Soulja Boy Proves The Value Of Social Media

September 17, 2007 – 1:50 pm

by Darren

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Social websites have only gotten bigger in the last few years. Now people are discovering that they can become overnight sensations, without the need of being discovered as it used to take in the past. Sure, you’ll still need a mainstream company to distribute your product, but marketing can now be done almost exclusively on YouTube and MySpace, without the costs normally associated with international success like the type earned by Soulja Boy Tell’em.

The 16-year-old MC, whose real name is DeAndre Way, has racked up 10 million MySpace hits and inspired thousands of YouTube videos featuring fan interpretations of his “Superman” dance. Initially a viral sensation, “Crank Dat” is No. 4 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and Beyonce has incorporated the Superman dance into her stage show.

So as the October 2 release of Soulja Boy’s debut, “Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em,” approaches, ColliPark Music and Interscope must determine how best to capitalize on the online enthusiasm.

“Soulja Boy is the blueprint for the new record business,” Interscope co-head of marketing Chris Clancy says. “He’s built his phenomenon all on his own.”

Like millions of other unsigned hopefuls, Soulja Boy had an account on Soundclick where he showcased his talent and a MySpace page for his fans. Unlike millions of others, he went viral in an unprecedented fashion, which made signing him a no-brainer. All it took was some professional production and Soulja Boy and his new label has a debut album ready in no time.

What else do they have? Now they have airplay on mainstream stations and a built in global fan-base thanks to YouTube. There’s something to be said about the free advertising these channels can provide in the long run.

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