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Malick Ba

Marketing and a Pink Trap House

August 1, 2017

2017 has been an absolute hit for hip-hop music. With Migos starting the year off with their hit album Culture to Jay-Z’s latest 4:44, there’s no doubt that we’ve truly been blessed. For the most part, album releases have been pretty standard. A common marketing trick to an album release makes sure that the album is hyped up enough beforehand to maximize sales right out of the gate. We’ve seen this with Drake’s More Life, which had the launch dates continuously pushed back which left fans waiting with anticipation. Or even Kendrick Lamar’s Damn, which already had a massive amount of hype behind it. This build up of hype definitely relies on the artist, but I find that this front heavy marketing technique is missing something: continuity. There’s only been one album this year for me that had one of the best post launch campaigns I’ve seen to date…Pretty Girls Like Trap Music by 2 Chainz.

The build up of hype for this existed, but not to the same extent as other popular hip-hop albums this year. What I found significant about this was the post-launch strategy that brought the album concept to life.  With the focal point of the album art being a Pink trap house (for those who don’t know, a trap house is essentially a house used for the creation of various drugs-don’t do drugs), he recreated it into a pop up in Atlanta that could be used for various means. Posting on Instagram and Snapchat, he lured the folk of Atlanta to come and check out the album recreation. The Pink trap house instantly became one of the hottest tourist locations in Atlanta.But what was it used for? Definitely not for the production of drugs that’s for sure. Originally the Pink trap house was used as a promotional piece for 2 Chainz’ latest album, but it served several beneficial functions as well. From an art gallery, to holding a church service, to teaming up with the Fulton County Board of Health for free HIV testing, the trap house went beyond selling a product. It brought a community together through music and a killer marketing strategy.


This is a fantastic way to bring an idea to life with music. Pop-ups are definitely a huge trend right now, and 2 Chainz did it right. The Pink trap house was a brilliant concept to not only promote his album (which has tons of bangers on it btw), but to increase the longevity and relevance of it post-launch. While yes, Drake, Kendrick, and Jay-Z all released albums this year, I’ll remember 2 Chainz’ the most because it was marketed with functionality in mind.

Malick Ba is an advertising and marketing specialist currently living in Toronto, Canada. As an alumni of both the University of Ottawa and Humber College, Malick specializes in communications, advertising, and marketing. Currently, Malick works at an advertising agency in downtown Toronto and is looking forward to how he can further leave his mark upon the advertising and marketing world. Follow him on Instagram, and connect with him on LinkedIn.

Dakarai Turner

4:44 by Jay Z – Does Tidal’s Exclusive Content Work?

July 11, 2017

Maybe you’ve heard of a relatively unknown artist named Jay Z dropping his 13th studio album ‘4:44’ a couple of weeks ago. If you have, chances are a good portion of you weren’t able to listen to it. And why’s that? Because ‘4:44’ was made as a Tidal exclusive, meaning it was only available to their subscribers. So for the majority of us that don’t stream music, or use other platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, or Google Play, we had to wait a full week later until it was available to the rest of the public (except Jay Z doesn’t like Spotify so they’ll never get it). Picture it like watching a wild party happening every day knowing you won’t be able to join it for a full week. The question is: is that desire enough for you to pay for entry? Do you need to listen to something so bad immediately that you’re willing to pay for a monthly Tidal membership, or can you simply wait the full week?

That would be easy to answer if the album wasn’t trending on Twitter with a plethora of different lyrics being tweeted out and solved as if they were written in code. This right here creates FOMO. Tidal hopes that creating FOMO is enough to bring you over to their side.

SO does this work? It’s too early to tell as 4:44 was just recently released, but we can take it back to last year when Kanye West released ‘The Life of Pablo’, a Tidal exclusive. It was reported that Tidal subscribers jumped from 1 Million to 2.5 Million after its release. Keep in mind that this was during a time when a 3 month free trial was being made available, but it would still be a major success if they could retain half of those new members.

Tidal has positioned themselves as that too cool for school club that attracts new users through exclusive content. This is through concerts, video, new music, playlists, etc. With that being said, they still only have 3 million users while Apple Music and Spotify carry over 20 million users respectively. So why isn’t this working for them? This exclusive strategy works just about everywhere else from clothing, tech, automotive, and more.

