Hidden Figures: The Blacksmithed Goes Unique

“Dear Artist,

Have you ever sat in your bedroom stu, and wondered to yourself what your actual reach was? We’ve all been there. In fact, The Blacksmithed has the answer for you. Yes, behind the scenes there are numbers in the form of stats and things of that nature. We have used these numbers to aid us in constructing this formula:

Total Reach = [(Track times girls you know)/(girls that actually know you rap over pie)] times ZERO + the no. of friends you have on Whatsapp divided by 2

Yours in Hip Hop,
The Blacksmithed”


Reach. The distance your music goes after you have released it. The above is the formula for reach. The number you get as an answer is a very important number, especially if you are aimed at building a legacy. That number is so important that it’s been manipulated and use to paint a picture that is not true, all in the name of reach.

I remember interviewing an artist who, to me, seemed like a popular artist at the time. He was so eager to tell us about his average downloads which were between 10k and 20k. When we hit him with a follow up question the answer was so weak, I doubt we even used that footage. The question was simple: “Which doors has getting such high downloads opened up for you?”. In my mind, I thought if you had 20k people who download your songs whenever they came out, then at least 1000 would buy the ‘merch’. If 20k people followed the track drops, at least 500 would show up to the shows if your name is on the poster. I thought if you can get 20k downloads surely some of people could support your projects and pay for it. But you would need 20k people first!

We’re really not a fan of the numbers because what we are aimed at (An EC Hip Hop market) and what we have right now, the last thing we need is a rapper with an ego. Truth is, we have become obsessed with the numbers and these numbers are not bringing us any closer to what we set out to achieve. Do these numbers even make any sense? If your music reached 20k individuals, could you convert that to revenue?

With the old website, all we could see was the track and total number of downloads. This was just like any other downloading site on the net. We could spot abuse from a mile away. How? Anthony Camble, an OG in these streets and good friend to The Blacksmithed, once put it like this: “Your song was downloaded 15 000 times and when I search you up on ALL social media there is NO ONE talking about it??”. Point is, you can manipulate the market but you cannot fool it. It’s easy to pick it up.

With the new website, we switched it up. There are more numbers to work with and those numbers don’t lie. The level of abuse has gotten so bad that we had to call it out a few weeks ago. When the artist was confronted, they apologised and said they were only trying to push their song. So gone are the days when artist traveled far and wide to push their music to a new audience. Nah, today bedroom rappers lay in bed and repeatedly download their own song all day. Interesting. We thought confrontation would stop this type of abuse but it didn’t. The fight with these numbers carry on.

We have decided to switch it up one more time. The Blacksmithed no longer counts the total downloads; we have no idea what those numbers mean? From today onwards, The Blacksmithed will only display the total unique downloads. This means the counter will only budge when a unique device downloads the song. We not totally abuse free, it just makes it extremely hard for an artist to download their own song multiple times. If you have access to 1000 devices and the time to go to each one and download your own song then you deserve to see 1000 downloads next to your name but your career would go so much further if you used that time to go out, meet people, speak to them and made your circle bigger.

We have observed people on our site legitimately attain high unique downloads and attain far reach. A proven strategy is to advertise your song. Get it out there somehow. Run ads on social media networks. Or if they get too pricy, then consider advertising on our website. We did it ourselves with #NowOrNeverEC and the results were extraordinary! The main objective should be for new ears to hear your music. Reach!

With the new site, we’ve brought a new way of tracking performance. With the higher standard we have set for ourselves, it is very interesting times at The Blacksmithed Camp. What a time to be alive!

And don’t forget folks:

Men lie, women lie, but numbers don’t!