Ricardo Valdez Valentine, better known by his stage name 6lack, started recording music back in 2009 after being inspired by Usher and Sade. Since then he has attained many achievements, including a Grammy nomination in 2017.
This article is going to look at how 6lack started his music career, how he used SoundCloud to get a head start, and marketing strategies that he implemented to get where he is right now.
Journey on SoundCloud
In 2011, 6lack signed a record deal with an independent label and spent the next five years publishing music on SoundCloud. Due to copyright and licensing issues, he cut ties with this label and signed with LoveRenaissance and Interscope Records. He released an album, Free 6lack, with them. His biggest hit off this, PRBLMS, jumped to number 73 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The song received over 38 million plays on SoundCloud. Keep reading to see how he succeeded, and emulate his path to success.
Music marketing strategies: Collaborations
Almost every musician has collaborated with rising artists and established artists to gain exposure to a newer audience. 6lack has used the same marketing strategy to diversify his music:
- T-Pain: 6lack collaborated with the famous rapper T-pain and released a song as a bonus track on Free 6lack. The song has generated almost a million plays on SoundCloud.
- T-pain shared the news to his over 1 million Twitter followers. This gave 6lack huge exposure and benefited him immensely. Learn how to collaborate with international artists and gain quick exposure by sharing an audience with them.
- BANKS: One of the biggest hits from 6lack is a collaboration song with BANKS. It’s been only 3 months now and the song has almost 500,000 plays on SoundCloud.
- Sabrina Claudio: Sabrina Claudio released a very sensual song, Belong To You, and later released a remix version of it featuring 6lack. The song caught the attention of thousands of people and generated over 600,000 plays on SoundCloud.
6lack has collaborated with Timbaland, and Jhené Aiko
Reposts on SoundCloud
Reposting interesting content on your SoundCloud channel may not seem like an effective marketing strategy for your music, but it does work in keeping your fans engaged with you. 6lack does this often, and is seen reposting tracks on SoundCloud that he’s featured in. This allows him to share new content on SoundCloud even if he doesn’t have any tracks of his own to share.
Not only does he repost content that he’s featured in, but he reposts tracks from other artists that are worth listening to.
If you repost someone else’s content, chances are they might repost yours and perhaps increase your fan base. At the very least, you can serve as a tastemaker in your genre. Back in the old days we call these people radio jockeys. Then we called them video jockeys.
When it comes to catching people’s attention and gaining some PR, 6lack capitalizes on every chance he gets. You can see him re-tweeting posts about him from famous magazines and brands. He retweeted multiple posts to promote his latest single Cutting Ties.
Listen here: https://t.co/7hmNm2wNYj
— HotNewHipHop (@HotNewHipHop) February 13, 2018
— Complex (@Complex) February 14, 2018
It has just been 13 days since the release of the track and it has over 321,000 plays on SoundCloud. You can be sure that his work promoting these important accounts featuring him drove more people to listen to this song:
He released bonus tracks and included them on his first album Free 6lack, and retweeted a post to share it with his fans.
1 year ago today, 6LACK released his debut album "Free 6LACK." He has now added 3 new songs to the album pic.twitter.com/esObCtCC4Q
— HIP HOP FACTS (@iDailyRapFacts) November 18, 2017
Connections in the music industry
6lack has been in the music industry for years now and has established his network. He is well-connected with many musicians and they help him promote his music on social media. The famous music producer OZ shared the news of 6lack’s latest single, which he produced.
6lack – Cutting Ties (Produced by OZ) pic.twitter.com/ARhjLxfvyb
— OZ (@ozmusicproducer) February 14, 2018
6lack is good friends with DJ Khalid, and he shared an image of them working in the studio.
Shoutouts on social media platforms from influencers do give you exposure to audiences who haven’t heard about you or your music. You should learn how to promote your music using social media influencers.
Social media content
6lack’s social media strategy is on point. He shares a lot of things on Twitter that help him promote his music and concerts. He does a good job at promoting his upcoming shows:
🚨🚨 It's on! #RootsPicnic returns to Philadelphia for its 11th year on Sat. June 2. CITI Presale is ACTIVE NOW through Feb. 15 @ 11:59pm ET. Tickets go on sale to the general public Friday at noon ET 👉 https://t.co/44J7PY5KgI pic.twitter.com/OXuuanIoLg
— Roots Picnic (@rootspicnic) February 14, 2018
Opening for famous artists and sharing that news on social media will push for more music and ticket sales. When he is pushing for ticket sales, he likes to add the famous people that he is touring with:
He often tweets about his music and incorporates the song titles into his social media content. A simple picture and a caption helped him promote his latest single.
He also uses Twitter to make announcements for his upcoming music releases. This strategy builds up excitement amongst his fans even when you don’t want to name the song. The anticipation can help generate more streams once it’s released.
He used Instagram to share a letter to his fans about how grateful he was for their support.
People love sharing memes with one another. 6lack uses them in order to keep his fans engaged. He uses them as a fun way to gain attention, and usually just retweets memes from fans. They might also notice his music announcements and listen to those tracks.
— Cameron Taylor (@cameron30taylor) October 11, 2017
6lack respects his fans and he always thanks them for their support. He uses social media to talk to his fans and sometimes even surprise them. He used Snapchat to video chat with his fans, and even I laughed looking at his reaction.
when you randomly answer somebody's call on Snapchat 😂 pic.twitter.com/8UZjDI9VcY
— bear (@6LACK) September 23, 2017
Improving fan engagements is what you should focus on if you want to build a healthy relationship with the fans. Be genuine with your fans and thank them on a regular basis like 6lack does.
6lack’s music marketing strategies revealed
6lack is Grammy-nominated rapper, and he has found a permanent home in the music industry. In this article, I told you the marketing strategies that 6lack implemented in order to build his successful music career. Let’s look at the highlights:
- He signed his first record deal in 2011, and published music on SoundCloud for the next five years.
- His major hit PRBLMS ranked at number 73 on Billboard Hot 100 chart.
- 6lack collaborated with famous artists like T-Pain, BANKS, Sabrina Claudio and many more.
- He has a variety of ways to keep his social media accounts active.
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