War With Me is the Business
San Diego, California- A little over a year ago and KT Foreign was probably not a name you were familiar with. Flash forward to today and you may not recognize the name, but you probably have heard his music once or twice. You might have not even known it was his music that you were listening to, but when you hear the tracks below you probably will have a flashback to having heard one of his tracks over the past few months. His most popular single “War With Me” is about to move into some pretty rare air for an indie rapper. The track is about to click the odomoter on 2 million Sound Cloud spins and 1 million Youtube plays, even more importantly it is racing towards a half million on iTunes and 2o0,000 on Spotify.
What’s crazy is KT thought he would have been here even earlier because he had a single “Gettin Famous”, which features rap sensation Mozzy and Oakland’s D-Lo, drop last year. That single, was expected to help him make the leap, by some people close to KT. Unfortunately, KT learned what many artist learn as they work to gain some exposure, that even if you have the right feature, you also need to have the right timing. Now, you probably are sitting there going “How much better timing can you need, Mozzy is as hot as they come?”, and the Gods would answer “Correct”. The problem was at the TIME, Mozzy has released a ton of his own music and also about 20 songs he was featured on. In addition, KT also didnt plug his music into the same marketing machines as he did this time around. The point of the article is not to point out KT Foreign’s struggles, (and “Gettin Famous” has still done Good numbers for KT). Rather, the point of the article is to show artists just how many things are factored into making a song move in the industry. “War With Me” the single still has a long long way to go to crack the main stream, the song is also taking a different path then most singles that gain popularity via radio and marketing prior to their digital release.
But, you can learn a lot as a label, artist or manager by taking a look at KT’s two singles and how they were released and how they did numbers wise. “Getting Famous” was released prior to KT joining Empire. Then when he signed an agreement there he had to have the record taken down by Tune Core and then released via Empire. For part of the time there were two singles up and two differnt covers. Also the song was picked up by Thizzler and other web sites, but after the digital release. The track “Getting Famous” did OK as it was widely overlooked with so many brand new Mozzy records available to his fans. “War With Me” was released very differently.
First, it was given directly to Thizzler for upload to their YouTube and the producer’s Sound Cloud. But this time unlike “Gettin Famous”, before the song was given to Thizzler, it was uploaded to Empire. Thus, the single was”Encoded”, or protected for monetization of all spins on any major site, whether the consumer is paying or not i.e. Youtube and Sound Cloud. Basically, it meant that even if the song spun a bunch on a service that is Free like YouTube, KT would still be compensated for the spins. Many of the distribution companies do not offer this encoding or if they do it is not a good version of the service. A very easy way to check your distributor’s “Encoding” technology is to upload a song you are currently distributing to your own YouTube channel. If it works good you should get an email within 48 hours from Youtube letting you know you have uploaded copy written material and you can either leave it up and let someone else collect or take it down or dispute the validity of the copy right. So just getting the song to Thizzler first, before it was available in a ton of digital stores and also encoding the song before it amassed a whole bunch of “Free” spins really set KT up for success.
The next thing KT did this time around was to diversify the feature. Basically instead of putting all his eggs in one basket with Mozzy, he split it up with Nef and Yhung TO. Even if the costs were thrown out or equal, using two artists instead of one gives the record a better chance of being “It” because you are not relying on that one feature to get the record spun. Again, Mozzy is a great feature, the problem at the time was he had a whole bunch of his own music coming out. As an artist it is tough to make call of whether to drop your record with a big feature around the time of that artists release. In other cases you may not even be meaning to and it just so happens the artist drops on his own out of nowhere. That is more the scenario with KT, Mozzy was just dropping tons of music and it unfortunately led to KT’s record being overlooked. This time around neither artist had tons of music coming out, instead fans were hungry for some of their music. Nef and Yhung TO are both in very high demand and fans were eager to hear their new collab.
While there are a ton of other factors that lead to the success of KT’s “War With Me”, the bottom line is the emcee has set himself up to make a nice pay day. Aspiring artists can learn a lot by following the model KT used when releasing “War With Me”. The features and beat were surely a cost to the rapper, but KT is clearly all business when it comes to his rap career.
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