How We Got Over 14,000 Downloads In 48 Hours

14000 Downloads In 48 Hours

How did we get over 14,000 downloads in 48 hours?

Last Friday, I spoke with Mack Maine and he told me his upcoming mixtape with Don Cannon, “This Is Just A Mixtape” is finally going to be released and he wanted to get some buzz going around it.

Maine and I go back a few years, so when he asked me to help get the word out, I didn’t need to think twice.

I was on the road all day so I didn’t have a chance to listen to the songs until about 9:45pm on Friday night. I was debating on whether to wait until the next morning to take any action but I was anxious to hear them so I decided to listen and prepare a plan right away.

One of the songs prominently features Lil Wayne so I posted a message on Twitter stating that I have a Lil Wayne exclusive and asked which top hip-hop blog/site I should send it to first before sending it to the rest.

Twitter Exclusive - Considering Options

I decided to put Wayne’s name first to grab more interest but also because several Twitter applications cut off the message after a certain number of characters; so this way we can capture the most interest immediately, but I was careful never to say it’s Lil Wayne featuring Mack Maine – I just emphasized on the exclusive cameo from a well-known name.

Several Twitter folk suggested different major hip-hop websites, but the after thinking it over quickly, I thought “why not just post it on Twitter and have it spread organically?”

There’s always so much talk about how effective social network marketing is, but we don’t really have too many solid examples to go by; not in urban music anyhow. So why not create it ourselves?

That prompted the following tweet:

Twitter Exclusive - Breaking New Ground

As I began to upload the song, I  asked my Twitter network to kindly retweet my upcoming message featuring the song & download link so that we can showcase the real power of social media as well as the influence of online tastemakers. (A retweet is when you re-post someone’s message on Twitter verbatim and include their username to give source credit).

The result?

Song breaks on Twitter. Twitter Exclusive: Mack Maine ft. Lil Wayne - Throw It Back

That was the initial reaction from Twitter, however it doesn’t stop here.

Tastemakers emailed the song to their mailing lists, bloggers posted it, torrent users seeded it and DJs already began playing it in the club that same night.

You can see some of the websites where it’s already been posted on by clicking here. (Search results may vary since there are always typos and naming differences)

Another unique point about this; I posted the song on SoundCloud as opposed to another online file distribution site – so all zShare, Sharebee, MegaUpload and other links you find online were all created from other websites, bloggers and users.

Interestingly, most people completely overlooked the online streaming option and went straight for the download button (likely to race being the first person to post the song on their site).

This is interesting because the main focal point of a SoundCloud page is the online streaming player, while the download button is not as highly visible.

SoundCloud page for Mack Maine ft. Lil Wayne - Throw It Back

My Twitter message with the download link was posted at 10:35pm on Friday, November 28th.

Within 24 hours the song had been uploaded to several top hip-hop websites & blogs as well as a plethora of smaller, upcoming websites with thousands of downloads and hundreds of comments.

It’s a little difficult to track ALL the download links and it took a while to find the ones I did and then eliminate the repeats. Once I did that though, I calculated the total number of downloads after 48 hours of my Twitter post.

So, as of 10:35pm on Sunday, November 30th, the total number of downloads from the links I was able to track?


Over 14,000 downloads in 48 hours!


I don’t blame you, although I do invite you  to check it out for yourself.

Do a Google search for the song and track all the download links from the websites listed. Eliminate the repeats and then add them up. The number will be higher now that more time has passed.

This just goes to show the true power of not only social networking but also of a great network.

I just posted a few tweets and one link; now there are dozens of download links, dozens of articles/posts, hundreds of tweets and thousands of downloads.

This result is thanks to everybody who participated in this experiment. Together, we created a great example of the power of social media.

In case you missed the song, you can check it out here.

Not bad for an impromptu idea on a Friday night, huh?

UPDATE: I’ve posted a follow up to this post to address some questions I’ve received regarding this whole experiment. You can read it here.

100 thoughts on “How We Got Over 14,000 Downloads In 48 Hours

  1. modi

    oh. my. fucking. god. genius, sir. don’t you think you kinda conned people a bit by calling it a wayne exclusive when in fact it’s mack maine’s track!? that’s my only semi-gripe lol but i’m just being picky. i honestly think this is an ingenius method of spreading the good word to tastemakers and such. that’s what we’re here to do, anyway. and using twitter to it’s potential? crucial. it’s so great that you have a loving twitter network. my network is for the most part awesome, but i bet they wished i didn’t tweet so much! LOL.

  2. Greg Rollett

    Very impressed with this campaign. Will add it to the case studies. It shows that with great content, some friends with large networks and some innovative thinking, great music can be shared and valued.

    The true value for the artist, Mack Maine, will be in the buzz surrounding his mixtape b/c of the leak. Although most artists I know wouldn’t be mad for 14,000+ downloads in a weekend.

