Tag Archives: FunkMaster Flex

Magna Carta goes platinum? Yeah, I called that.


I have been vindicated – VINDICATED I tell you!

I know you’re like, “what’s this fool blabbing about now?”

Bear with me.

Yesterday, Jay Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail album, initially released on July 4 exclusively via mobile app, was officially certified platinum.

Right now, you’re probably thinking, “so effing what?”

Well I’ll tell you effing what.

Jay Z’s album being certified platinum in less than one week after it was released, and the same day it was available in stores, means the rules are being rewritten.

“What rules?” you ask.

THE rules.

Of music promotion.

Media promotion.

Brand promotion.

You might be thinking, “but Samsung paid $5 million, how is that re-writing the rules?”

And that’s a fair question.

The fact of the matter is that Samsung’s deal with Jay Z, to purchase 1 million copies of Magna Carta and give them away free, made his platinum certification a foregone conclusion.

Magna_Carta app

It also means that his actual sales are going to get a major boost.

It’s been forecast that Magna Carta’s first week sales will eclipse those of his previous best seller, The Blueprint 3.

But the bigger issue is that in embarking on this ambitious app-only pre-release, both Samsung and Jay Z, realized the massive impact (and value) of mobile and social media to their respective brands.

Their initiative effectively leveraged social media and mobile to make the Magna Carta album and the Samsung Galaxy line of phones, two of the most talked, blogged, tweeted and tagged subjects of the past three weeks.

At this point, you’re probably asking, “so why do you feel vindicated, Stephen?”

What does any of this have to do with me?

It’s quite simple really.

The mobile phone is the most ubiquitous personal device ever.

Social media has proven to be the most powerful marketing tool ever.

The music industry is a natural fit for both of these powerful tools.

For years, I’ve been pushing these strategies to folks in the music industry.

Most of the time, I feel like I’m talking to myself.

The responses were always the same.


Few could see the utility of an app as a promotional vehicle.

And those who could either lacked the will, power, willpower (not to be confused with “will” or “power”) or money to pull the trigger.

There were no case studies to support it.

No established ROI.


And no one was trying to give shit away.

“We’re in business to make money,” they’d say.

To which I’d respond, “how’s that working out for ya?”

In my head.

You can’t say that kind of shit in a meeting when you’re trying to get money.

Well you can…

I digress.

But seriously, it was always an uphill battle, trying to convince the powers that be that I knew what the fuck I was talking about.

Although many of us have foreseen the demise of physical sales, the music industry has been slow to accept this fact.

And subsequently even slower to adopt strategies to bring them in line with the new digital age.

With Jay Z’s highly publicized deal with Samsung, and FunkMaster Flex’s earlier app-exclusive release of his Who You Mad At? Me or Yourself mixtape, you’ve got two powerhouses leading the charge.

And maybe folks will start thinking about how they can use mobile apps and social media to drive engagement and conversion.

I routinely drop jewels like this, but I guess I’m just ahead of my time.

Will my phone start ringing off the hook, with music executives begging me to help them craft their digital strategies?

Probably not.

But they should.

Even if they don’t, I’m cool.

Being right is satisfaction enough.

But any record executives out there within the sound of my blog…call me.

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Jay Z and Samsung go digital. Apple, you’ve best bested (again).

Samsung has once again upped the ante in the war of cool against Apple.

This time, they've enlisted the aid of hip hop heavyweight, and all-around media mogul, Jay Z.

If you've been paying attention to the interwebs, you might have caught wind of the latest partnership between this mainstream music icon and the tech company actively trying to dethrone Apple.

The pairing, in and of itself, isn't particularly novel.

Not even for Samsung, who previously enlisted King James at the start of the season last year with the Galaxy Note II.

But what is exceptional, is the fact that Samsung is giving away Jay Z's next album.

You heard me.

Everyone who owns or cops a Samsung Galaxy device, will also get Jay Z's Magna Carta Holy Grail album a full week few days before its released in stores.

Now I don't know how many people are actually going to buy a new phone or trade up, just to get an album they can purchase for 10 bucks.

But Samsung definitely gets dumb cool points for inking a deal with Hov for the right to distribute advance copies of his album with their phones.

I mean really, how cool is that?

Jigga Jay Z?!

Apple may have made digital music cool with the iPod, but Samsung just made digital music way cooler with this coup.

Jay Z is veritably hip hop royalty, so this deal is a pretty big….deal.

The bigger issue, as I see it, are the possibilities for media and technology companies to do these types of collabos in the future.

I've always been a proponent of utilizing technology as a means through which to build audience.

With the plethora of artists and devices out there, nowadays you need a hook if you really want folks to pay attention.

Something to differentiate your offering from the masses and reel your audience in.

And recently, I've seen evidence of the more savvy brands implementing the strategies I talk about ad nauseum.

Check the FunkFlex App, and you'll see what I mean.

FunkMaster Flex is one of the few artists that I've seen, who thoroughly gets it when it comes to merging celebrity with technology.

And he's freaking it, at that.

The FunkFlex app comes preloaded with goobledy gobs of content.

He dropped his entire mixtape via his app and it features a who's who of hip hop and R&B.


To this day, if you cop the app, you'll still be able to get loads of exclusive free content.

As a result, his digital footprint is large, and growing daily.