The issue starts from the product and the way its presented. Tidal has rubbed people the wrong way from the start with their botched product launch. Back in 2015 the service was presented as the second coming of christ. A group of top tier and very wealthy musicians where speaking about how the other streaming services do not pay the artists enough and that Tidal is the solution with their pricing model that was twice that of their competitors.

This right here is a brand and audience disconnect.

I truly believe that this is where Tidal went wrong. At first you could say that Spotify had too large of a grasp on the music streaming market. However, Apple Music launched after Tidal and they have done exceptionally well, so there goes that argument. Exclusive content drives sales when people like the brand and the product. Apple Music offers tons of exclusive albums such as Drake’s ‘More Life’ which broke a streaming record with 300 million worldwide streams in its first week. The service also carries exclusive radio shows with Beats 1.

Will 4:44 bump up Tidal’s subscribers? Sure, but as a service they need to come up with a way to increase subscribers aside from waiting on one of their big name artists to release an exclusive album. If not, they’ll be chasing the likes of Apple, Spotify, and Google forever. What do you guys think? Are you motivated to sign up for a service just to be one of the first ones to use on of their products?


Dakarai is an ambitious professional with a passion for advertising and marketing, and is currently employed as an account coordinator for an ad agency in Toronto. When he’s not at the office, he’s most likely trying out a new restaurant, browsing AdWeek, or binge watching something on Netflix. Dakarai, but you can call him Dak. Follow him on TwitterInstagram, and connect with him on LinkedIn.

Malick Ba

Beyoncé and Lemonade

April 26, 2016

She’s the master of the surprise album. She’s powerful. She’s a master of marketing. To no surprise, this article is all about Beyoncé herself. With her sixth studio album titled “Lemonade” released out of nowhere last weekend, I felt it was appropriate to talk about the Queen herself.  The album is full of broken relationships and ultimately a testament to the strength and perseverance of black women. While although I think Beyoncé fans would love anything that she put out, Lemonade is just a testament to how well her marketing department knows how to operate.

giphy (2)

Lemonade originally became available on Tidal which is a music streaming service owned by her husband none other than Jay-Z. Conveniently, her album became available as soon as her HBO special ended on 10pm on Saturday. For those who are unfamiliar with Tidal, Jay-Z acquired the Swedish music streaming service Aspiro, and rebranded it as Tidal with several other dominant artists last year. One of their biggest marketing strategies is the exclusivity it provides. If it’s on Tidal, then that’s how you get it (cough cough, Kanye West). However, her album was uploaded to iTunes on April 25th.giphy (3)

According to, when her album was released on Saturday, google searches involving the words “tidal” and “music” rose above to over 150%. That is definitely indicative of the kind of power Beyoncé has. Projections for its sales are expected to sell approximately up to 600,000 units this week alone.

Back to the album, it has started a lot of controversy in many other ways. Beyoncé discusses cheating in relationships within the album that has broken the internet. Without mentioning his name, Jay-Z has been under fire recently. Lyrics hint at the fact that Jay-Z possibly cheated on the Queen with Rachel Roy, a fashion designer that has been rumoured to be involved with the Brooklyn super star over the years. But that may be one of the most magnetic traits about the album. The internet is full of conspiracy theories discusses the possibilities of their future. Is this some sort of PR stunt to promote the album? Who knows? Is it legitimate? No clue. But what I do know is that the media (most notably tabloid magazines) have been inadvertently promoting her album, her music, and herself exponentially over the last few days since Lemonade’s release.


Beyoncé is arguably one of the most powerful women in the world, if not the most powerful women in the music industry. The timing of its release was unknown, but perfect. The lyrics behind her music imply, but don’t tell.  The amount of articles, theories, and bits of information that have been written about Beyoncé is just indicative of her control over us. All hail the queen.


Malick Ba is an advertising and marketing specialist currently living in Toronto, Canada. His academic background includes a Bachelor’s of Arts in Communications with a minor in Sociology from the University of Ottawa. Currently, Malick is a senior at Humber College and is looking forward to how he can leave his mark upon the marketing world. Follow him on Instagram, and connect with him on LinkedIn.