Mr. Muthaf---in' eXquire sure seems to have figured out the formula of turning music videos into music industry successes: relentlessness.
The rapper, a panelist at Wednesday's "Importance of Online Video and Social Media" discussion, transfomed himself from a security guard at a parking lot to the star of a video with 400,000-plus views (that features the likes of Danny Brown, El-P and Das Racist) in under six months, almost entirely based on his social media prowess and tireless work ethic. At Wednesday's panel, he shared some of the stories behind his success.
"Cultivating a fan base is like creating a cult -- that's why they call it cult-ivating," he said. "You want everyone to drink the Kool-Aid. You want people to say, 'I want to drink forties like eXquire does!' You have to create your brand and build it."
eX played the part of the success story that the rest of the panel -- moderator/Billboard branding reporter Andrew Hampp, Brandon Martinez (president/CEO, IND Music), Matthew Mills (executive producer/director, SpaceStation) and Tom Biery (Collective Sounds) -- believed could be achieved with relentless dedication to video engagement with fans.
"It's arguably more important now to have a social media schedule than to have a touring schedule," said Biery, emphasizing how YouTube starlets Megan and Liz built a career based on songs created in their bedrooms using social media and near-constant fan engagement. And Mills agreed, saying that having a consistent YouTube presence helps build crowds while touring -- and that the analytics from YouTube, Facebook, and sales can help artists target regions for touring and building audiences.
And eXquire -- who just signed a deal with Universal Republic -- agreed, pushing the importance of being creative and engaging in music videos in order to build a fan base. "You need to be compelling and creative and have a plan," he said. "Video is the new album to me -- where else does an artist go to be seen [other than YouTube]? For me, the main thing is to be captivating."