Biz/Tech/NFTs crowd - Joel Muniz

Published on March 30th, 2023 | by Dr. Jerry Doby


Marketing Music: Why Hip Hop Goes Viral

The dream of marketers everywhere isn’t just about bringing in the numbers, it’s about projecting a brand that resonates with people and the culture at large.

In the music industry, hip-hop artists do this more than anybody on this front. The greats bring in numbers that other genres dream of, but it’s also cultural capital that drives real value. To see how hip-hop dominates the music industry and many online spaces, we should look at how its artists market themselves and what everybody can learn from them.

Marketing Genius

First, it helps to know what marketing genius looks like outside of the music industry. When looking at great marketing, it’s clear that the best examples spoil their customers. You can see this kind of marketing outside the music industry, like with service industries or iGaming.

Online casinos always have generous promotional offers to get people interested, sometimes offering extra to those who are verified. MrQ’s free spins no deposit mobile verification promotion is a prime example. It’s accessible and incentivizes people to go to the site through a good-faith interaction.

This kind of marketing highlights that it’s a relationship. Like any other relationship, it needs to be cultivated and hip-hop artists, through their online presence, are some of the best at doing that.

Marketing Is Give And Take

This shows that the relationship between marketer and consumer is fundamentally give and take. The audience always makes a time investment first and foremost, and marketers need to make it worth their time because time is money.

It has been difficult for rappers and other artists to foster this relationship in the past, but online engagement has since made it easier to interact with fans through social media. When you are an artist, you are the product marketing yourself and it’s your personality and how you interact with fans that gets them onboard.


Going Viral

That brings us to going viral and the use of meme marketing. Everybody knows what the Internet has done for marketing, so why aren’t brands going viral all the time? Because brands aren’t people but people are sometimes brands.

Again, this is all about personality. Social media posts die when they feel like they were cooked up in a boardroom. When Drake makes an Instagram post that spreads around, it probably came from his own head. At most, there was a publicist or two involved behind the scenes who okayed it.

This is something we have seen with very, very young rappers on the come up. Lil Nas X is a good example of a person who started on social media. Old Town Road blew up in 2019, sure, but he was playing the short-form comedy game on Vine years before pursuing music.

Collabs & Beef

Collabs are built into rap music more than any other genre. When rock bands share a drummer or a bassist, it doesn’t make headlines like two prominent rappers sharing a track where they both get verses. By collaborating with the right people, artists can and have clawed their way into relevancy. It’s networking.

Likewise, rivalries aren’t new to hip-hop and have always been a great tool in a rapper’s arsenal. All it takes is a call out and suddenly people will be talking. This is especially the case if they’ve cultivated that online presence like most rappers do, that makes beef feel personal.

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About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, Media and SEO Consultant, Journalist, Ph.D. and retired combat vet. 2023 recipient of The President's Lifetime Achievement Award. Partner at THM Media Group. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, the United States Press Agency and ForbesBLK.

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