During their “Weekly Conversation” series, the Wall Street Journal crowned Soulja Boy as “Rap’s Social Media King.” The title sounds like an exaggeration until the 20-year-old entertainer explains the amount of money he was bringing in via viral sites like YouTube and SoundClick before he graduated high school.
“I built my name on SoundClick first,” Soulja Boy explained. “Once I reached the top ten, my plays started to increase after every week. After I found MySpace, I linked my MySpace page directly to my SoundClick account. After I did my first million, my music was in the streets, and I just started doing shows from there.”
Some of the aforementioned shows would bring in up to $10,000 per venue. In addition to amassing over 3.6 million YouTube views, Soulja Boy says he leveraged his average of 20,000 plays into over $100,000 via SoundClick’s profit-sharing model while he was still in high school. The chart-topping single “Crank That” would eventually land him a major label deal, sell 10 million digital downloads and also spawn singles such as “Turn My Swag On,” and “Pretty Boy Swag.”
“I had thoughts of creating the next social media site,” Soulja Boy added. “I just really wanted to take Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and YouTube and combine them into one big social media network.”
While he didn’t create the all-encompassing social-media outlet, Soulja Boy did get 2.5 million people to subscribe to his Twitter feed. He also began using a subscriber-based service named SayNow, which he uses to reach an additional 4.9 million fans.