Movie studios are also starting to realize the inherent value of producing apps to accompany the lead up to the release of a new movie.

Virtually every movie I've seen in the recent past has had an app.

Some good.

Some not-so-good.

But all players with skin in the game.

Which underscores my point.

Every new artist should have a app.

Old ones too.

It shouldn't be an afterthought.

It should be the way you introduce your artist to the masses.

That app should be preloaded with a bunch of songs, videos and pictures, and every single social media profile that artist uses to interact with their fans.

Music should stream, in full, and the app should be enabled with push notifications, featuring calls-to-action, inviting users to rate the app, purchase tickets and use the embed social share features to broadcast their affiliation with the artist to their larger network.

And giving them the ability to buy tracks wouldn't be a bad idea either.

Don't trip.

Having an app is not an inexpensive endeavor.

Samsung dropped serious coin for the right to distribute Jay Z's album.

To the tune of $5 million.

And we all know that every artist can't afford to do Samsung/Jay Z type deals to attract new users.

But I'm sure Samsung thinks they got a bargain, so it's all relative.

The truth is, deals like this don't have to be so one-sided.

New artists should seek out brands like Metro PCS, Boost and Virgin Mobile, who all want to enhance their phone offerings to compete with the big boys.

While contract free phones are all the rage, having a phone pre-loaded with free music from underground or up-and-coming acts is definitely a strategy we're going to see more of.

Magna Carta is just the beginning.


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UPDATE: Funk Flex is so digital. And so mobile too.


FunkMaster Flex is one of the most widely recognized DJs in the world.

He’s an on-air personality and radio icon whose name is synonymous with New York.

He has broken a slew of records and established innumerable artists.

His ‘bomb drops’ are the virtual equivalent of a platinum plaque.

If Flex drops a bomb on your record, you’ve made it.

Flex is not just a master of the airwaves.

He’s also recognized as a serious car enthusiast.

Flex is a staple at car shows.

His passion for cars rivals that of Jay Leno.

But what I find intriguing about him, is his digital game.

When it comes to online and social media, Flex is not to be trifled with.

In fact, he frequently states “I’m so digital NY,” on his daily slot on Hot 97 FM.

With over 687,000 Twitter followers, almost 67,000 likes on Facebook, and over 166,000 followers on Instagram, his digital footprint is impressive.

And now, it appears that he’s crossed yet another threshold.


On Wednesday, Funk Flex dropped the FunkMaster Flex iPhone app.

Having previously announced the release of DJ Rich Medina’s app a few months ago, I was curious to see what Flex was coming with.

So I went to the App Store and downloaded it.

At first blush, it seems like a fairly simple app.

The home screen alternates between images of Flex, black t-shirt clad, hat to back, pointing menacingly at the camera.


Atop his image sits his familiar red FMF logo.

At the very bottom of the screen is a music player, featuring a play/pause and fast forward buttons, and short description/title of what’s playing.

Between the image of Flex and the music player, sits a clever little carousel.

With icons that allow you to navigate to the various other features of the app.

There are sixteen such little icons.

Which makes this simple seeming app, not so simple after all.

Indeed, the app is, as Flex likes to say, “a beast.”

First of all, it’s chock full of music.

In addition to the music player on the home page, tapping the Music icon takes you to even more pages of music.


Flex gives you instrumentals, remixes, mix tapes and songs for days.

And it’s not just Flex’s stuff either.

Cats like Swizz Beats, Timbaland, the Neptunes, Just Blaze, Pete Rock and others have blessed Flex’s app with some well known (and obscure) instrumentals.

Selecting the grid in the top left corner navigates you back to the home page.

From there, features like Pictures or Videos, transport you deeper into Flex’s world.


There’s also a Store feature, which is kinda wack because its the full HTML site on the phone.

But aside from that, there are other fan specific features that make it a cool app.

Now, you must know, I’m no fan of Flex.

If you peep his show, he’s a bully.

He regularly clowns other DJs and basically talks smack.

Considering how long he’s been in the game, you’d imagine he would have matured and achieved a more elevated mindset.

Not so much.

Ego is a bitch.

The day I downloaded the app, I was incredulous.

FunkMaster Flex has an app?

I couldn’t accept it.

So I did a lil’ digging and the app is really just a template.

Almost indistinguishable from at least twelve other apps developed by Salcedo Mobile.

Salcedo has created DJ apps for a host of lesser-known Spanish (or is the correct term Hispanic?) DJs.

They took the meat of the app – all those wonderful features – and reskinned it for Flex.

So while the app is still quite dope, it’s not original.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Says Stephen sarcastically.

I’ve got to give Flex credit though, because the app is dope.

And selecting Salcedo Mobile as his developer sets the bar high for other DJs interested in getting into the app game.

Props aside, one thing noticeably absent from the release of Flex’s app: promo.

Outside of hearing the announcement, there’s no mention of the app anywhere.

If you Google it, nada.

Check InFlexWeTrust.com, nada.

Even if you visit the developer’s site, it’s not listed among their portfolio of apps.

But I’m sure that Flex’s loyal fans will get the word out, so that may be all the promotion it needs.

UPDATE: As of Wednesday, April 17, exactly one week after the release of the DJ Funk Flex app, the app is number 11 (free iPhone music apps) in the App Store.

Funk Flex has some loyal fans.

Funk Flex has some loyal fans.

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