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Mary J Blige On Stage Black and White Photo

What Happened When Mary J. Blige DM’d Us

A push notification came up on my phone that Mary J. Blige had sent us a DM. My first thought was “What the fuck?!”. I then briefly imagined a scene where I was sitting in the front row, I think at MSG, with the rest of Mary J.’s team. She was closing the show with “I’m Goin’ Down” and I was proud, like her close associates around me.

I’m a Mary J. fan, but not as crazy into her as the sentences above proclaim. In this moment, I’m ashamed to admit, I was just ego boosted that the Queen Of Hip-Hop Soul (or at least her team) had taken the time out to message us.

It all went downhill from here.

After I acknowledged my mental fangirling, I took a moment to reaffirm my masculinity. I did this by telling myself that I would open the DM, but I would only work with her if it was really worth my time. I do this a lot, I think it’s my way of trying to stay grounded and realising that the longer I stay starstruck, the less I think with business sense.

I opened the DM, it read as follows:

“I’m in London this Fri for #TheLondonSessions screening. Pre-order my new album here by Thurs for a chance to come!

Ah, shit. I’d been duped. I felt stupid. Then, I felt annoyed.

The 411

I’m not here to criticize anyone’s marketing team, after all, she does pretty well for herself. But, I’ve seen this kind of message before and I am certain that there were a lot of users who were equally disappointed.

There are a few problems with this direct message.

  1. Twitter has grown up. This “first person” style DM is just no longer acceptable, it insults a user’s intelligence (especially after you get over the daydreaming). Mary has over 5million followers, there’s no way she’d send a message like this.
  2. It’s basically asking me to pre-order the album, but there’s nothing at all on the landing page (from the link at the end of the DM) that highlights that in return I would get the opportunity to attend the screening. Check it out for yourselves by clicking this link. This leads me to wonder whether there was even a competition element to this campaign or whether her team were just instructed to boost pre-orders.
  3. In line with the point above, the screening was on a Friday and they sent this message out on the Tuesday. Pretty late for anyone who genuinely would want to attend?
  4. This last point isn’t necessarily a problem, more a recommendation to Universal/her team or an instruction to those guys out there who use Google Analytics to tag and track URLs. In the link within the DM, Mary’s team have tagged up the campaign as follows:
    1. Campaign: MaryJTheLondonSessions
    2. Content: MaryJTheLondonSessions
    3. Medium: Tweet
    4. Source: Twitter

To break this down:

Campaign: MaryJTheLondonSessions. 

This is fine.

Content: MaryJTheLondonSessions.

This is not fine. The “Content” variable should be used to identify different types of messaging that is being used. The fact that this just repeats the campaign name suggests to me that there was one blanket DM sent as part of her entire Twitter DM campaign.

Medium: Tweet

Not fine. In this example, I would have used the medium of direct message to be as specific as possible.

Source: Twitter

This is fine.

In addition to the above, all of the campaign variables should have been written in lower case. The reason for this is because Google Analytics treats each variation of letter casing as something different. For example marjlondonsessions/MaryJLondonSessions would be considered separate campaigns. It only takes one team member to get this wrong and you’ve got the tedious task of having to combine campaign data. Not fun.

So, what happened when Mary J DM’d us?

I felt good, then I felt stupid and then I decided to put my stupidity to use. As a Twitter user, I expect more from a major label team. Have you got any good examples of DM’s you’ve been disappointed by?

De La Soul Black and White Photo

Are Your Hip-Hop Promotion Efforts Working? Here’s 8 Ways To Find Out

You want to know if you’re making more money than you’re spending right? That’s the most basic principal of running a business. So when you’re an independent hip-hop artist or small label, that principal is no different. Marketing budgets can be tight and every cent matters. I’ve experienced that myself. I get it.

However, if you’re a newly established brand or have just started to invest in yourself, you shouldn’t be expecting to see an immediate return on investment. That’s the reason I am writing this. I see where independent labels and artists spend money and then I hear or read about the frustration when things aren’t working out.

