3 Key Steps Travis Scott Took To Build Hip Hop’s Top Creative Monopoly With Astroworld

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Travis Scott performing at AstroWorld Festival in 2018 | Roger Ho — Texas Monthly

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Travis Scott has built one of Hip Hop’s biggest brands and shows no signs of slowing down. Since the release of his debut studio album “Rodeo” in 2015, the Houston native has continued to grow his fan base at an astronomical rate — year after year.

Everything that Travis Scott represents in pop culture comes together to form one of Hip Hop’s top creative monopolies. From goosebumps to SICKO MODE — the rapper’s choice in singles are carefully constructed and can be curated throughout his branding.

“Scott’s rise in popularity has been fostered through intense relationship-building with a crazed fan base over a series of years, the direct result of one-of-a-kind live shows and well-received singles.”

Mike Dean

Key phrase: one-of-a-kind

With the release of “Astroworld in 2018 — Travis Scott solidified himself as one of Hip Hop’s most polarizing figures. The project went triple platinum, was highly regarded across the music industry and received a Grammy-nomination for Best-Rap Album.

With the two-year anniversary of Astroworld in passing and an upcoming project in the works. Travis Scott has reminded us all of what’s hard & what’s impossible. Travis Scott continuously presents his fans with an experience that they can’t find anywhere else.

Back in 2017, Travis Scott broke the world record (previously held by Kanye West & Jay Z) for most times performing one song in a single show. On May 12, 2017 in Oklahoma City, the rapper performed “goosebumps” a total of 14 times. Check out the video below.

As the video shows, Travis Scott is clearly set on pushing the limits. The “LaFlame” culture that Travis Scott has created is embodied in everything that he does and is translated to his fan base. The rapper has found a lucrative way to bring his fans on a journey that never disappoints.

Travis Scott is big on diversity and inclusion. From the name selection behind his singles and albums, the rapper has created a World for his fans to live within. This is a major aspect behind what drives his brand and creative monopoly.

With the release of “Rodeo” in 2015, Travis Scott discovered a formula for an overall live show and pushed through to provide fans with an one-of-a-kind experience. Lets go over his catalog from 2013–2019.

Official Mixtapes:

Studio Albums:

He is constantly presenting fans with an unique experience. His legendary sets include opening for Kendrick Lamar on his DAMN. Tour with D.R.A.M. and performing on a giant hovering bird.

Travis Scott continued to push the limits of what’s possible. All the way up to his — verystrategic merchandise collaborations with Virgil Abloh for Astroworld’s debut.

Establishing himself as megastar — as well as — a megabrand.

Every day for the nine days following Astroworld’s release, Scott unveiled new pieces as part of a 28 item line.

His website updated every 24 hours and once the new merch popped up, yesterday’s tees and ashtrays and slides disappeared.

On the last day of the drops, August 10, the same day [Nicki Minaj] released Queen, Scott unveiled a t-shirt designed in collaboration with Virgil Abloh.

A day later that, too, disappeared and was replaced with a whole new line of merch, this time for his Cactus Jack label and Astroworld tour.

Every purchase came with pre-sale access to concert tickets and a redeemable download of Astroworld.

The hypebeasts came hungry, and Scott fed them, all on his way to a number one album.

“We’re living through the merch bundle wars” — via The Fader

Travis Scott’s live performances are the heartbeat of his brand. This is why we have seen his fan base grow at such a rapid rate. He has mastered the stage and his energy keeps concert goers coming back for more.

That is — by definition — a creative monopoly.

Only Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. Tour ($40.7 Million) brought in more money than the Astroworld — Wish You Were Here ($34.3 Million) on his North American Tour. The brand power behind Travis Scott is that he is not pushing a lifestyle, he is presenting an experience.

His fans are clearly buying in: for the inaugural Astroworld Music Festival, close to 40,000 fans bought tickets for the Houston-based experience before a single supporting act was announced.

