#10: A&R The Memes
How Your Job As A Marketer Is Finding And Developing Moments
During my time at Atlantic, I spent a lot of time creating marketing plans and doing shit to surround major releases. That’s the general job of marketing. Every now and then though, something would pop up and completely fuck up the plans I had for that day. That thing is what we’d call a moment. Something happening that organically had legs online. Think when the Mannequin Challenge first got going, or the first few people that reposted 21 Savage saying “Issa Knife”. As a marketer (digital or not), you need to constantly be in tune with what works in popular culture, and the speed at which people are talking about certain moments pertaining to your artist.
The minute you see some traction like that, you chase it. We called it “A&Ring the memes”. The earlier you saw things like that coming, the better off you’d be. Working on Kodak Black’s album, I KNEW everyone would catch on to the dance he does during Tunnel Vision (it’s called The Bomb Squad) if it was positioned in the right light. I realized that MONTHS before we even decided to push it as a marketing driver. But that’s the power of having an intuition for something that may be able to go viral. It’s the same feeling when you hear a new artist for the first time and know they’re going to blow the fuck up.
Sometimes you can manufacture these moments as well. It’s not all random. Sometimes you know if you put the right artist, in the right situation, around the right people, and press record, you would have something. That’s the same as when A&Rs go through the development phase with an artist. It’s the game of social media. With content blowing by 100 miles a minute, if something seems to be keeping up on your timeline, it’s probably worth looking into.
The majority of you who read this are starting fresh, and are probably wondering how this pertains to you. The art of creating and curating moments is what makes artists grow, defines the speed at which they grow, and creates pillar moments in your brand story. The best way to do this is to know what your fans give a fuck about. Lil Uzi Vert diving from 100 feet up is a moment because his fans love the wild, on stage antics. People love Post Malone singing I Fall Apart, because its the more heartfelt side to the rockstar persona. These artists create moments that their core gives a fuck about, and their core responds by capturing and sharing them.
Your core audience might be 5 people, but what do they pay attention to? Do that in a unique, over the top, original way. Keep it on brand to who you are, and do it in a way no one has done before, but do it. Remember this is the entertainment business and like it or not, your job as an artist is to entertain. The best way I keep track of moments is by following the influencers in each sub-culture that lives around the artists I work with. If there are trends in what they’re posting, I’m watching for them. If my artist gets some love in multiple places, I’m watching the engagement. I’m looking for the universe to tell me if this thing is real or just some bullshit.
I spoke about this in my music video post, but marketing is all about the moments. We’re in the business of telling a never ending story about an artists brand and life. Every good story has its high moments and low moments. The minute those moments are gone, the story is over. Get to A&Ring.