There are usually two primary contributors to this frustration:

  • An artist or label invests in short term promotion tactics, which are inefficient in the long run
  • An artist, their manager or promotion team haven’t decided how to measure their efforts

So they either give up, or spend their next lot of marketing budget on trying a different tactic. The circle continues.

I don’t want you to do that. Now, I am not saying these methods below are fool proof. They are not. Some might not even be relevant to you right now. The most important thing to take from this article is that, you need to be considering other non-financial indicators of success, particularly when you’ve just started spending money on your promotion campaigns.

Website Traffic Growth

This is a pretty standard metric in order for you to be able to measure popularity over time. To begin with, all you really want to know is whether there is an increase in people coming to check you or your artist/s out online.

My recommended steps in order to do this are:

  • Sign up for Google Analytics
  • Create a Property for your main website
  • Configure the account to remove traffic from your own IP address
  • Configure the account to exclude traffic from known bots/spiders

Need help? Get in touch.

Fan Loyalty

This is a metric within Google Analytics (and other Analytics tools) that can be really valuable over time in helping understand whether your promotion efforts are generating visits from loyal fans.

Essentially, you want to see an increase in your fans returning to your site. This is even more important to consider whilst you’re running a promotion campaign.

To do this, follow these steps:

  • Open Google Analytics
  • Audience > Behaviour > New Vs Returning

There’s no “golden ratio” of New Vs Returning visitors you should have. However, over time you want to ensure that the total number of returning users is increasing and you should expect to see a higher percentage of returning users during the window of your promotion campaign.

Your Email List

Your email list as an artist or label is one of your most valuable online assets. Check out this great interview with Talib Kweli where he talks about the role his own email database plays in his business model.

People still read email, particularly when it’s an artist they have a vested interest in.

A great way to start building your list is by offering SOMETHING exclusive to those who join. Thinking back to earlier this year, De La Soul did this great when they gave away the excellent “Smell the D.A.I.S.Y.” project for free. Well, at least in return for an email address. The next time they release a new project, tickets for a tour or merch, they’ve got a whole bunch of direct leads to kick off their marketing.

Social Community Growth

As part of building your brand, you’ll naturally want to see your community on social media grow over time. However, during a specific promotion campaign you should see your social following grow at a much faster rate.

How do you measure this? Simple.

  • Note down all the social platforms you have a presence on
  • As you start a campaign – record the total number of followers you have on each platform
  • Sum your collective social following
  • Note the budget and time period of the promotion campaign
  • Record the size of your social community the end of your campaign

If you benchmark this for your next marketing campaign, you’ll be able to compare your efforts for different promotion tactics in the future.

Number of Citations

Citations in this context are simply the number of times you or your project are mentioned online. Again, it’s a good habit to benchmark this for your next promotion campaign and then continue to compare the results to previous campaigns.

So what are the best ways to measure mentions of you online? Here are a couple of simple solutions.

I’d recommend setting up “As-it-happens” alerts, for all source types, in all regions and for all result. E.g. Stalley – Ohio

  • Use a paid database management or online monitoring tool

There are hundreds of paid PR and social media monitoring tools. If you’re an artist, ask your PR team or manager which one they are using and ask if they are comparing the differences in your campaigns.

If you’re a small label, PR team or publicist that needs some support choosing the right tools, get in touch and I will help.

If you’re looking for a free manual solution, try this:

  1. At the end of your campaign, hit Google
  2. Type in the name of the artist and project, e.g. Stalley – Ohio
  3. Click the “Search tools” option just below the search bar
  4. Click the option “Any time”, scroll down and click “Custom range”
  5. Now choose the date range for which you were focusing your PR efforts
  6. Two options here, if you want to judge the quality of the citations, you should run through the first 100 results manually and collate the social and readership details for those website. Alternatively, take a quick note of the total number of results Google has indexed for your search (you’ll have to click the “Search tools” options again to get this number.

Social Co-Signs

Rather than just keeping check on the amount of social comments, shares, retweets etc that you acquire, try focusing on the total reach of these social actions. Are the users or brands sharing your projects more or less influential than for previous campaigns? Are they who you expect them to be?

