In CHH, marketing is everything.
An artist can have a dope album and high-quality music videos but without marketing, fans won’t know about their music.
Some labels excel at marketing their product. Take Reflection Music Group, the longstanding independent record label that touts high profile artists like co-founder Derek Minor, Canon, Deraj and Tony Tillman.
Those aforementioned rappers are established already in the CHH genre and can hold their own. Each of those artists know how to generate the buzz needed to get their music out.
Then there are CHH rappers like veteran solo artist Konata Small (formerly K-Nuff of Rhema Soul) and Florida-based rapper Reconcile, who need the backing of a successful brand to help with a marketing strategy.
“Konata Small and Reconcile are great artists who’ve already built a name for themselves and have a solid fan base,” said Doc Watson, co-founder of Reflection Music Group. “They just need that extra push.”
Providing that extra push is RMG Amplify, a label partnership division that provides marketing support to established independent artists.
“(RMG Amplify) is for artists that are doing pretty decent, that have a fan base but don’t really have a push or a team to help them out,” Watson said. “They might be really good at putting their music out but not really good at getting the marketing going or they might not be very good at getting themselves booked.
“ So we’re just trying to figure out how we can help do that and create more options. It also gives them an opportunity to grow and to expand their base.”
Watson and Derek Minor, the men behind Reflection Music Group, created RMG Amplify with Konata Small and Reconcile leading the musical charge.
In August, Reconcile delivered his mixtape Streets Don’t Love You, the first RMG Amplify release.
In October, RMG Amplify is expected to have another album out with Konata Small’s debut solo album, Est.1997.
Initially Konata had planned to drop music on his own, going the independent route.
But meeting Watson at a wedding scrapped those plans and he joined the RMG Amplify team.
Konata said he was attracted to RMG Amplify because of what it had to offer.
“They are basically running the ship while you write the music,” Konata Small said. “They help with the marketing, and roll out and even your social media. They are a support system to help you push out your music on a PR and marketing level.”
Konata has instantly noticed the impact RMG Amplify is having on his solo career.
With the help of RMG Amplify, Konata’s music video to “Numbers” plays on a loop at the shoe and accessory store Journeys, an opportunity that probably wouldn’t be possible if Konata was on his own.
Konata said he has also seen a big push with his Spotify impact. He said RMG Amplify helps with formulating a plan for each song on Spotify.
The biggest benefit he said is the ability to cross-promote stuff on his own social media accounts and with RMG Amplify’s.
“That would probably be one of he biggest things, using their platform that they spent all their time building and trusting me with it,” Konata Small said.
Both, Konata Small and Watson say the concept of RMG Amplify is ahead of their time in the CHH genre, considering there isn’t anything like it.
“There is really not a lot of sharing that happens out there. There isn’t a lot of network sharing. A lot of people are afraid to open up the safe to share what they got,” Watson said. “ We’re like let’s go ahead and share we’ll just make it work. There is a perspective that works because we’re sharing and letting them hear their music but at the same time we are both sharing our networking and just providing marketing.”
Watson said for whatever reason the genre doesn’t like to share resources with each other, but RMG Amplify is for the success of their artist so it will share resources with them.
“With RMG Amplify it’s mostly deals that are very favorable for the artist, “Watson said. They keep their publishing. We don’t get involved in that. They still own their masters. It’s just really we’re involved in the record and we make money off of the record based on how it sales. We have to do well for it to work for us, too.”
Often times people in the industry get confused between RMG and RMG Amplify.
Watson said the main difference between the two is that RMG is the label. Artists on RMG are fully investing in their own music, paying for their own marketing, and producing their own videos.
Where as with RMG Amplify ,the artist makes the record but the marketing is left to Amplify.
“We amplify their music, help them make some noise, be louder, get them a lot more attention.” Watson said.