Do Rappers Still Need Blogs, Or Do Blogs Need The Artists?
Funk Volume CEO Damien Ritter dives into the numbers to make a case for why artists should focus on making their best material instead of increased blog exposure.
Almost every time a blog covers our artists, I always get a follow up message to ensure we share the story on our social networks. I get it. It makes sense, but some of the blogs are so adamant about it that I started thinking to myself, “Who is giving more exposure to whom?” I used to think the blogs were meant to serve the artists, but more and more, I’m seeing the artists with a strong social network presences being more beneficial to the blogs.
I didn’t grow up in the music industry. Starting Funk Volume with Hopsin and SwizZz a little over five years ago was my first step in this world. Prior to FV, I worked in the financial services industry, went to business school and worked as a management consultant. I’ve always been a fan of music, but I knew nothing about the business.
Why Initially Reaching Out To Hip Hop Blogs Was A Waste Of Time
So not having any experience, one of the first things I thought I could help with was reaching out to blogs to try and get additional exposure. I visited every Hip Hop site I could find on the Internet, found the contact information and made an extremely long Excel spreadsheet of names and email addresses. Then I started crafting emails to send to every single one of them and attached links to our videos. We had some fans already because Hopsin was signed to Ruthless and had released some material already, but nowhere near where we are now. His videos probably had views in the tens of thousands.
After literally sending hundreds of emails, I got exactly zero responses. It was one of the biggest wastes of times I ever remember putting myself through. It’s probably why I’ve always kept a salty taste in my mouth when it comes to blogs. It was all bad.
I was upset, but after thinking about it, I understood why. It wasn’t really about the music being good or bad, it was because we didn’t have that many fans. Why would a blog post our music if we didn’t have a lot of people that we could send to their site to watch it? If you or a publicist has a relationship with a site, that could work sometimes, but at the end of the day they need clicks! They are in the business of clicks. There are not many sites that have employees are just looking for cool stuff to post. They look at numbers. When you have the numbers, then you are more likely to get coverage. It’s that simple.
Funk Volume’s Growing Fan Base & Blog Support By The Numbers
Okay, now fast-forward five years: we’ve built a solid, super-engaged, dope fan base and now all the blogs cover our music regularly. Most blogs just routinely pick our stuff up without having to pitching it to them, and we have great relationships. We can now do a quick analysis of the actual impact of their coverage on our videos.
Looking at the statistics YouTube provides, 13% of the 422,000 views came from YouTube players embedded on other websites. Okay, so I can thank the blogs for contributing 13% of our views? Not quite. That’s because 56% of the 13% is actually from Facebook, 1.4% from the Funk Volume website, and 0.9% from Twitter. So really only 5.4% of the total views came from external websites.
What this analysis is suggesting is we can thank the blogs for 22,788 out of the 420,000 views. This is cool. Any and all help is appreciated. You have to build on small wins, but hopefully this puts things into perspective, because I think most folks think blogs are driving more traffic and exposure for artists than they really are.
Artists! So what I am saying is you shouldn’t be stressing about getting coverage from the blogs as much as I see a lot of you stressing. Focus on making the best art you can make and the fans! Through your social networks you now have the ability to do so much before a blog even knows you exist. If you build it, they will come.
DISCLAIMER: This analysis is assuming that the data YouTube provides is accurate which I think is a fair assumption [but still an assumption].
SwizZz, Hopsin & Dizzy Wright photograph courtesy of Andres Tardio.
Damien Ritter is the CEO and co-founder of Funk Volume. Prior to Funk Volume, he worked as a management consultant and received his MBA from Stanford University. Follow him on Twitter at @MrFunkVolume