Do More ‘Weird’ Stuff

Earlier today someone sent me a link to a video of Lil Yachty performing a Simpsons themed rap as part of a new digital short for Jimmy Fallon’s late night show. This was perfect content for me, a lifelong Simpsons fan, as well as something highly sharable that would no doubt get the name Lil Yachty in front of people who might not have heard it otherwise. Here’s the clip in question:

You may or may not enjoy Lil Yachty’s music, but if you’re a fan of The Simpsons there is little doubt in my mind that the opportunity to hear a rap about the citizens of Springfield is something you wouldn’t miss for the world. This is why the video above is such clever marketing: The idea works regardless of how is behind it. Any artist could create this video and, as long as it was done well, there would be an audience of consumers who might not otherwise touch said artist’s music. 

I call content like this ‘weird’ because it’s not what an artist would normally deliver (song, video for song, album, tour dates, etc.). ‘Weird’ content steps outside the normal expectations for artist promotion and shares something wholly original that also speaks to the artist’s life outside music. This type of content helps artists forge stronger connections with fans through common threads of interest that, through clever manipulation, ultimately connect with the music the artist is creating.

Take the video above. What Lil Yachty has really done by creating this clip is to make himself more accessible to an audience of consumers that may or may not already know his name. Yachty himself is an outspoken fan of cartoons, as are many of his fans, so to leverage the longest-running cartoon in the name of personal branding is a smart decision. People who enjoy The Simpsons may also enjoy rap, and if that is the case there is a fairly decent chance they will enjoy what Yachty does as well. If not, at least they have heard it and can tell others about its existence, even if they are just referring to the video above.

The best kind of marketing any artist can hope to achieve is the kind that comes from fans tells non-listeners about the artist without being asked to do so. Fun, ‘weird’ clips like the one in this post encourage sharing without directly asking for artist promotion. 

Think of something you love and find a way to share that passion with your audience. Maybe this means a clever video, or perhaps it’s a blog covering a TV show you cannot stop binging while on tour. Let people know what makes the person behind the music tick and they will care for the music being created more than ever before.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.