Every week since the release of his fifth studio album ‘Scorpion’, Drake has continued to smash records in different ways. First, he became the first artiste to reach a milestone of 10 billion streams on Apple Music. Also so far, the album has maintained its top spot at the Billboard 200 charts for three weeks.
While everyone continues to marvel at these feats by the Canadian rapper, these successes didn’t just come overnight. This kind takes months of planning and execution to make such an impact, especially when it involves releasing a 25 track album with two sides.
In January, Drake released ‘God’s Plan’, the first single off the album, dolling up to one million dollars in cash during the video shoot. The video starts with a series of lines “The budget for this video was $996,631.90, We gave it all away. Don’t tell the label…”. According to Drake at that time, it was the most important thing he had done in his life.
Fans want to feel good about rooting for their favourite artists, especially when they can imagine themselves on the receiving end of their charity and cheerleading. Something Drake has mastered effectively is buying into the sentiments of fans and followers all over the world with his gestures which make him seem more human, more praiseworthy and, ultimately make his music connect more.
So even when the beef with Pusha T was hot and many hip-hop purists felt he had been demystified, only a cult of his loyal fanbase and of course, a sustained PR strategy has made him stake back his claim as the world’s most bonafide and loved hip-hop star.
We may never know if the viral #InMyFeelingsChallenge was one of his orchestrated PR stunts but it did work. Viral videos poured out from different parts of the world as people jumped on the trend which was started by Instagram comedian Shiggy. And guess what, Drake ‘waited’ a while before meeting the comedian, thanking him for helping the album get up to number one and also rewarding him with $250, 000.
Also just days back Drake spent $10, 000 giving out free Ice Cream in an LA Neighbourhood. It is reported that over 1,000 fans, especially kids benefited from the frozen treats at 5 different locations in the L.A. suburbs. But it wasn’t just about giving out free ice-cream, its all about maintaining visibility around the first few weeks of releasing an album.
Sources close to the giveaway say Drake did it to promote his new album as lyrics from the album tracks are seen plastered on the sides of the Ice Cream Carts. But you can’t fault him if he thought it’d be a “cool thing to do on a hot day for the community.”
Juxtapose that to what we have here in Nigeria and you’d see that save for some few lousy Instagram challenges and giveaways that hardly connects with the emotions of their audience, it’s almost certain that you’d not find a single Nigerian artiste whose rollout can be easily tracked. It is either they don’t have any at all or they never follow through with it. Most times, it just seems as if they move on away from their projects as soon as they drop them.
Getting the required commercial success for an album means that artistes must connect on a personal level with their fanbase and that’s what Nigerian artistes need to learn, it goes beyond the music! Every move has to be intentional.
Most Nigerian artistes just rely on fame for commercial success and never really connect to their fans. That’s why all they strive for is just that hit song which often time lacks substance but can get them few performance gigs from time to time. With the number of music being released daily, the chances of a song remaining a hit song for long is slim and if that artiste has no strong fanbase, the artiste goes into obscurity as soon as the song fades away.
Even with over 44Million followers on Instagram, Drake still finds a way to connect in personal ways with his fans and that’s why they stick with him even in his lowest times. Nigerian artistes should stop relaxing behind social media and get their hands dirty. We are almost 20o million citizens living in the country. There is so much ground to cover in the real world, get to work!
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