Iconic Emcee & Streetwear Sensation
How we helped a rapper explode his YouTube viewership and launch a successful streetwear brand.
Hawaiian born AKUA had a deep content library, nearly two albums ready to go, 15 music videos with a unique vibe, and a highly engaged local following, but was struggling to find traction beyond his local zip code.
Having a legacy amongst the Drum & Bass subculture, and as a former member of Brass Knuckle Entertainment, he had focused on making the music and developing video content to showcase it.
Using YouTube as his primary vehicle to promote his music had proven moderately effective, but wasn't quite achieving the results he was seeking for reach and awareness. He knew he had the product, but needed some help building a revenue generating machine.
AKUA's music is gritty and rugged, heavily influenced by hip hop, drum & bass, and street culture.
As one of the top MCs in Denver, CO throughout the early 2000's his sound has evolved and been shaped by competition, machismo, and commanding the attention of large crowds.
When AKUA approached The Clear Media we were very excited for the opportunity to apply our skills to such a talented artist! Beginning with a discovery session and content audit, we determined there were a few key areas for improvement: Merchandise & Sales Funnel Development, and Fanbase Growth.
AKUA put a considerable amount of work into ensuring the music was represented artistically in the music videos, but had only selected frames from the video for the YouTube thumbnails. Understanding that first impressions matter, we created scroll-stopping graphics that would be eye catching on the Discover Page and create an aesthetically pleasing grid when viewers landed on his channel.
Once the thumbnails were updated, the metadata was scrubbed so that the new images became shareable. We advised him on new formatting for the video descriptions that would help create a circular ecosystem to better engage his fans, leaving breadcrumbs to his other social accounts, Spotify, and website. Finally we optimized the titles, keywords, and channel intro to get better algorithmic boost.
Next we focused on merchandise that would resonate with his audience. It was clear that the existing fans resonated heavily with the Icon logo mark, so we agreed that the clothing should be presented as a streetwear brand rather than traditional "tour merch."
Creating prototype mockups, we polled his existing fans to test and validate the items they'd be most likely to buy. We then produced a small number of the top products, ran a small influencer marketing campaign showcasing them to potential customers in his local market, and set up a presale campaign.
Sold items shipped with a sticker pack showcasing additional designs featuring QR codes leading to the YouTube channel & website.
We created a special discount code for anyone who shared photos on social media of these stickers applied in public places and tagged his IG account.
Within 4 months, his YouTube views soared to nearly 200,000 views, his subscriber base increased roughly 60%, and his comment per video sky rocketed from 2-5 to 50-80 per video.
$3500 in merchandise sales in a weekend with strong data on which merchandise will sell going forward online and on tour.
327% email subscriber growth, and clear data insights informing where to book his next tour based on campaign interactions, and streaming numbers from YouTube and Spotify.
As musicians, we understand the struggle to grow your audience, build a fanbase, and monetize your work. Here's what we did to help Akua position himself for all three.
Social Media Content Design
Music Video Production
Rapid growth in views, consistent returning viewership, thousands of dollars in merchandise revenue, a robust email list of willing buyers, and the foundation of a dedicated fanbase.
AKUA is poised to reach new heights in 2022, moving forward with the next stage in the strategy- growing on Spotify & booking a North American tour.
Learn more about his origin story, sign up for updates and discounts on exclusive merchandise, and become part of the AKUA ARMY today on his website.