To test this, you could use social scores like Klout or PeerIndex to measure their social authority, or simply note down the total size of their audience on the platform that they shared your content.

Link Clicks

I’ve covered this in a little more detail previously, but the most popular link shortening tools such as and offer both the ability to customise URLs and also provide click statistics.

If you’re not making sales on the products you’re promoting, you should at least consider the amount of clicks you’re driving.

If you’re driving a tonne of clicks but are not seeing an increase in sales, it’s time to consider 2 things:

  1. Is your pricing strategy right?
  2. Are you promoting in the right areas? That could be on and/or offline.

Inbound Emails and Calls

This is one that I don’t hear a lot of people measure, but it’s so important and arguably one of the biggest non-financial indicators that your marketing efforts are working.

Are you getting more inbound emails or calls? You may not be making more direct sales, but if you’re getting emails for interview requests, booking requests, features or requests to be added to your mailing list, these are all windows of opportunity that can provide greater exposure and additional revenue streams. Building relationships and then managing them effectively is key for future growth.

Need more help?

Hopefully the list above will help you gain more of an understanding as to whether your current hip-hop promotion methods are working or not. If you’ve got any to add, let us know in the comments below. If you need help with a campaign, get in touch.

7 Hip-Hop Email Promotion and Etiquette Tips I Learned This Week

When I opened Outlook, I couldn’t believe what I saw. And no, I’m not talking about Kim K #BreakTheInternet.

I had over 300 unread emails this week, and it’s only Thursday. That’s not to brag, I am genuinely disappointed that I don’t get to read every single email. It makes me feel guilty.

Anyway, it got me thinking about the messages that I have opened or sent this week.  After a little analysis of my inbound and outbound emails, I thought I’d share some of what I found below.

1. Everyone’s got a street name.

In hip-hop, you have a minimum of two names. The one your mother gave you, and some shit that only makes sense to you and five close friends. I feel awkward if I don’t know how to address somebody, so I find this a great starting point when I am emailing someone new for the first time.

In the opening sentence, I almost always ask what name the recipient prefers to go by. This is great because:

1: You set off on the right foot.

2: They will immediately be able to acknowledge that you are interested in talking to them and that you’re not just sending a random email.

3: If you include this question within the first sentence, it will appear in most email notification previews and may encourage them to actually open the damn email.

2. Spell brand names correctly.

I personally appreciate this. Attention to detail matters. I hadn’t really noticed it until looking back, but I definitely open more emails where my brand name is spelt correctly when referenced.

For me, it’s a small sign that somewhere along the line, they’ve paid attention. So I like to make that extra effort in return.

It won’t always be clear from an email address as to how someone’s brand name should be written. There are some crazy ass email addresses in my mailing list. So if ever I am in doubt, I quickly Google them or locate the person or brand on Twitter.

3. Don’t use the FW: mislead. I accidentally done this and it sucks.

This week, I was sending out some emails where 80% the content was the same. I was only sending 15-20 of these emails so it didn’t warrant the set up of a specific email marketing template.

Instead, I was just using my last sent email as a template for the next one I was going to send. I re-opened these sent emails by using the ‘Forward‘ option.

Bad move. In a few of those emails, I forgot to remove the ‘FW:’ from the subject line that’s automatically added. None of those emails have been read.

I also haven’t read any emails this week that have used ‘FW’ in the subject line.

4. Pay attention to autoresponders.

Don’t ignore autoresponders. Get into the habit of reading them and it can be really valuable.

In fact, some of my recent connections have been built simply from personally responding to an autoresponder message. This tactic has worked for me because it’s unusual, and usually the recipient can see the humor in it.

5. Follow on Twitter before emailing.

I get stuck in the Twitter loop multiple times a day. That means I’ve always got a pretty good grasp on recent users who have followed our account.

I’ve spotted that I definitely open emails from people who have recently followed us on Twitter.

This makes complete sense.

Key point: The majority of us go through the social ‘loop’ multiple times a day. See if you can make a quick social interaction within a 1 hour window prior to emailing.

