"It ain't easy comin' out of where we from, homie. And that's the reason why I could never play for me. Tell 'em the truth is what my dead homies told me. I take inspiration from the most heinous of situations, creating medication out of my own tribulations. Dear Africa, you helped me write this by showing me to give is priceless." – كنعان وارسام
Somalia native K'naan, born Kanaan Warsame, is a rising hip-hop artist whose objective is to educate his listeners about the pressing issues affecting his home country. He educates this expanding audience through both his music and his utilization of several media outlets - particularly the internet. This internet presence allows him to network with his existing fans while simultaneously building a broader fan base and promoting his new album "Troubadour" produced with Octone/A&M Records.
K'naan brings his fan network together through the use of his main website. On this website, he has created a Facebook/MySpace-type environment where his fans can interact with each other and him through their "MyPages" – personalized fan pages containing RSS feeds, blogs, Facebook-type "walls", photos, applications, widgets, music, and personal information. This type of online community is a great locus of amicable thought and media sharing, through avenues such as "wall posting", blogging, and photo/video sharing.
The main page on K'naan's website, however, is a paradigm of organized chaos. The copious amount of information on this page allows his fans to access every website on which one could find profiles and/or information about him or even Somalia, but this person needs to be willing to read through the entire main page and really explore each piece of information presented. As a devout fan, sifting through the web page is not a problem, but as a first-time, interested listener or a prospective consumer, the page could be slightly overwhelming.
K'naan takes full advantage of keeping in touch with his fans through blogging. He keeps current blogs on many different websites including his main web page, Twitter, MySpace, DipDive, imeem, Buzznet, bebo, and 4REAL. He is currently on tour for his album "Troubadour", and while on tour, he keeps fans updated on his current thoughts, travels and news through these websites. All of the information is interesting, but it is difficult to keep up with him because each website contains different posts. A universal link could be used to direct readers to one main blog where all of his posts are located so that less effort is needed to stay up-to-date with his blogging.
With his easily accessible internet presence, K'naan keeps fans intrigued. As with all artists, there are always ways to advance and improve marketing and web design, but as an all-inclusive artist with an all-encompassing web page, fans can always find new information about K'naan and his work. By knowing his audience and targeting that fan base, K'naan has proven to be effective in promoting and building his success.
What Stands Out
This case study was written by Tara Comes and Kristal Foster, students at Berklee College of Music.
- K'naan's main website is a ning site. This service allows you to create your own customizable social network.
- Taking K'naan's approach to an online presence with a bit less chaos would be very effective for the right artist.