October 17, 2015

It’s not friendly, but it’s where I lay up…

With the release of What a Time To Be Alive – Drake and Future have added another notch to their rapid fire campaign of content into the hip hop market. Drake has been more strategic than ever lately, with this mixtape controlling the top of the charts, and his unrelated single Hotline bling, holding the #1 position on iTunes singles – while everyone continues to salivate for Views of the 6 – his upcoming release that has been building buzz for years now (or so it seems...).

This mixtape was released exclusively to Apple Music for a couple weeks, managing to rack up over 25m streams, before going live to Spotify and all the other outlets. Spotify has been responding to these exclusivity agreements, with the same effectiveness as it had when dealing with TaylorSwift, which is unfortunate. Spotify did have a good head start before Apple got into the market, locking down a lot of smart people (see linkedin for an expensive group of Ivy leaguers and ex-consultants), but we still see the music landscape continuing to fragment, which could actually be a good thing?

As I listen to OVOSound Radio on Beats1, (which Drake is getting paid 19 million annually), he clearly has bought into Apple and their business model for music. At this point Drake is a business himself, with many more ventures than just music. To start, the man has more partnerships than a Nascar driver, with product and companies named in his music taking him to the next level in terms of endorsements (call your ass an uber I got somewhere to be / I get boxes of free Jordans like I play for North Carolina / I avoided the coke game, went with Sprite instead / I just got me the Mercedes Pullman, if you haven’t heard about it you should hit up Google / I pull the knife out my back and cut they throat with it momma, I'm Game of Thrones with it momma / Versace Versace Versace, etc.).

All of this is exciting, but it is nothing like what he has done for Toronto. In my time, I have never seen a city rebranded like this – moving from the street name effectively moving from T.Dot to the 6ix in less than a year. The content marketing strategy he has is unrivaled, even in the corporate world. The level of community that he can bring with things like OVOBounce, OVOfest, Nomad, section 416 at the Air Canada Centre is ridiculous, and if this isn’t a case study on how to capitalize on popularity I don’t know what is. He took this to the next level with the beef with Meek Mill – putting the city behind him (with meme’s at OVOfest) – and delaying him at the border, to prove that Toronto can stand up. On top of this, being the Global Ambassador for the Toronto Raptors has improved his position and the team’s – allowing him to solidify his credibility in the scene, and letting MLSE truly launch the We the North campaign with almost guaranteed results.

In the last couple of years Drake (and supporting cast) has put Toronto on the map, and while 'Merica is a different beast, if Kanye can be President, it’s safe to say Drake can be at least Mayor of the 6.