  3. Tayo

    Great great great use and case study of social marketing! I’m just wondering, could it potentially work without the “Lil Wayne” name attached to it? I know, I know, that’s the draw. But if it had just been Mack Maine or Joe/Jane Schmoe the upcoming artist, how many people would have re-tweeted, etc etc.

    Either way, like I said, awesome job *bows downs* lol

  4. DJ Hotsauce

    thats how you use the internet and social network sites for real!
    great work…we still gotta get up moe, my bad for all the crazyness. things have been crazy around here

  5. Renard

    That was a very innovative idea using Twitter! I wonder if a similar result could be achieved 1) with a not so know artist (say X.O. from DC) and 2) through another social media network such as Facebook?

  6. Casey

    I trust your word but I just did that google search and started adding the download numbers up lol. I stopped after I got to 12000 downloads. I see it! Omg, this is incredible. First off congrats! That’s real major!

    Also for the first commenter above, Modi. I understand what you mean but I don’t think he was deceiving at all. If you listen to the song Lil Wayne is the main artist on it, so most people would probably think it’s his song anyways but what Moe here did is just put Lil Wayne’s name first on the his twitter message. But even he says above, he did this on purpose and kept the name setup properly everywhere else. I would do the same.

    Anyways congrats again. this is so major! I’m so sad I wasn’t online on Friday night to help you retweet it not that I would’ve made much difference anyways lolz.

  7. CruiseSource

    As a an experiment for the power of Twitter in the Travel Space we have been using Twitter to Organically Spread the word that we are giving away Free Bahamas Cruise for 2 this week. It has been picked up on several Social Media Blogs, but it has not quite spread like we were expecting. We 70 people trying to win the Cruise as opposed to the 1000+ I was expecting…

    Although our Twitter Contest did not become Viral, I love to see case studies that prove the power of social media marketing! Great Job!


  8. bmore diva

    “Not bad for an impromptu idea on a Friday night, huh?”

    not bad at alll! lol. this is awesommmmeee

  9. youngfreshnew

    Wow – I knew you were a Genius. This is the start of something new. Twitter has a great effect on spreading the news and not only that there are a bunch of amazing twitters who are willing to help. Gotta love. You did an amazing job and you the right fundamentals.Please let me know the stats from a 7 days period. I think that would be good to use for reference and a statistical stand point compared to iTunes singles and etc.
    Great job homie! I am proud of you.
    You are a hustler at heart!

  10. Sonny Gill

    Rock on man. That’s awesome and definitely shows the power of Social Media. But not just the power of that, but your determination to make this a success. Congrats!

  11. TheJennTaFur

    Social Media works if you play it right. You had the right people who you tapped into and who wanted to share the retweet for you know not everyone will do that unless it is a HOT topic! ;)

    Also, Lil Wayne’s name in almost any social circle is going to make it hot. Though I am not that familiar with Lil Wayne’s music I am very curious to stream the song to see what all the fuss is about. The curiosity now has taken over me because I honestly don’t know his music!! But, see the buzz helps.

    I wonder if Lil Wayne did a track with Yo Yo Ma (the cellist) if that would be downloaded as much? Have you seen this?

    Celebrate and Collaborate Contest update from Yo-Yo Ma
    NOVEMBER 13, 2008, 1:26 pm

    Great article as always! xoxo

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  13. Natalie

    This is all fabulous, but how many sales will actually be generated. That’s really the true question that needs to be asked. Translate a free download into some paid stuff for the artists… What’s the plan for that?

  14. Jesse Luna

    Awesome social media story Moe! I think I remember seeing the first tweet but didn’t catch the second one. So it looks like the key variables were: 1)timing:lots of folks home on Friday night and at a computer. 2)recognizable brand name: lots of folks have at least heard of Lil’ Wayne 3) Exclusivity; Twitter release of a jam – brilliant touch Moe 4) Interest; combination of the first 3 but also that of interest in free music on a Friday night.

  15. Eric Phillipson

    One important thing to note in this case study, though, is your ability to build relationships.

    The people who went and Re-Tweeted this are also people that you’ve connected with.

    It shows the importance of building relationships with the people on your social networks. I feel a lot of artists skip this important step and jump right into the promotions part.

    CONNECT WITH PEOPLE! BUILD YOUR NETWORK! That is how you get results like this. This is quite the butterfly effect!

  16. Young Che

    Great experiment which illustrates the power of this rapidly changing digital world we live in. Growth is exponential on the internet. Keep building your networks.

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  18. MarcusFromPhilly


    This is quintessentially how a mogul is made. Wow. It instantly reminded me on Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point: How the little things make a big difference. Technology is kicking ass in today’s market. Twitter is so much bigger than what the naysayers doubt. Soon they will rear their ugly heads and bow down to matrix. This is some major shit here Moe. I’d rather get paid working via Twitter updates (PR) than waste time at a deadend job. Go figure. This Twitter movement is the truth. I’m fortunate to have found a cat like you through this network.

