Chance the Rapper (aka Chancelor Jonathan Bennett) is one of the top figures in today’s Rap industry. He appeared from seemingly nowhere, built a huge following of dedicated fans and took home 3 Grammy awards. What’s more surprising is that he has achieved all of this success without signing a single record deal. He is still not affiliated with any labels and he has not sold a single track. Yep, you read that right – he does not sell his music
Music industry is incredibly competitive and hard to penetrate. A lot of people keep trying for years without much success. The same applies for many other industries including online business. It feels like you’re trying hard, grinding every single day yet the results are simply not there. There are a few things we can learn from Chance the Rapper to improve our chances of succeeding in whatever we’re trying to do.
Content Is King
You’ve heard me say this very phrase a million times by now. This is because I strongly believe it’s true.
Chance creates high quality music. Regardless if you like his tracks or hip-hop in general – there is no arguing about his unique style of music and rapping. Whenever a new awesome artist appears we usually see hundreds or even thousands of amateurs who start making music in a very similar way. Same beats, same samples, similar rhymes, similar delivery. Some of these new artists might even stick but most will never be heard. Here is where Chance has the advantage: his music is unique, of high quality and very original – you can’t take that away from him.
The same rules apply to content that you create. If it’s mediocre and uninspired – it won’t get any love. I know it’s hard to make a completely unique video or write a very original blog article every single time but you should at least aim to do better than the other folks. Type in your main subject or keyword phrase into Google, look through the first 10 articles and create a piece of content that’s better than any of them. There is no guarantee that you will succeed but this strategy will certainly improve your chances.
Yes, content is king. Marketing is the queen though. You might have amazing content but if you aren’t established in your space no one will ever see that content so you need to market it.
In 2012 Chance released his first full-length mixtape called 10 Day. From the very first day he decided to not sell his music but distribute it freely. 10 Day was uploaded online and downloaded over 500,000 times. He did everything possible to simply get his music to the masses. The fact that the music was great and completely free to download certainly helped. Chance spent 8 months writing, recording and promoting the mixtape. He also put in an incredible amount of effort reaching out to radio-stations, producers and other influencers to spread the good news.
In 2013 Chance released his second mixtape, Acid Rap which he also released as a free download. It was very well received and got 1,500,000 downloads on DatPiff website. You can also find it on Youtube (11 Million views at the moment) and many other platforms. No CDs, no vinyl records, no cassette tapes (although he calls it a mixtape), only FREE online distribution. Acid Rap was a true breakthrough for Chance and helped him win millions of new fans as well as great connections in the industry.
In 2016 Chance’s third mixtape, Coloring Book (promoted as Chance 3) was released on iTunes and got over 57 Million streams in the first week. Shortly after the album was available (once again completely FREE) on many other platforms.
Alright, this was a long story into Chance’s musical career but I hope I am getting the point across. His music is his best content – yet he gives it out completely free.
This practice has been very popular online for many years and YOU can do it too. You should create awesome content and share it with your audience, completely free of charge. However you will offer premium content for a fee (videos, private consultations, books, private membership access, etc).
On this very website I offer free marketing course. Some people go through the course and stop there. Others decide that they want to build profitable websites and sign up for training that I promote.
Chance’s fans are incredibly happy about this and they’re even happier to share it with their friends hence creating even more passionate fans for Chance. Guess what happens when Chance announces a concert or new merch? It gets sold out. People aren’t buying only into his “free” tracks but also into everything else that he does.
For example, he sells this hat for $45. However most of his merch is always SOLD OUT.
Forbes claims that Chance earned over $33 Million in 2017
Working With Influencers
One of the reasons why the 3rd mixtape got so much publicity can be attributed to all of the guest appearances. Kanye West, Young Thug, Lil Yachty, Justin Bierber, T-Pain and many others collaborated on Coloring Book. This means that they also promoted the mixtape to their respective audiences.
Now you might think this is way out of your league. That’s exactly what I thought when I decided to start the Extra Paycheck Podcast. Who would want to waste their time on Skype with me?
It turns out that a lot of Entrepreneurs were very excited about being on my new podcast. Pat Flynn, Nathan Chan, Oli Gardner, Chris Ducker and many other very successful and very busy entrepreneurs agreed to gift me an hour of their time because they knew this would be good for their brand. My followers learned about these awesome folks through my podcast.
Most of my guests shared the interview with their fans on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other platforms – hence helping their fans discover the Extra Paycheck Podcast. It’s a win-win. Don’t let the fear of rejection stop you, get in touch with the influencers in your industry.
Let The Fans Do The Marketing
Before Coloring Book was released Chance decided to combine some old school marketing with social media. He sold the posters of his upcoming album to his fans and asked them to share the posters with the rest of the world. His fans quickly bought out the posters (3 for $20) and started plastering them all over their home towns. Thousands of people found out about Chance and Coloring Book from these very posters.
It’s important to note that Chance is extremely good at managing his social media accounts. He interacts with his fans, shows his goofy side, talks about his family and so on. His followers certainly enjoy the fact that Chance is “real and approachable”.
I am not sure if Chance considers himself a marketer, I certainly think he’s a marketing genius. Let’s recap what we learned from him today:
- Creating value (high quality content) is crucial
- Give that value for free – this will help you build a happy and loyal fan base
- Promote and market your brand as if your life depended on it (because it does)
- Get in touch with influencers in your industry and figure out how you can collaborate with them
- Don’t dismiss “outdated” marketing techniques, they might be very successful for your business
Did you learn anything from this post? Do you have any questions? Use the comment form below 🙂