Nowadays, the promotion of upcoming music comes in all shapes and sizes.
We’ve come a long way when you think about how artists brand themselves or promote their content. Back in the day, when we didn’t have advanced mobile devices, it was primarily done through television appearances, radio interviews and features in magazines. Nowadays, the promotion of upcoming music comes in all shapes and sizes. Scandals, tweet rants, or normal things like an Instagram post and video interview with Genius. A particular phenomenon I’ve taken a strong liking to and has also been effective in gaining traction for certain songs is the popular phone application, Triller.
The app essentially allows one to curate their own high-quality music videos, incorporating filters and the top songs out. Being that the videos are primarily uploaded to Instagram and Twitter, it is natural celebrities started to join in on the fun. Once celebrities do something, it’s only a matter of time before other social media influencers get their hands on it.
Take @0fficial_.seth for example. The youngster out of Port Orange, Florida has over 605k followers on Instagram. Given the platform he’s built, his services have been secured by rappers in order to get their music out there. He’s been so effective in using Triller for some that now the kid is charging $1000 per post and has a manager. If only I had this kind of vision at 12. I’m assuming that’s how old he is, based on looks. You can check out his profile to see the list of names he’s helped, and the songs that have been boosted as a result.
It goes beyond Triller though, as some accounts just make simple dance videos with no actual intent to blow up or promote a song. The biggest example of this is Summer 2018 when Shiggy dropped a quick clip to Drake‘s “In My Feelings,” inspiring other celebrities like Ciara, Odell Beckham, and Will Smith to create their own en route to it becoming the #InMyFeelings challenge. Drake ultimately earned another #1, Shiggy a spot in the video, and several invites to big industry events throughout the rest of 2018 and recently All-Star Weekend.
Shiggy was a well-liked personality but this video hands down put him on the map, even reaching the news at a certain point. The selling point here is the humor but also the possibility of going viral. If one is a good enough dancer or has enough personality in what they do, a celeb may share the video and get them maximum exposure. Now, we have to give credit where it’s due because this isn’t the first challenge that pushed a song to prominence.
It got old pretty fast for me, but the end of 2016 was highlighted by the mannequin challenge done to Rae Sremmurd‘s “Black Beatles.” People would gather at family parties, dinner or really anywhere and stand completely still in pose throughout the intro to the song before the beat drops. It became a battle of who could be more creative (or ridiculous) as time went on.
What this does, ingeniously, is it meets consumers right where they are. Rather than just telling them to click a link and listen to a song, they hear a part of it and combined with a quirky dance video it incites curiosity. What is this? Why haven’t I heard it yet? Is this something hot out right now and I’m late? The more people see and hear something good, the more they retweet and share through Instagram.
Thus, the more videos spread and the songs benefit. How else do the people recording the videos get the songs in them? Streaming. So the more people see how they can go viral off of a song everyone else is utilizing, the more they try their hand and the song’s numbers boost.
In this microwave era of music, this method should be fool-proof. A lot of these social media influencers have their booking info in their bios, and I’m sure for the right price they would put together some kind of content that would bring a song to people’s attention. I remember soon after “In My Feelings” blew up, I spotted Shiggy once again dancing his ass off in a video with Kings Combs, Justin Combs and friends to “The West” by Kai Cash, 03 Greedo and the son of Diddy.
Many took on the #DoTheSwimChallenge but it didn’t translate to the same charting success of a “Black Beatles” or “In My Feelings.” Not even Shiggy and the Combs’ combined followings could propel the track, which is quite good might I add, to the mainstream success I’m certain they hoped for. Timing is everything.
Shiggy’s wave in the summer went from enjoyable to annoying, as most trends do. You couldn’t go anywhere without hearing “In My Feelings” and seeing someone do the dance. Shiggy nearly toured the entire country doing it, but soon people grew tired and were ready for the next big thing. The same way people do with music. “In My Feelings” had the backing of Drake as well as Shiggy, but Combs isn’t quite at that level yet where his brand elevates music to a certain point from the beginning.
No method, whether Triller or having an Instagram comedian dance to your song, is guaranteed to succeed. It has to do with luck and timing. Much like television appearances and radio interviews. You might have a dope interview, you might say something controversial, or you might become a viral laughing stock. Yet, as we know today, for many artists any exposure is good exposure if it means attention goes back to their music. Another challenge will be coming soon, I’m sure of it.