That is what makes Travis Scott’s brand appeal so strong. The word-of-mouth marketing he receives from his core fan base regarding his live performances are second to none. This creates a culture of mass attendance and those who haven’t experienced a “LaFlame Show” are next in line.

Core elements of Travis Scott’s Creative Monopoly:

  1. Music
  2. Merchandise
  3. Live Performances

Travis Scott has created one of the biggest brands in the music industry. From his first mixtape — Owl Pharoah — Travis Scott has continuously refined his branding and keyed in on providing fans with a “one-of-a-kind” live experience.

Getting his start as a producer in 2012, the Houston native has delivered unmatched growth since releasing his first studio album.

How Did Travis Scott Build A Creative Monopoly And How Can Other Artists Do The Same?

The key to any creative monopoly is to separate yourself from the crowd.

What will make you different?

How will the energy that you bring to the table IGNITE your fan base?

Now, lets go over ‘3 Key Steps Travis Scott Took To Build Hip Hop’s Top Creative Monopoly With Astroworld’.

1. Focus On Your Core Brand

Travis Scott has created one of hip hop’s top brands. The Houston-native isn’t solely pushing a lifestyle, he is providing fans with real-life experiences — that connects individuals through music, merchandise and strategic partnerships.

If you had to categorize Travis Scott’s brand affinity, he would line up more with Walt Disney and less with Floyd Mayweather & The Money Team. The key is to curate these experiences through out your branding.

Travis Scott does a great job of connecting with his fan base and is constantly shining a light on his supporters. The rapper’s high level of attention to detail in his branding in conjunction with his live performances, create a World for his fans to live within.

All these unique aspects of a core brand set the tone for any artists to create a movement and build a creative monopoly. Reiteration, consistency and setting standards are key to building a strong brand. Throughout Travis Scott’s music, visuals and merchandise — he is constantly setting standards for his fan base to follow.

Standards Breed Expectations — Expectations Breed Experiences.

While developing your brand — experimentation is key. Start local and build out. A main component of what makes Travis Scott’s creative monopoly so appealing is the support that he receives on a local and regional level.

Being from Houston, Travis Scott is in a 5 hour driving radius of:

Every artist can benefit from building a local fan base and this can be achieved by following Wendy Day’s ‘5 Hour Strategy’.

Cultivating a local fan base creates leverage for artists in a number of ways. Operating within a region you are ‘based in’ automatically increases your odds of success. The ‘5 Hour Strategy’ is also a fairly low investment with a high return on capital.

In Travis Scott’s case, he was able to grow a fan base within his region and also open up possibilities for fans to travel and visit Houston for his Astroworld Music Festival. An occasion, where fans are willing to pay upwards of $600 for a one-day festival.

Ultimately, creating an economy within an economy — through advertising, strategic partnerships and the sale of merchandise. Adding to the brand power and creative monopoly of Travis Scott.

2. Focus On Your Core Products (Music & Merchandise)

It all starts with music and brand messaging. Travis Scott is consistently setting standards for his demographic to feed on. Astroworld presents fans with a high energy, dark and rebellious environment that Travis Scott is inviting them to join.

These overall brand objectives are achieved through music, merchandise and brand associations (i.e. Fortnite Concert). A certain precedence is placed on a “La Flame Show” and that brand power has been converted through merchandise, ticket sales and strategic partnerships.

Astroworld pulled in a whopping 537,000 units sold first week (270,000 pure sales). A number one ranking on the Billboard Hot 200 Album Charts and was certified triple platinum by RIAA.

Travis Scott provides his fans with an unique experience and everything that you hear through the music comes to life at his live performances. His overall sound is made for stadiums, festivals, etc. Being made up of a prevalent mix of ambient, hip hop and lo-fi — the combination creates the perfect mood for an enchanting environment.

Your fan base can love everything about your music — ultimately — the overall experience has to come together at your live performances. A quality live event can be the difference between brand growth and a decline in loyalty. A lesser quality live performance can take away from your overall brand affinity.

