If Zim Hip-hop Were A Church

He stares at his reverbnation dashboard. He cannot believe it, but he knows this always happens. 21 plays on his most recent song and about 11 downloaded songs recorded in the week. Compared to the shares and likes this is really unexpected. His so called fans have not been playing the songs, they have been playing him instead. Definitely over 45 people have told him about how great the song is and the Facebook post had 55 or more comments.

If you analyse this actually the 55 comments were not made by 55 people. It’s the same 8 guys arguing and agreeing under that post and he commented there several times too to thank each contributor, there were in fact 4 likes on that post. I’m sure you get the picture if you’ve been on Facebook for a while.

The fans either lied, got it from an offline source or Reverbnation has been sleeping during working hours. The latter is highly unlikely but who knows? Certainly not all of them are telling the truth because the numbers are failing to add up. Something tells me these fans are just, liking and commenting because they too are artistes and would like to visibly support a fellow rapper so that when they share their little tracks the next week he can share and download too (but he will play them too I suppose). The Law Of Reciprocation right? Share another guys work visibly, don’t bother to view it yourself because in his mind you have watched it and then expect support from him in your release. Poor indies. What a poor group of people.

What would you expect in a Church where pastors are the majority of the congregation. They are listening to your sermon so you can listen to theirs in turn. The heathens are not even close to that church, they’ve heard of it but they don’t want to attend it. It is called The Church Of Zimhiphop. Even coins have been scarce in its offering Basket and no one wants to buy the bishops a suit. Many of the leaders of this church have no flamboyant lifestyle (contrary to most hymns sung in the church itself), neither are they worth 60 million like Pastor You Know Who. They drink cheap bottled Spirits but have no Embassies. The congregation is largely made of the Pastors themselves remember, perhaps a few make a living. There are a few non Pastor Congregants.

Tell me now, with 21 plays over a week. What can our Pastor (Rapper) Tatenda do to spread his evangel?

Now this guy Tatenda, decides to get a little bit more aggressive with his music marketing campaign by spamming his download link under everyone’s post and urinating in every forum. This gets him ignored much more and looked at strangely. It gets him banned on the Facebook forums and pages he urinates on. He doesn’t seem to stop; he just unzips now and then to let out a fountain of liquid gold hoping someone will drink it. That’s the only preaching he knows now, at least it gets him to 21 plays faster than ever before. It’s tough when people won’t even take your music for free. Today the deacons talk about #BuyZimhiphop though.

Anyway his brother visits him and he tells him his problem.

“Hulkshare is the answer to all your problems, plus you can buy plays nowadays. It is the Magaya of music sites. Miracle downloads and all, you will love it.”

“Are you sure? Why do you suggest I use hulkshare?”

“Every refresh is a play. Miracle statistics like I said. Brand perception”

Happily he takes the advice and sets up a good Hulkshare account for which he gets 3000 plays vs 12 downloads. The 3 of the 12 downloads where made on 3 of his different devices, the plays where refreshed by sharing his download page to stumble upon and refreshing himself. So when he goes to that Hip-hop forum on Facebook where the other Pastors meet, he brags more about his plays than he does about downloads. Deep inside he knows it’s a lie. In reality on 21 or less people actually do care about his music.

Face it, if people really cared about his music it would have reached more avenues wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t you re-share and recommend something from an artiste you like? If you did and the people you shared to found it compelling and did the same wouldn’t it do better?

Let’s face it, all your friends will re-share or play your track. The first 33 plays are easy to get because they are your friends. But if your virality gets stunted somewhere in the middle the content is probably not as compelling. This applies for my content too. There are posts I get plenty shares and visits from and there are posts that get just tiny shares or an average view count. Human beings love sharing anything that helps them to connect with other humans, remember social needs are third on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

What Tatenda needs to master (if at all his content is good), is the art of posting in a manner that makes people click. He needs to master the art of persuasion. Tatenda also needs to stop spamming people. People simply don’t click irrelevant links made on posts.

Marketing methods he may want to try out are:

1. Telling a story about the music before its release.

People love stories so much they eavesdrop in buses. They will pay attention to a good story about why a song was written if at all it is compelling. Even the recording process is a story. Note that the best stories have a conflict and its resolution usually. Good stories are not only focused on strengths, but rather how weaknesses or setbacks were overcome. Actually if you follow these tips and get more downloads, the story of your previous few downloads has been overcome and telling it will be a good idea that can help you engage with fans.

2. Engaging the core supporters (yes those 21) to help with the push.

If Tatenda would identify the only 21 that gave his song a chance and played it, he could actually put them in a certain group where he gives them tracks exclusively before everyone. He can probably give free tickets and all, to turn their interest in loyalty. These are the 21 guys that will begin to push Tatenda’s music, because they would have been made a part of it. Remember they gave it a chance when he was a “nobody”. They will defend his name in forums and castrate anyone who speaks evil of him (with a plier). They are family and should get VIP treatment.

3. Sharing On His Wall Frequently at Key Times

I think this is self explanatory. Since the Facebook edgerank algorithm it’s been okay to post as frequently as possible. There is a possibility of reaching new audiences each time. It is like vendors who sell on the Bulawayo Highway, they are exposed to different cars at different times. The best practice is to just learn to stay on your wall. If I post something about Ebola in Africa I don’t need to see a link to Eh Bho by Shingirai or nothing like that in the comments, unless Eh Bho is a song about Eh bhola, which becomes relevant to my subject matter.

With that said, let’s hope that Tatenda reads this and makes the changes he is supposed to, so that his efforts count in the long run. Most of these things do not have immediate effects. You should be a person with a long time perspective to use my advice but it works for me, I last had a dashboard with 3 plays 2 years ago. You have an opportunity to make it work for you too.

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