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MICHELE MARDORF

ART DIRECTOR

Hip Hop Music in the
Post-Pandemic Landscape

Thesis Project

Brand: 

Dreamville

Content:

  • Creative brief

  • Key consumer insights based on primary and secondary research

  • Executions

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Creative Brief

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CULTURAL CONTEXT: The pandemic puts the music industry to the test

The COVID-19 pandemic has limited the types of experiences artists are able to provide to fans due to social distancing. This has forced the music industry’s ecosystem to adapt and innovate in the ways they reach and engage with the consumer.

“They took away the one thing that we do, the one thing that we do is build that community.”

- Derick Okolie, Head of Marketing at Dreamville

Dreamville relies heavily on events to build direct connections with fans and scaling artists to a global stage. The inability to incorporate in-person appearances into the fan experience revealed that depending heavily on this pillar can lead Dreamville to complications if there are no other experiential outlets to build fan loyalty.

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COMPANY PROBLEM: Restrictions on in-person events obstructs Dreamville from strengthening connection with the community and expanding globally

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OBJECTIVE: To build a global tribe by strengthening Dreamville’s digital presence and place in culture

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TARGET AUDIENCE: Dreamville's superfan, fan, and potential fan

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Andrew

The superfan

  • Stays up-to-date with everything Dreamville related

  • Has an extra appreciation for lyrics and storytelling

  • Loyal to purpose-driven brands

  • Experiences > things

  • Puts aside some of this income to attend concerts and events annually

  • Not satisfied with live-streaming performances

  • Follows: Highsnobiety, Complex, XXL, Vice, Culture Millennials

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Justin

The fan

  • Always discovering and staying up-to-date with new hip hop releases

  • Has a special interest in beats, samples, and producing 

  • Is into sports, ESports, and gaming, and other competitive activities

  • Constantly spends time with his group of friends

  • Loves watching Verzuz

  • Follows: Adult Swim, HNHH, WorldStarHipHop, DatPiff, Bleacher Report

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Sarah

The potential fan

  • Listens to R&B, afrobeats, and different types of Caribbean music.

  • Heavy social media user: Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Clubhouse

  • Supports brands and celebrities that align with her values and position themselves when issues arise

  • Loves going for brunch, dancing, and the arts

  • Recently got more into self-care, mental health, and working out 

  • Follows: NPR, Colors, The Shade Room, Spiritual World, Feminist

CONSUMER PROBLEM

Digital experiences are not nearly as satisfactory as in-person experiences, with consumers saying they lack the feeling of connection. However, fans expressed currently not being fully comfortable with the idea of crowds sweating and pressing against each other. 

Cultural truth - collective events are what make fans feel especially connected to the artist and rest of the audience, responding to the human need for belonging.

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TARGET INSIGHT

Dreamville fans don't just experience music as a personal activity, but they also enjoy it heavily as a collective; ultimately it is about a sense of belonging and community.

OPPORTUNITY: The untapped potential of digital experiences as part of Dreamville’s community building

By amplifying Dreamville’s emphasis on community into digital ecosystems through the integration of collective, interactive, and immersive experiences, Dreamville will fulfill the fan’s desire for connection and establish global presence.

STRATEGIC POV: Dreamville’s community transcends physical spaces

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Concept: Ville Collabs

A platform for creative collaboration

VILLE COLLABS is a webseries that serves as a platform to empower the hip hop culture and expose artists and producers to bigger audiences. The show focuses on portraying the creative dynamic of studio sessions featuring a Dreamville artist and an artist chosen by the audience to help the awareness, exposure and development of different artists locally and globally. It depicts the collaborative spirit of hip hop while also strengthening the digital community of Dreamville fans by making consumers more important players in the development of an artist's journey, and creating more engaging experiences.

 

The content strategy surrounding this concept, inspired by Berry Gordy's assembly line, builds a global digital community by empowering the sounds of today’s culture, and creates interactive and immersive experiences to make the consumer feel part of the story.

 

The diagram below shows an example of how this content assembly line would develop using Ari Lennox as the Dreamville artist featured on a VILLE COLLABS episode.


 

DREAMVILLE

Dreamville decides which artist from the label will be in the spotlight for the upcoming episode.

It then gets revealed through their social media, as well as through other accounts (Complex, XXL, Datpiff).

FINDING FEATURING TALENT

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ARTIST INTERVIEWS

Short-form video content based on interviews with the episode’s artists created to introduce the talent to new audiences and provide a look into their personal life.

 

This will help establish artists in the mind of the consumer through the video’s storytelling while satisfying the consumer desire for more personal content as they’re exposed to new artists.

In this example, afrobeats artist Juls is selected to be the featuring artist on the episode with Ari Lennox.

VILLE COLLABS EPISODE RELEASE

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VOTING THROUGH STREAMS

Fans will be encouraged at the end of each episode to stream the song created as a means to vote which is their favorite of the season so far. 

 

Streaming charts will be the indicators of what song is performing best and therefor wins at the end of the season.

SOCIAL MEDIA TO BUILD ENGAGEMENT
FOR NEXT EPISODE

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THE VILLE EXPERIENCE

At the end of the season, an experiential activation will be curated in partnership with ARTECHOUSE to recreate the studio sessions through immersive visual and audio experiences.

 

Different rooms will feature: content with additional footage from previous stages in the content journey, an interactive studio room, a room for the song with best streaming results mimicking the concert experience through spatial audio, and more.

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Once awareness of Ville Collabs’ upcoming episode has been established, the audience will have the power to choose which local or international artist should be featured alongside the Dreamville artist.

This will drive social media engagement for Dreamville fans and superfans, as well as attract the potential fan (Remember Sarah?)

 

The audience will be able to vote through the hashtag on Twitter and voting on Instagram stories. A Clubhouse room will be hosted in which the audience will be able to drop in and have a chance to influence the decision through conversation or have a chance to show their talent and be chosen.

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Short form webseries

Duration: 15-20 minutes

Episodes of VILLE COLLABS will be released on YouTube as partner to expose diverse Dreamville and external talent to new audiences across the world.

 

The show’s set is the recording studio, where creative collaboration fuels an underlying competitive spirit to create the best work the show has ever seen yet. At the end of the episode the result will be a new song that will be released that day on music streaming platforms.

 

The series will also showcase behind-the-scenes content on the artists’ creative process and the unsung heroes who are part of it, including producers and engineers.

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As the song from the last episode continues being streamed on music streaming services, Ville Collabs would start building anticipation for the next episode by asking the audience to be part of the decision making on what musicians they'd want to see on the next episode.

[The cycle gets repeated all over again as the next episode airs].

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