The key is to provide an experience that is backed by music and reiterated through merchandise.

No word-of-mouth = No fan base growth.

People are equally willing to share good experiences, as they are with bad experiences.

Once you have built a fan base through music, you have to be the guardian, keeper and leader of your brand. Fans are ultimately buying into what you do, who you are and the experience you are providing them.

Travis Scott embodies this at his shows by connecting and getting close to his fans. He personally gives out shoes, bags, baseball caps and other items. His actions are a show of good faith. As well as a reward after fans have recited verses from the current song that he is performing.

These are priceless rewards that fans will cherish forever and his actions overall allow him to build a deeper connection with his fan base. Ultimately — reinforcing the loyalty, commitment and love his fans continuously show.

3. Focus On Your Live Performances

Travis Scott’s brand and overall creative monopoly is solely based around his live performances. Not only does the Houston rapper consistently “feed” his fans for being committed. He actively calls out people for violating the culture surrounding his fan base..

At shows, he actively reiterates,

“No LaFlame fan gets thrown out for turning up!”

It’s important for artists to set standards surrounding their supporters. This will allow for more people to buy into what you do on a creative level. Travis Scott accomplishes this by continuously providing an unique “one-of-a-kind” experience.

He goes extremely into detail with his set designs and makes sure that concert goers walk away from a “LaFlame Show” with a memorable experience. Travis Scott hasn’t missed his mark yet, as his Astroworld Music Festival has developed into a perennial powerhouse.

Having his own music festival makes perfect sense for the rapper’s overall brand. Live performances are a major aspect behind Travis Scott’s creative monopoly. Everything is driven through his live presentations — from deepening his connections with fans to breaking World records.

His fans are always the center of attention and he asks for the same in return. Travis Scott wants people to be present and not just recording the moment. Presenting a notion that no one is above the culture. Asking for total commitment — in hopes of — amplifying the overall experience.

As a live performer, you have to guard the culture that you create at all costs. Travis Scott has done this by consistently putting out a high energy show and his fans have developed into the World’s best marketers/brand reps.

The impact of his live performances are maximized because of the real-life experiences that it provides for spectators. It serves as a right-of-passage for fans who are searching for an “extreme” and who want to continue to build on an experience being shared with everyone in attendance.

This phenomenon can only be explained through visuals. Check out the video below.

It’s a great marketing strategy for artists and musicians who are looking to replicate the same formula. Word-of-mouth marketing presents fans with an invite and if they truly love the experience you are providing, they will — with out a doubt — tell other people as well as become repeat attendees.

Word-of-mouth marketing has become a great form of PR, marketing and advertising for Travis Scott. For return attendees— the show becomes an even better experience because they know what type of energy to bring to the table.

Concert goers — fully — comprehend that going to a Travis Scott show or festival is a completely transcending experience within itself. An experience that can not be matched by any other artist.

Being a great live performer is major asset in a creative monopoly because it brings your fan base together for an “one-of-a-kind” live experience. With the rise of the music streaming, in conjunction with social media. Live performances allow people to gather and share a common interest offline.

Live performances are comparable to movies, if a movie receives a bad review on opening weekend — statistically — that can take away from future ticket sales. Keep in mind — you don’t REALLY need a big budget to present a great live performance, concert or event.

It takes practice and experimentation and the steps that Travis Scott has taken is a great way to model your own creative monopoly. To go over a few key steps, let’s check out the recipe below.

  1. Focus on your core brand.
  2. Focus on your core products (music & merchandise).
  3. Focus on your live performances.

Bring it all together, rinse & repeat.

If you’re interested in learning more or joining the conversation feel free to sign up for our monthly Newsletter, join our Facebook group. You can also follow me on Twitter!

Written by

Entrepreneur based in Minneapolis, MN. I write about Music, Inspiration, Economics & Business. Website: 227-mn.com & Newsletter: http://ow.ly/nBJJ50AbYAF

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