This week’s Trapital memo is brought to you by REVOLT.
REVOLT is on a mission to curate and share the best of the best in hip-hop, culture, and social justice news.
Launched by Sean “Diddy” Combs back in 2013, their multi-platform network offers breaking music news, videos, artist interviews, exclusive performances, and original programming.
They’ve got content for everyone:
– The Drop – REVOLT’s weekly newsletter and curation of the latest in Hip Hop, Social Justice, and Black News.
– Assets Over Liabilities – this REVOLT original show with Troy Millings and Rashad Bilal of Earn Your Leisure fame gives a behind-the-scenes look into the real business investments of different hip-hop artists, like Soulja Boy and Rick Ross, along with entrepreneurs and creators like Milan Harris of Milano Di Rouge and Pinky Cole of Slutty Vegan.
– The Blackprint – REVOLT CEO Detavio Samuels sits down with innovators and changemakers laying the groundwork for the next generation of cultural leaders.
2022: A Year in Reflection and What’s Ahead
The Trapital newsletter continues to grow. We’ve nearly doubled our email subscribers since the end of 2021, kept the open rates high in the 55-60% range, and increased the frequency to send it out twice per week. Consistency matters and I’m glad we continue to deliver.
When I first started Trapital I often thought that my essays with the most page views were the best ones. I used to refresh my Google Analytics tab nonstop like a Beyhive member trying to buy the latest Ivy Park drop. But over time, I’ve focused less on views and more on other factors:
– When I talk to people, when they sign up for the newsletter, or when they share Trapital on socials, which essays or memos do they mention?
– Which essays led people to reach out and say “this essay helped set our company strategy” or “this helped me gain clarity to take the next step in my career” or something similar?
– Which ones do I look back on and feel most proud of?
The 2022 stories that stand out are A Breakdown on TikTok’s Plan to Takeover, Why Apple Music Paid to Sponsor the Super Bowl Halftime Show, Bad Bunny and the Globalization of Hip-Hop, What Creators Get Wrong About Text Marketing, and The Culture Report.
I like these ones too because my writing has gotten tighter and clearer over time. That said, it’s been a while since I’ve done a true deep dive with drawings and diagrams. It was tough to find the time when our daughter was so young but now that she starts daycare soon, it will be easier. I already have a few planned for next year.
As I often say, Trapital isn’t journalism. I’m not a journalist. Trapital is focused on research and strategic analysis. You can read any outlet to find out the “what,” but Trapital is about the “why” and the “how.” We share insights in a way that’s digestible and relatable.
Trapital is the friend you catch up with after the panel is over. It’s more casual, but more substance. (We all know how industry panels can be…) Plus, those after-the-conference meet ups are what you flew out to the conference for anyway! This is where the deals get made. This is Trapital.
The Podcast: Doubling Down on What Works Best
It was another strong year for the podcast. Spotify Wrapped said that Trapital was in the top 1% for most shared podcasts globally. That was great to see (especially for our sponsors), but I’m even more impressed by the anecdotal impact of our best episodes.
The highlights are The Future of Music Business with Will Page, How KevOnStage is Building His Comedic Flywheel, The Music Industry’s Oversaturation Problem, Investing $200 Million in Music with Matt Pincus, and What Spotify and YouTube’s Billions Playlist Tell Us About Streaming.
These are more insightful and more conversational than the rest. For each of the episodes above, the guests brought their A-game and I was right there with them. Bar for bar. This is what Pusha T meant when he said, “when we all clickin’ like Golden State.”
To make this happen more regularly in 2023, there will be fewer traditional interviews and more discussions with me and familiar voices on the podcast.
I love the podcast, but I’ll keep it real, there are a few episodes this year that I regret publishing. Some sounded too much like a sales pitch for the guest’s company. Others sounded like Trapital was an obvious stop on the celebrity’s back-to-back press junket. And others where the guest and their team were so difficult to deal with, you would have thought we were interviewing the President of the United States. Frustrations aside, that falls on me as the host and founder to make the right call.
Next year, expect more episodes like the great ones highlighted above, and fewer episodes that sound like they could have been done by any other podcast host.
One of the biggest shifts in 2023 was to get more help.
In January I started working with an assistant to help with several tasks which have increased over time. Then I took most of July off work when my daughter was born, but I had several guest essays from industry experts and pre-recorded podcast episodes to run in the meantime.
And once I came back, I started to delegate and outsource more tasks. I could and should have done a lot of this sooner, but better late than never. It helped us unlock more long-term deals with sponsors, which is now Trapital’s largest revenue stream.
It has also freed up the space to evaluate more deals and invest in more startups. I’ll share more details soon on what I’ve been seeing and what the portfolio looks like. More to come!
I’m fortunate to have great help and great people around to make Trapital possible. So the more I lean on them, the more people we can reach and help with our insights, and the more things on that Trapital 2024 roadmap can be moved up to 2023.
Running this business isn’t easy. It has its stressful moments, but I’m truly fortunate and grateful that this is what I get to do for a living. It has been my full-time job for nearly four years. I’m really excited to wind down with family and friends to relax for a bit, but can’t wait for what’s ahead.
Happy holidays to you and yours. Talk to you in a few weeks!