    “A million dollar deal through a hands-free, can you answer me…” – Jay-Z

    Gotta cop that Ted Turner book!


  19. CJ in the Kosmos

    Social Marketing is the way of the future, just ask anyone in the blogosphere or good at their game in marketing. I am curious and do some what agree with Natalie above though,
    “but how many sales will actually be generated. That’s really the true question that needs to be asked. Translate a free download into some paid stuff for the artists…”. There is not much in the way of solid statistics for this area yet and I am wondering how much this buzz can translate and how it can even be tracked. Great job and good luck, I am sure it is only going to pick up speed now that it is on Digg.

  20. Anonymous

    Hey, You have a great idea! I am trying to help promote the new book on Tim Russert. We are giving away a free chapter at If anyone wants to help me twitter this info, please feel free to let people know about the website.

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  24. GMO

    technically, production is good.

    now, i’ve heard this many times before. and i’ll hear it again encore et encore. where’s your creativity, man? having a studio worth 10Gs or more, you’d let your creativity out more, without caring to hit the charts..

    good work, anyway.

  25. Cheavor

    That was Brilliant Brotha, Simply Brilliant :-)
    As you, and the rest of us twitters know. Twitter is a powerful media to use to get the word out on anything. Kudos :-)

  26. Flick

    Your success was a combination of a great idea and a hot artist. Try doing that with an unknown artist and I doubt you’d have people retweeting.

  27. Donny

    This is absolutely phenomenal! I found your post on Digg and I immediately forwarded it to everybody in my network. I don’t know if you read the comments on Digg, but most commenters there are complete trolls. I especially appreciate your line “This just goes to show the true power of not only social networking but also of a great network.” Great work!

  28. Shudogg

    The power of social networks is amazing. I make tons of money off YouTube. If you are into social sites, click my name and I will show you how to stomp the competition on social sites!

  29. Akiva

    Dang son, I’m a little late to catch this, but great job! Pretty exciting stuff going on, we are the dreamers of the dream…

  30. Buck Marley

    great idea moe! I was one of the first to post it on my site when someone pointed me to ur twitter for the exclusive. it was a great idea, i must say! keep up the good work…tell mack i said whats good

  31. Jarome

    Natalie, very good point to bring up, from my understanding the download is the first step to helping people get connected and interested in the artist, so as long as it was easy to find the artist website, and connect with the artist there, it would lead to sales, but people need to hear the music first, and then like it, then they’ll buy it.

    Flick, your right, the Wayne name is what made this happen, and that’s because he and his label have spent millions to get his name out there in addition to any other viral techniques.
    With an unknown indie artists, this would take a long time and results often come from surprise viral successes often related to something that is fairly well known…

    Still, it’s cool to see how social networks functioned to make this happen so quickly!

  32. johan

    hi, could you let me know:::

    after locating all the Download links with in google searh how did you then ‘Calculate’ the total number of downloads??? Anyone?

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  46. jon vanhala

    devil’s advocate:
    doen’t this really say a lot more about the power of lil Wayne and his brand more than your following statement: “This just goes to show the true power of not only social networking but also of a great network.” ?

    if you did this again with “unknown name artist X” and generated over 10k downloads that would be huge and I’d def stand corrected . . .


  47. Moe Arora

    @jon – My statement about having a great network was referring to my network as opposed to Lil Wayne or Mack Maine. My role was to get attention for the song, so had I been someone who didn’t have a strong connection to my online network on Twitter, my experiment would not have received the amount of participation from others RT’ing it.

    Keep in mind, this experiment was done in November 2008; before Twitter hit the mainstream appeal it has now, and when retweeting was still a relatively new concept to those who actually were on at the time (hence, why I had to explain the concept of RT’ing before I tweeted the download link).

    You’re right, had it not had Lil Wayne’s name attached, it most likely would not have had this many downloads, however, that’s exactly why I did it – because Lil Wayne’s name was attached.

    As I mentioned in my follow-up post, Response To The Power Of Twitter, this was not done from the perspective of an indie artist – this was done from a marketing perspective. I wanted to try a new way of releasing promotional music and measure the results. After all, it’s more effective to try new strategies with a project that people are actually interested in, rather than one nobody cares about, right?

    When I’m thinking of new strategies, I try not to focus on whether a strategy is scalable or whether it can be used as a general template for other projects – I’m primarily focused on one goal; making it work for the project at hand.

    Thanks for your comment Jon. I hope my reply clarifies my intent.

  48. jon vanhala

    thanks for the quick response – loving your blog, your style, and your POV. i am def guilty of jumping in a conversation without realizing the full context avail to me – i hadn’t even seen it was posted first Dec 1 2008 or yet read your follow up post for example – it was new to me and I reacted :)

    looking forward to more

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