure” and once again used Twitter as a platform to promote it. He holds frequent contests for fans to win autographed merchandise and responds to as many people as he can daily. Pretty noble considering he has nearly 2 million followers.

As you can see, the professionals are experiencing vast success using Social Media. Underground artists are experiencing success from it as well. Nearly anyone who uses it in a smart way can reap some of its benefits. One thing to keep in mind for all aspiring or struggling musicians: we no longer live in the world of discs and records. It’s all about MP3’s, online interaction and youtube now.

Soundset 2011 – Who’s excited?

Rhymesayers Entertainment and Rose Presents bring you the fourth annual Soundset Festival:  the official Midwest kick-off of the summer with nine hours of the best independent Hip Hop music in one day. It all goes down at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, MN (rain or shine).

Confirmed artists for Soundset 2011 include: Atmosphere, Big Boi, De La Soul, Slaughterhouse (Joell Ortiz, Joe Budden, Royce da 5’9”, Crooked I), Brother Ali, Doomtree (P.O.S, Dessa, Sims, Cecil Otter, Mike Mictlan, Lazerbeak, Papertiger), Evidence x Rakaa-Iriscience x DJ Babu, Mac Miller, Curren$y, Blueprint, Grieves & Budo, Zion I & The Grouch, Sab The Artist, DJ Abilities, Face Candy, Edan with special guest Paten Locke, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Looptroop Rockers, Rubberoom, Soulcrate Music, 2Mex, Mr. Gene Poole, Qwazaar, Longshot, Mally, Desdamona, Duenday, Midwest Konnect, Rocky Diamonds, Stage One, Shortkut, Noam The Drummer, Exile, Maseo, Skeme Richards, Kid Cut Up and Espada. Hosted by Toki Wright, Carnage and Kevin Beacham.

If you follow the indie hip-hop scene whatsoever, you have either heard of, or been to Soundset. It is one of the largest one day hip-hop festivals across the nation and has seen massive success in the previous years. Most of you reading this probably already know who’s performing and have bought your tickets. One way that Soundset has grown so popular is with the vast amount of acts from industry pro’s and the lesser-known local acts. It grows every year, and last year it exploded. Reason being, is besides the great music, custom car show, DJ tent, B-Boy/B-Girl competition, and live art exhibits, is it was heavily promoted through the use of mobile marketing. Fans had a chance to win prizes, meet and greets and other fun things via text message. The advertisers at Soundset also sent out mobile alerts when artists were signing autographs, or hitting the stage. This year they have the same plan up their sleeves. Personally, I feel this is a fantastic idea. If you’ve ever been to a large music festival, you know it is quite easy to miss your favorite act because of reading a schedule that was posted at the front gates wrong. This is a sure-fire plan to know where to be, when you want to be there. Soundset is also heavily blasted on Twitter and became a top trending topic last year.

Mobile marketing isn’t nearly all the hype it gets though. Bloggers go nuts for Soundset and they make it widely known to their readers. Also more conventional writers for publications, newspapers and magazines such as; The City Pages, The Star Tribune, Pitchfork, and more, pay Soundset much attention. It has grown massively from it’s first year at The Metrodome parking lot when it was a more local event, to the following year when they had to move it to Canterbury Park based on it’s national attention. Soundset is an ever-evolving festival that I don’t see dying out anytime within the next decade, and you can thank social media for that.

For more info on Soundset ’11, check out their website, their facebook, and their twitter page.

Also, stay posted to this blog to hear your favorite Soundset 2011 performers.