- Lyle Burns
Case Study: An Analysis of Kami's Album Release Strategy
The SaveMoney collective is full of highly talented and highly creative artists like Vic Mensa, Chance the Rapper, Nico Segal, Knox Fortune, Joey Purp, Brian Fresco, Towkio, and more. One artist from the collective is Kami. You may know him, if you’ve listened to Leather Corduroys, a duo with him and Joey Purp. If not, you will soon.
Recently, Kami dropped a fantastic album, called “Just Like the Movies”. A project that creatively blends hip-hop and 80’s pop for a unique sound and feel. In addition to creating a solid project, there were aspects of his marketing that I really liked.
The project first hit my radar when either Joey or Chance tweeted out the artwork for the single, “Home Movies,” and it was designed to look like an 80s movie poster. So prior to even releasing the song, he pushed out the cover art/movie poster to grab fans’ attention as the initial piece of content. Later, they tweeted a link to the song on SoundCloud, and eventually the visuals came with it. A little while later the video was released by Pitchfork, on their YouTube page.
Home Movies is a simple song, that is perfectly catchy for a single. It fully sets the tone and introduces the intended sound and vibe for the project. The video continues to engage fans and bring them into the 80s atmosphere with an alluring leading lady and accurate setting and props that made it feel like a scene straight from a movie. It gives you a familiar, warm feeling of wanting more.
Thus I was hooked and immediately went and followed Kami on Twitter to keep up to date with upcoming releases.
Timing And Release of Singles
Over time, new developments would come out every now and then, with announcements about Knox Fortune producing the album, and some songs being released on SoundCloud on a monthly basis. It was a trickle of information and each single had different artwork. However, two of the songs were different from Home Movies in regards to style and sound, so I wasn’t sure if they were loosies or tracks off of the project.
Then one month later, the next single “Scene Girl” dropped. This single had the same movie poster art as Home Movies and the same 80s pop sound. And about a month after the track’s release, Kami dropped another excellent video that encompassed the feeling of Scene Girl and the overall project.
Eventually, Kami released the full track list and official cover art, maintaining and building on the 80s movie theme.
Content wise, I feel like Kami did a solid job by pairing all of his cover art, videos, and songs together so they built off of each other. However, the timing between each release was not as perfect. In 2017, artists are constantly fighting for fan’s attention.
Kami grabbed my attention and kept it over time, but remember, not every fan is going to anticipate and follow the development of your album as closely as I did, especially if there are long gaps in between the release of your content. The eyes, ears, and mindshare of fans can easily be monopolized by another project’s release, or other media completely outside of music. Have you seen the frequency of dope Netflix releases recently?
I get it, sometimes you’re still working on music as you continue to market and promote existing songs or you’re excited to share your material with fans so you can build hype. However, there’s also significant value in having all the pieces of the puzzle ready to go. It’s very effective to have all of your music packaged and available to release over a condensed timeframe while you still have a firm grip on people’s attention.
At the end of the day, despite infrequent releases, Kami still managed to successfully build anticipation for the fans who had been following each release, because he introduced them to an exciting and unique sound, a retro feeling, and an interesting concept along with good music. The best way to overcome infrequent engagement and losing attention is to produce quality content that stands out no matter what. This is where Kami thrived, especially with the roll out of Home Movies and Scene Girl.
When to Release on Streaming Platforms
He posted the whole album on SoundCloud along with shoutouts from members of Save Money, giving it a boost on social media. Along with that early SoundCloud release, there was a Twitter Q&A for the project and a release party in Chicago allowing for more avenues of fan engagement.
A week later, it was available on Apple Music; however, I wasn’t a huge fan of the release of his music on different platforms at different times. I understand that SoundCloud listeners are more likely to be core fans, but there’s a benefit to simultaneously releasing on every platform where your fans live. This release strategy won’t take away from the quality of the project, as it’ll only enhance the fan experience.
As an artist, you should be aware of your fan’s listening habits and where they discover and consume your music, because you’re competing in a competitive landscape where there’s a constant fight for ears and momentum.
Releasing Merch & Additional Media
Along with the rollout to Apple Music and Spotify, came the release of merchandise. The merchandise kept the same aesthetic of the movie theme with movie posters and shirts designed with spliced together iconic movie posters. There was even a director’s cap.
Notice the trend here? Kami displayed full creativity as he continuously built upon a theme and feeling to enhance the experience at every stage of development.
Additionally, in an interview with DJBooth.net, Kami mentioned that there was a “short film he co-wrote with “HOME MOVIES” director Andre Muir. However, KAMI was quick to assert that the film would have little to do with the album:
‘I don’t want to shoot a short film that’s a glorified music video.’
Noting that it won’t have the same ‘80s aesthetic as the album, KAMI also said he plans to co-direct with Muir, and said he wouldn’t play the lead role, leaving little connection to Just Like The Movies.
‘Obviously, I could use some of my music to soundtrack it, but it’s a little bit more modern. I feel like I know how to make things work that you wouldn’t necessarily see as cohesive off the rip. But there’s a way to make things cohesive. That’s the challenge I want to give to myself.’
What you have here is a variety of content, and although it’s not directly connected to Just Like the Movies, the tangential connection allows fans to connect the two and continue their journey and experience with the artist. People who discover his film first will likely check out the music, and then fans of the music will await the release of the film. It’s a cycled system with all the content building upon and feeding each other. Additionally, it will showcase an artist’s ability to create without limits in multiple mediums.
Furthermore, to continue capitalizing on the momentum of “Just Like the Movies,” Kami released another surprise EP, just a month later.
Take note of Kami. While his marketing and timing wasn’t flawless, the distinct focus on quality and content gave his release real staying power and built a sense of anticipation from the teaser of the first single all the way to the release of merchandise and a yet to be released short film. Successfully aligning marketing content with quality content is something every artists should strive for with their marketing strategy.
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