6. I open emails from people, not brands.

I open more emails where a persons name is displayed and I tend to ignore emails where in the name field, a brand name is used.

Thinking about it, there are two reasons for this:

  • Running a hip-hop blog, I get a lot of ‘blast’ emails. These usually have the blasting company name in the name field. Because I get so many of these, I now ignore almost all emails which have a brand name in the name field.
  • Due to the nature of our services and site, most inbound emails I receive are to ask me to do something.  I’m definitely more likely to do something if I feel there is going to be a human point of contact on the other side of the email.

7. I’m a sucker for “new” shit.

This week, the majority of music submission/enquiry emails I have read have contain the word ‘new’ within the first few words within the subject line. This surprised me, it’s not something I was consciously doing. I guess psychologically, like most hip-hop enthusiasts, if I can, I want to be the first person to hear good new music.


Back to those Kim K memes…I lied.

Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin

How To Measure The Success Of A Hip-Hop Promotion Campaign

Firstly, we apologise for not blogging in a while, so to make up for it, we made sure this was something comprehensive.

On a daily basis, we get emails at When The Beat Drops from hip-hop artists and labels, introducing themselves, sending through their music and videos and asking us for promotion support. That’s all good. It’s what we’re here for. My follow up email to this type of introductory query goes something like the following:

Example hip-hop promotion response email

Basically, the first thing I need to do is get a feel for where the artist or label is at, whether they are working with someone already and what their goals are. It’s at this very point where a lot of artists and labels seem to get a little lost. Typically the emails come back with links to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and then something along the lines of, ‘…I just want to take my music to the next level‘ or, ‘…we really think When The Beat Drops can help gain the exposure our artist deserves‘.

This is exactly where the problem lies. Unfortunately to take an artist to ‘the next level’ or to increase an artist or label’s exposure there needs to be some form of benchmark. Something measurable to work towards. It’s this aspect of performance measuring that a lot of labels, artists and brands I have been in communication with have little or no understanding of. Now don’t get this twisted, I’m not slamming anyone out there. In fact, the reason I have put together this post is to try and raise some awareness and guide some of you towards a more structured way of approaching your promotional campaigns. It doesn’t matter whether you are a signed veteran in the game or a startup streetwear brand, the same principles in this post can be applied regardless of your business, skill, role or status.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Email Blasts Or Cheap ‘Buzz’ Packages

Datpiff views and streams package exampleThose of you who follow us on Twitter (@wtbd, thanks for asking), will know we’re not fans of email blasting companies or ’email blasts’ within hip-hop. Email blasting and email marketing are two completely different offerings. Email blasting has weaved it’s way into the hip-hop community and somehow positioned itself as a justifiable first call for music promotion. There are a couple of reasons as to why this has probably happened. The first is because most services cost between $50 and $300 which makes it feel acceptable or reachable to some artists on the come-up or for some smaller labels who have tight budgets. In fact, even major labels waste money on these types of campaigns, so you’re not alone. For those with big budgets, they are an attractive proposition as a way to try and justify some budget spend, the kind of guys who need to put a tick in the box to keep their manager off their back. For those with smaller budgets, they take advantage of an artist’s desire to gain fast exposure. However, put simply, these packages are pretty much a complete waste of money. These are the reasons why:

The number of contacts are complete bullshit.

Example of an email buzz package or email blast

I’ve used a couple of examples in this section, you’ve probably seen most of them before. Typically, most of the email blasting companies in hip-hop will say they have ‘250,000 industry contacts’, ‘150,000 A&R, record labels and DJs’ or ‘100,000 subscribers’. In the steez of Questlove, c’mon sons. I can tell you now that these figures are completely made up. Do you really think a company that invests no time in building relationships has gone out and made the effort to find and detail that amount of data as well as maintain and build upon it? Are there even that amount of people actively involved in that aspect of hip-hop that you could easily get contact details for? I’m not even going to continue with these questions, you know the deal on this one. I will also tell you now that When The Beat Drops’ database of contacts is significantly less than anything you see out there, but for good reason. We take the time to find the right people in the right places and build relationships for us and anyone who works with us.

