How KSI scored the biggest breakthrough of 2020 so far

How KSI scored the biggest breakthrough of 2020 so far

Rapper and YouTuber KSI is celebrating a big result for his debut album.

As revealed in the latest issue of Music Week, Dissimulation (BMG) is officially the biggest breakthrough of 2020.

Released in May, when it peaked at No.2, the album made No.42 overall for the first half of 2020 with sales of 46,658 (including 39,635 from streams), according to the Official Charts Company.

BMG UK’s VP, marketing Gemma Reilly-Hammond said the result was down to “great songs, playing to strengths, understanding challenges and strategically mapping out the journey ahead”.

KSI was the only debut released in 2020 to make the overall Top 100 sellers for the first six months. Although he’s had previous albums chart success with EPs, Dissimulation was the UK rapper’s debut LP proper.

“It was very much a build campaign, and whilst we started from an elevated position in terms of audience we had work to do in terms of bedding KSI in as a musician with key influencers across the industry,” said Reilly-Hammond. “We have made great headway with the DSPs, radio, press and TV. We have a long-term plan, music will keep coming regularly and we will keep building.”

KSI also made No.49 in the Q2 singles rundown with Houdini feat. Swarmz and Tion Wayne (165,314 sales).

“KSI has a huge online profile and a very healthy digital business,” said Reilly-Hammond. “His fanbase has an exceptionally high level of online and social consumption, particularly during lockdown, and the momentum was there. We also knew we had a big single on our hands with Houdini, so planning the album drop around that track felt right.” 

The former Music Week cover star has spoken about the power of TikTok.

Sam Hill, director of digital marketing at BMG UK, said the video-sharing platform was a key part of the campaign.

“KSI was already huge online, so BMG’s task was to take him into new spaces – TikTok being the obvious one because of his proactive youth demographic,” said Hill. “TikTok were amazing partners here, and that combined with KSI engaging his fans via socials meant the first challenge hit over 145 million views on the hashtagged content.”

KSI first established himself on YouTube, where he has 21.6m subscribers.

“What we felt from the start was the need to show KSI outside of his core YouTube audience and for him to be a presence across multiple channels,” said Hill. “He’s such a smart creative and musician we saw the potential to enable him in other areas, more than just trying to add to what he already had.”

The rapper now has 3.8m monthly listeners on Spotify.

“We partnered up with all the DSPs to provide exclusive content and activations, all of which have been really successful, and we have more planned,” said Simon Rugg, senior digital sales manager at BMG UK. “Those combined with the continued plan to keep dropping music regularly allow us to further progress the streaming narrative post album release.”

To read the full report on debut albums, subscribers can click here.

To read the story behind BMG’s ambitious DMA’s campaign, click here.

* To make sure you can access Music Week wherever you are, subscribe to our digital issue by clicking here.

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