Radio Starmaker Fund

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Radio Starmaker Fund Annual Report

2016 / 2017

Artist Profile: SonReal


The Radio Starmaker Fund has been an integral part of the growth and development of Vancouver rapper, singer and songwriter, SonReal. His trademark flow, quirky production and unique personality have afforded him a lane all his own. Since signing with Black Box in 2013, he has amassed over 35 million YouTube views and 36 million audio streams in North America, as well as a number of JUNO Award and MuchMusic Video Award nominations.

SonReal initially established eligibility for the Radio Starmaker Fund in 2015 to support the release of his EP, For The Town. The resulting tour support has enabled SonReal to tour nationally in Canada and the US, establishing a tangible fan base that continues to grow. The RSF funded 35 dates in the US in 2016 – funding that afforded him the ability to stay out on the road to grow that base. That commitment to touring also added to his appeal when Capitol Records signed him to a joint-venture record deal with Black Box – a life and career changing opportunity.

Starmaker has supported SonReal to the tune of nearly $80,000 for Canadian touring and over $110,000 for US touring. This support has allowed him to re-invest in his career to take it to the next level. Whether it’s additional production such as lights and crew that elevate the audience experience and perception, financial flexibility to take advantage of otherwise unfeasible but important performance opportunities, the ability to afford more comfortable transportation for his extensive and often grueling touring schedules or the ability to make a personal investment in the marketing of these tour dates via boosted social media posts and digital content, the support has afforded SonReal the opportunity to legitimately compete on an international level with his live performance and touring strategy.

From a domestic marketing perspective, Black Box sought Starmaker support for SonReal’s first commercial full-length album One Long Dream, which was released in August 2017. After a long lead-up which included the platinum-selling single “Can I Get A Witness”, Starmaker’s ability to amplify the label’s existing investments was a key driver in the awareness and profile of the album launch. Specifically, the Fund’s support allowed Black Box to invest more aggressively in digital marketing strategies that have been the core of SonReal’s business to date. Burgeoning social media platforms are the best direct line to his enthusiastic and engaged fan base. Leveraging this through Starmaker supported digital marketing initiatives to promote the album, the single and all the associated content (including music videos and other digital content) have brought very strong results.

As we look ahead to 2018 for SonReal, our goals are to continue to invest in and grow the project internationally, redoubling our efforts in the United States and introducing the artist in Europe. The international marketing and touring programs are designed to support these types of export-ready artists and SonReal’s success to date is a reflection of the value of that support and investment from Starmaker. We would like to extend a huge thank you to the Radio Starmaker Fund for their invaluable support on behalf of SonReal and Black Box.

Ian Stanger
Label Manager
Black Box