The emails probably won’t even get opened, will bounce back  or will get flagged as spam.

So here’s another thing, most of these emails that are sent are usually sent by an automated system or tool. Typically these tools have no in-built maintenance and so essentially the guys behind these packages are often working with out of date, unverified or completely inaccurate data. This means a lot of your money is spent on emails that simply bounce back or go nowhere at all. We’re talking about lists of email addresses which are never updated, checked and most of the time might even be randomised, meaning they won’t even be received by people within the music industry. We are essentially talking high levels of spamming. Because the spam score of the domain/email address is likely to be really high, on the off chance that your email does even reach someones inbox, somewhere in the world, it’ll probably sit comfortably in their spam folder.

Oh yeah, and the last time I checked, open rates for emails within the media/publishing sector were around 20.00% meaning that if by some miracle your email did ever arrive in the inbox of someone who matters, there’s an 80% chance they wouldn’t even read it! Email marketing company Silverpop produced a great study  in June last year on email marketing statistics which you can find here. Below is a screenshot from that whitepaper outlining that they found the open rates in their study for media/publishing to be just 20.9%.

Unique email open rate from Silverpop study

There is no relationship built between the receiving site and the artist or label.

One of the major points to all of this is that for longevity, there are no shortcuts. You and your team have to put the effort in to build, maintain and grow new relationships in this industry. By simply handing over a few dollars to someone else and not getting involved, you’re missing the foundations of good marketing which is building relationships and understanding what your peers and audience want. There is a complete disconnect. These emails simply go off, without any follow up PR activity, feedback or any kind of interaction with the people who matter. When Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin were laying the foundations for Def Jam, you think they sat in an office and sent mail shots to fans from an office? Nu-uh. They went to see promoters, see venues, sold cassettes out the back of their rides to fans. Bridging the gap between the artist and fan has always been a fundamentally important aspect of the hip-hop community and lifestyle and these principles are exactly what should be kept in mind when promoting your music to this day.

You may actually get penalised for work involved in ‘buzz’ type packages.

So, when it comes to ‘buzz’ packages, these guys usually say they can get you ‘30,000 YouTube views’, ‘10,000 Twitter followers’ or ’10k Datpiff plays’ (see the screenshots above). If you’ve read this far you probably already know where I am going with this. If you see ANY packages like this, you should be going H.A.M in other direction. Why? Again there are a few reasons. The first is that a lot of sites are really cracking down on this kind of activity. These views, streams or followers are never real and are generated by automated tools. This jeopardizes the credibility of the site. If you’re found out, not only does it also damage your credibility but also can potentially see you losing your account and subsequently any genuine or organic efforts you have put into your work.

In fact, there have been indications over the last couple of weeks that Google/YouTube are rolling out a large campaign in a bid to cut out view ‘gaming’ and have been rapidly closing accounts and sending out warnings to account holders that they are in violation of YouTube’s terms of service, or more accurately Violation of TOU #4 Section H.

Section 4 H of YouTube's terms of service

There have even been suggestions that they may be assessing the major record label’s involvement in this activity.

Check here to see some examples of what people have received over the last few weeks from Google/YouTube.

There is no measurement of success.

One of the closing points I am going to make here sums up the reasoning behind this post and will lead us smoothly into the next section (yeah, I’ve done this before). That is, how the hell are you going to measure any kind of success or progress if you’re paying people to make shit up? It just does not make sense.

Think about it. What benefit are you actually going to get from fake views, fake followers or thoughtless emails? You’ll have no understanding of your audience, what’s resonating within the industry and what the hell to do to really get where you really want to be. You need to know what works, what doesn’t and go on that journey as an artist or label to become wiser and really know where the USPs or your artist, label, business or music is.

You might be sitting pretty with 8,000 new Twitter followers, 2,000 new Facebook fans or 10k on YouTube but you’ll not have a single new fan. Is that really going to make you feel good? Is that going to change the industry and see you become a thought leader and influencer? No it’s not. Worse yet, you would have paid someone else the privilege of doing something that’s automated without even getting any feedback. Save your money and invest both your time and cash into your music. Better recording equipment, gig tickets, office space, networking events, live gigs, whatever it is, take that money and invest it in something that’s going to help and inspire you in the long term.

