Stormzy Builds A Last of Its Kind Social Media Empire

on 25 November British grime artist Stormzy has released her highly anticipated third album. I mean this. The critically acclaimed record marked the versatile MC’s ambitious attempt to fully summarize himself in a single recording. It also marked a new phase for the #Merky empire.

Stormzy, 29, has been using #Merky on Twitter and other platforms since becoming an underground phenomenon in the mid-2010s. As its popularity increased, so did the network it built around the hashtag. He is now releasing his albums under the #Merky label, affiliated with Def Jam. His #Merky Foundation provides scholarships to Black students at Cambridge University. #Merky Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, is dedicated to publishing underrepresented voices (and also Stormzy’s own Rise Up: The #Merky Story So Far). before I mean thislaunched #Merky FC, a partnership with Adidas in a multi-pronged campaign to recruit more Blacks in leading positions throughout professional football. (The word itself often connotes quality and strength, in case you were wondering. She rapped “Shut up” in 2017.)

#Merky has long since gone beyond its origins and these days the rapper only uses social media temporarily, but still Stormzy’s hashtag campaign stands as the singular use of online platforms. As Twitter enters the ever-evolving, ever-volatile Elon Musk phase and TikTok becomes even more dominant, it’s worth wondering: Will the enterprising musicians of the future be able to follow Stormzy’s lead and find ways to manipulate social media at their will? Or will they be geared in their process?

When Stormzy started building her #Merky network, she augmented it with the traditional model: by tagging tweets or Instagram photos, attracting followers in the process. It was a steady rise that built a steady fan base. For some, social media success can come much faster.

Take the comedian and musician Whitmer Thomas. He expressed the popularity of his favorite song “Big Baby”. tweeted He went on a US tour in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. Or Lil Nas X, who went from managing a stan account on Twitter to the frenzied success of “Old Town Road”, heralding TikTok’s dominance as a hit factory. The easiest and best way for artists to gain internet fame these days is to become viral sounds on the video-sharing platform. For example, Megan Thee Stallion’s inspiring dance trends “Body” or Lil Yachty’s chart-topping song “Poland”. TikTok has also given careers to niche voices like Nathan Evans, the nautical chantey man who signed with Polydor Records. The idea of ​​TikTok virality turning into real-world fame is now so clichéd that it’s an important plot point in the new world. Pitch perfect television spin-off, bumper in berlin.

But the marriage of musicians and social media continues to be complicated, says Jeremy Morris, professor of media and cultural studies at the University of Wisconsin. “I’m not sure there is a ‘dominant’ mode for musicians using social media,” he says. “Yes, posting a viral track on TikTok is getting a lot of musicians moving these days, and yes, you see songwriters trying to create tracks with 10 to 20 second hooks that can easily be turned into dances. But you also see artists who oppose their music being cut and decontextualized in this way. ”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *