Three Days, Two Artists, One Song
He didn’t know it yet, but Sleepy Hallow had just released his top-performing song.
It was April 2021 when the rapper debuted his single ‘2055’. He’d seen previous success with his track ‘Flows’, but it had been three years since then—and now, he was hunting for his next big break.
‘2055’ had the potential to propel him into the pop culture stratosphere. In June, Coi Leray remixed the single and both he and Coi prepared for relaunch when Sleepy Hallow’s agent met Ubiquitous.
Ubiquitous offered to help promote the song. The only problem? They’d met on a Friday afternoon—and ‘2055’ was set to be released that Monday morning.
Ubiquitous hustled to build a campaign over a single weekend. It was a tight squeeze, but it launched ‘2055’ into a stunning success. Within a month, it was a trending sound on TikTok, leading to 370K User Generated Content (UGC) and ranking #7 on Spotify’s Top 50 - USA. Today, ‘2055’ has over 420M Spotify streams.
Here’s how Ubiquitous used TikTok to turn ‘2055’ into a cultural phenomenon.
The Goal: Drive Up Streams and Generate Hype
Sleepy Hollow's previous single, ‘Flows’, gained popularity with little to no marketing efforts. But today, artists are using TikTok —a well-known virality machine—to debut their songs.
It’s not hard to understand why. Trending songs on TikTok often end up landing on the Billboard 100 or Spotify Viral 50. And according to MRC Data, 67% of users are more likely to seek out a single after hearing it on TikTok.
The goal was to get ‘2055’ in front of as many people as possible. But to pull this off, Ubiquitous had to act fast and deploy the campaign right as ‘2055’ dropped.
Traction is critical during a song’s release period as radio and platform playlist editors will analyze its activity to measure interest in a song. If it’s healthy, there’s a higher chance for playlist, radio, and other editorial opportunities.
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The Process: Finding Influencers and Getting Them to Say “Yes” 💍
Ubiquitous prepared for the all-nighters and dove into action. ☕️
The first step was to source influencers. Ubiquitous used its proprietary technology to identify influencers who’d been involved in creating previous trends within the hip-hop/rap genre—meaning their audience would resonate with ‘2055’.
Ubiquitous pulled the data and contacted every influencer listed. It isn’t a traditional method, but the data showed these influencers were high-quality because they had the right audience to propel the song and extend its reach.
However, the real battle was eliminating any back-and-forth communication between the influencers and Ubiquitous due to the time crunch. There was no room to sort out contracts, negotiations, and ideation. The influencers needed to sign —and sign fast.
To streamline the process, Ubiquitous came up with a dead-simple proposition:
“Create one TikTok to ‘2055’.”
There was no brand playbook, no guidelines, and no long-term proposals. Ubiquitous gave the influencer a few creative ideas and let them run free. All the influencer had to do was do what they do best–create—and they’d get instantly paid out.
By giving the influencer creative reign and rapid payment (which is uncommon in the industry) it minimized any friction, meaning the campaign could throttle forward. 🚀
“We then gave them creative freedom to design something that would fit their own audience so as many people as possible would watch the whole video.” — Zach Fitch, UBQ Campaign Strategist
The Result: A Trend Was Born
The First Wave
After a long weekend, Ubiquitous hit its deadline. 🎉 17 influencers made dozens of creative iterations of ‘2055’, and soon their TikToks hit 1.5M views. But, one video in particular stood out.
An influencer had followed Ubiquitous’ suggestion to create a comedic sketch to ‘2055’. In the TikTok, the influencer placed on-screen text while the song was playing. The first line of “before” text reads “me waking up with no motivation” as the influencer sits on their bed. Then, as they get up, the “after” text reads, “milfs.”
Abstracted, a meme was born. With Sleepy Hallow’s 2055 playing, the first part always showed someone dejected with the text “me waking up with no motivation.” The second part would cut to a new scene with text overlaid describing what had given the creator their motivation. Hey, Gen-Z is known for its bizarre and absurdist humor.
When Ubiquitous realized other creators started following this meme template, they saw they were onto something big. Really big. They suggested Sleepy Hallow’s agent put in another round of budget so they could double-down on the trend.
It proved to be the right move.
The Second Wave
Ubiquitous reached out to new creators with the same proposition—no rules, instant payout. But, Ubiquitous told them about ‘2055’s circulating comedic sketch, suggesting it as a template if they were facing any creative blocks.
The creators followed the creative guideline as it was an easily replicable format. Soon, even more iterations of the meme began to proliferate as TikTok superstars started to follow suit.
Iconic TikTokers such as Lev Cameron, Polo Boy, Payton, and Noah Beck created their own versions of the meme—without Ubiquitous contacting them. Altogether, these influencers had 60.9M followers — meaning millions of people were listening to ‘2055’ worldwide.
The second wave outdid expectations and Sleepy Hallow’s agent opted for a third go.
Ubiquitous contacted another batch of influencers, this time collaborating based on engagement rates instead of follower count. They hypothesized that a higher engagement rate would mean a higher chance of the influencer’s audience creating their own version of the ‘2055’ comedic sketch.
Their hypothesis proved correct.
‘2055’ soared in popularity as participating TikTokers created nearly 370K+ UGC. UGC transforms music from a passive to interactive experience as viewers sing, dance, or act alongside a song.
This interactivity is how ‘2055’ entered TikTok’s virality machine. Ubiquitous knew tying ‘2055’ to a trend would make it memorable and shareable, amplifying its popularity.
"A comedic sketch is a stellar way for a video to become shareable. When people share the video because they think it’s funny, you’re encompassing people who both liked the music and dig the trends. It casts a wider net, and it’s one of the many different tools in the toolbox to get a song to go viral. ” – Zach Fitch, Ubiquitous
Conclusion: 420M Streams & a Cultural Phenomenon
The wins for Sleepy Hallow didn’t stop there.
Soon after, ‘2055’ ranked #7 on Spotify’s Top 50 – USA. It was a stunning achievement that validated Sleepy Hallow’s talent as an artist—and TikTok’s staggering influence on the music industry.
Today, ‘2055’ holds over 420M streams on Spotify. But, it became the streaming juggernaut it is today due to Ubiquitous’ strategic TikTok campaign.
By working swiftly with influencers, providing minimalistic creative guidelines, offering instant payout, capitalizing on trends, and selecting engagement rate over follower count, Ubiquitous turned ‘2055’ into a cultural phenomenon.
“TikTok has been controlling a huge portion of trending songs for over a year now. In order to cause a song to hit that viral stage you need a full team actively consuming TikTok content, and understanding what is causing songs to grow. The types of trends that work change as fast as a weekly basis.” — Zach Fitch, UBQ
TikTok has revolutionized the music industry. Everyone—from artists, to agents, to record labels—are hopping aboard. If you’d like to join the gold rush and participate in the next generation of music marketing, get in touch with us. Let’s take over the internet.