Recommended Measurements Of Progression and Success For A Hip-Hop Promotion Campaign

So with everything I’ve said so far in mind, it’s time to consider exactly how you should be measuring the success of a hip-hop promotion campaign. Without measurement or some level of analysis on the activity you’re undertaking, how can you identify the areas where you need to up your game? Now it’s important to remember that in the online world of promotion, there are some things that simply aren’t quantifiable or that can have tangible benefits that you might not initially realize  For example, you may be able to track your increase of fans across a social network, but identifying the reasons as to why and when those fans actually purchase or interact with your music/social profiles can be a little more difficult. It’s just important to keep this in mind as sometimes, you won’t be able to specifically measure your return on investment when it comes to promotional activity and if you do try, you’ll be missing the bigger picture.

So with all this being said, the following are ways in which I’d recommend starting to look at measuring the success of a hip-hop promotion campaign. Regardless of whether you are working with When The Beat Drops, if you’re a major label with an internal team of promoters, you’re a self promoting artist or you’re relying on your manager for this level of insight, these are some of my suggestions. Keep in mind that this list is non-exhaustive and some the metrics will vary dependent on the type of programs and packages you use.

Google Analytics

For those who aren’t aware, Google Analytics essentially allows you to track visits to your website and allows you to view exactly how visitors are engaging with your website. The reason it’s such a good tool/service is because it’s easy to set up, free and pretty comprehensive. If you’re setting up a new website for your artist, label or project, adding Google Analytics or an equivalent analytics package should be one of the first things you do. Understanding and monitoring a package like this is a little more complicated, but that’s where we come in. There are also plenty of resources available online from Google and other third party sources which offer basic to advanced analytics tutorials.

Google Analytics - State Traffic Breakdown

State traffic breakdown in Google Analytics

Specifically in respect of a hip-hop marketing campaign, Google Analytics can help in so many areas, here’s a few examples:

  • Identifying countries, cities and states from which visitors to your site are coming from
  • Identifying the sites which are referring the most traffic to your site (e.g. are you getting more success from features on HipHopDX, GlobalGrind, XXL etc?)
  • Highlighting peaks and falls in activity, particularly useful for monitoring visits to your site during a period of promotional activity
  • Gaining a better understanding of the channels that are delivering your visits (e.g. social, email, direct visits, PPC)
  • For e-commerce sites such as a music store or clothing label, gaining insight regarding transactions, conversions etc

Whatever package you use, just make sure you are using and monitoring something. Always try and drive visits to your site rather than a third party site so that you can gain greater insight into your campaigns.

If you’re having trouble setting up or understanding your analytics, get in touch.

Mailchimp logoGoogle Analytics Tracking Code/Email Statistics

Getting back to email, if you are using a genuine email marketing service such as MailChimp, iContact or DirectIQ they will all have their own inbuilt analytics packages which will give you insight into factors such as:

  • Number of emails sent
  • Number of emails that have bounced back
  • Number of opened emails
  • Number of email unopened
  • Complaints/spam
  • Subscribers/Unsubscribers

Some of these email services will also have Google Analytics integration to give even tighter insight into your email campaigns.

You should also use Google’s custom URL builder. What this does is appends a unique tracking code onto a URL and allows you to track email activity within the ‘Campaign’ section of Google Analytics.

Social Reach, Growth and Influence Metrics

Klout homepage login

Building communities across social media platforms is one of most important aspects to any hip-hop promotion campaign today. So it’s important to keep an eye on how, when and where your communities are growing. It’s easy to see whether you’re followers are going up on Twitter or if Likes are going up on Facebook but understanding your audience is the foundation to truly building and growing any of your social media channels. For example, there may be times where you want to increase interaction or followers from a specific state or country if you’re touring there, you may want to track engagement statistics in respect of a custom hashtag or you might want to measure the influence or statistics not only relating to your account but of the accounts that are following or interacting with you. All of this is designed to help understanding how, when and where your influence and reach is growing.

