Social media challenges and their impact on our listening experience

The post-digital age and the advance of streaming may be revolutionising the way in which we listen to music today but it is also redefining the ways in which music is being distributed and marketed to today’s listeners. Gone are the days of artists relying solely on mixtapes and DJ’s, to get word of their new singles or projects out, because there are a plethora of marketing tools which they can now rely on to increase the longevity of a song’s shelf life.

Some of the most common techniques include merchandising, ticket bundle sales, exclusive content, and viral challenges, which could either be in form of freestyle challenges that attract a cash prize or viral dance challenge like those commonly seen on TikTok. These all, in one way or the other, contribute to incentivising single or project sales for an artist – in a functioning society, that is.

Over in Nigeria, however, the absence of a verifiable one-stop-shop for all streams across different DSP platforms means that ascertaining the effect of these techniques on boosting the commercial success of a single or project is more difficult to readily quantify. Regardless, artists from these parts are still known to use one or more of these techniques to their advantage, as we have frequently seen from the world of hip-hop where viral challenges have become a marker to unite different voices and prolong the buzz around a hit song.

Take, for instance, Don Jazzy’s Enigma challenge from #thatyear, undeniably one of the biggest freestyle challenges from these parts in the last decade which caused quite the stir at the time as everyone was gunning to come out victorious. While the “Enigma” challenge had its own twist – the beat was made specifically for the challenge as opposed to being an already released song – it was all anybody could talk (or rap about) as it took over the airwaves and social media. There have been many iterations over the years that have connected a host of artists around the continent.

From Kizz Daniel’s “Fuck You” to Mayorkun’s “Geng” challenge, artists have commercialised on already amped-up hits by allowing more established artists to take the reigns and create some exciting buzz while also allowing newcomers have a space to show their undeniable talent.

Currently, Ladipoe’s #LemmeKnowRemix is the latest challenge making its rounds on social media as the rapper called for fellow artists and fans alike to submit their freestyles to the song’s instrumental, which just got further boosted by a feature from Teni.

Speaking to The NATIVE, Ice Michael, Head Of PR, Mavin Records said:

“Social media platforms are very important for direct fan engagement. Especially in this time during a pandemic, when people are looking for entertainment and tend to spend more time on their social media than normal. With access to the right audience who were willing to engage with Ladipoe, there was a high conversion rate.”

This won’t be the first time Ladipoe has caught the attention of the social media sphere, as just a few months ago, he launched a TikTok challenge for his chart-topper, Know You” featuring Simi. Beyond the fact that it’s a great song, the interaction with fans no doubt helped the single’s sales, and contributed to the song still remaining in the charts for so long after release. From these two examples, it’s clear that Ladipoe understands the value of connecting with the people consuming his music, and the self-proclaimed Leader of the Revival has found himself a sweet spot.

The rapper himself confirms this saying:

“It’s not like I had an intentional roll out plan. I always had this idea that “Know You” was a conversation, and when I released the song, what stood out to me on TikTok, in particular, was the duet feature. It allowed me to give a template for how I wanted fans to interact with the song, and I’m really glad it worked out.”

 

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Since his call for submissions, many budding artists have thrown their hat in the ring, to flex their lyrical chops. The breadth of responses shows not only that people are listening to Ladipoe, but also how he’s opened up the floor for budding artists to capture the Internet’s attention. This is no new phenomenon, as artists like Rema and Fave have mentioned how virality on social media helped boost their music to the right people, and this suggests that he is actively seeking to pave the way for a new generation.

While these challenges may be good for sniffing out new talent, they are also understated means of elongating the shelf life of a song. For example, Lil Nas X’s monster hit “Old Town Road” first caught on because of social media apps like TikTok, before eventually landing the remix with Billy Ray Cyrus that gave it the #1 spot on the Billboard Top 100 charts for 15 weeks. Here in Nigeria, where there is no cohesive cumulative chart like that of Billboard, the positive effects of challenges like that of Ladipoe’s are even harder to ascertain.

Despite this, Ladipoe’s “Lemme Know Remix” currently sits at #45 on Apple Music worldwide charts and as a new entry, no. #32 on the Turntables airplay charts. Whether these numbers reflect the effect that the current social media challenge has is not easily verifiable, nevertheless, it shows that people are paying attention to Ladipoe and what he’s releasing each time.

In these unprecedented times where we can no longer watch our favourite artists perform, artists are coming up with more inventive ways to capture our attention. Ladipoe is one artist who has consistently shown his determination to deliver at his best, and it’s only a matter of time before we see him paving the way for some of the fresh voices his challenge is attracting, which is in line with his vision to be a beacon of light for the next generation.

We’ve had a great time going through the entries for Ladipoe’s current challenge, and discovering many talented wordsmiths who are floating on the x-produced beat. In light of this, we’ve decided to collate some of the best entries we’ve seen so far and we hope you like them too.

Enjoy.

Featured image credits/Ladipoe


Tami is uninterested in what you have to say. Don’t tweet at her @tamimak_


ICYMI: Ladipoe is the Leader Of The Revival

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