There are a lot of tools out there, but SproutSocial and HubSpot for me are two that offer pretty much everything you could need.

When The Beat Drops Peerindex Score on 15.01.2013

When The Beat Drops Peerindex score

If you really can’t invest in any tools or services, at very least you should benchmark where you are before and a set time after a promotional campaign. Use simple percentage increases in follower or fan numbers as a guidance and jump into your recent followers and from a common sense perspective, analyse whether they are influencers, fans or just spam accounts you happened to attract.

Basic free services such as Klout and Peerindex will also help give you some basic insight into your influence and social profiling and are good places to get started. I personally take their scores with a pinch of salt, but they are certainly worth lending some time as a rough guide or indication or trend as to how well your social profiles are performing. Whilst we’re on the subject of free tools, i’d also recommend both Hootsuite and TweetDeck for efficiency purposes.

URL shortening and tracking metrics

I’m primarily going to use here as an example it’s the one I use and find most useful but it’s probably worth knowing that Google’s own is another good alternative.

These URL shortening metrics may come in particularly useful if:

  • You haven’t got your own site and are tracking clicks through to a third party page that your music or project is hosted on
  • You want to assess the impact of sharing someone elses content from your channels
  • You want one central location or a back up source of data that allows greater insight to how your shortened URL/page has been interacted with
Bitly stats for J Dilla competition

These are stats recently recorded for a particular shortened links for a competition we were recently running.

So for example, if you’re hosting your new mixtape on a third party site such as Datpiff, you might want to use to shorten the link the that page and when use this link whenever sharing your new project. It’s really simple and something that’s worth getting into the habit of doing.

The only downside for me is that has also become a source of use for spammers, so when a link shows up on your social channels, sometimes followers and fans can get a little wary and not click the link. However, this is not usually a major deal if you’re an influencer and people trust what you share.

Human Feedback

This is one aspect which for me is massively overlooked and falls within that ‘non quantifiable’ bucket of social media and promotion. Always look at and analyse the actual feedback from yourusers regarding any project you’re putting out. This is the only way you will truly understand and gain insight into the sentiment attached to your release or project.

Macon Hamilton comments on Datpiff

There are a few simple ways to keep track of this kind of information:

  • Activate trackbacks from your own site to alert you as to when someone else has shared your content
  • Set up separate social streams within social media software to track brand mentions or a specific hashtag
  • Record all your placements, features and interviews in a central spreadsheet and review the ‘comments’ sections and even jump in and reply to people on the more prominent sites
  • Look to Spotify, iTunes and Amazon review sections
  • If you’re an online store, you might even ask or offer an incentive for feedback

Whatever you’re doing, make sure you don’t look past what your peers, fans or customers are actually saying about you.

Organic Views, Streams and Downloads

YouTube video statisticsIf you’re hosting your content on a third party site like YouTube, Datpiff, Soundcloud etc, they will have their own basic data and insights which are available to you. Though I’ve mentioned in this post that these numbers can pretty much always be manipulated, if you’re honestly promoting your music organically, there’s no reason why you can’t use the figures and analysis within these services to provide you with a basic trend or understanding of how well your music or content is doing. It might not be heavily insightful, but you still might be able to take before/after stats during a campaign or even just manually monitor statistics and record them on an ongoing basic.

Third-party site statistics

On a lot of sites, you are more than likely be able to gain access to audience statistics via their advertising sections or simply by asking them. For example, this is what it says on HipHopDX’s advertising page:

HipHopDX advertising page introduction

It’s not the best information to go by, but if you can keep track of the figures associated with websites or radio stations you’re securing music on, it can help give an overall indication of the direction you’re heading in and can also be particularly useful when trying to assess which sites or stations to priortise when it comes to PR related activity.

Think of the long term

Treat the promotion of your music as seriously as the production of your music and you won’t have any problems. Got any questions? Hit us up on Twitter @wtbd or drop us an email, I’m ouuuuuuuuuuuuuuttttttt.

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