How Ki/Ki turned a dream about Berghain into a track
One artist who has become a star of the new rave/hard techno scene in Europe is Ki/Ki. If you are wondering who Ki/Ki is, that's totally fine. You aren't alone. Two years ago I didn’t know she was either. This summer Ki/Ki is set to play Glastonbury, AVA Festival in Belfast and Horst Music & Arts Festival in Belgium.
Ki/Ki is a Dutch artist who has been on my radar for the last few years after a recommendation from my friend Josh. Josh sent me an event recommendation for ADE in 2021. The event was an all-day long b2b from Ki/Ki and Job Jobse at Lofi. By the time I had replied to the WhatsApp message about a ticket, the event had sold out. The first thing I did was go onto YouTube and search Ki/Ki.
Let's talk numbers
Ki/Ki has grown her fanbase to 121k on Instagram. On TikTok, she is just getting started but I expect this to explode this summer due to the worldwide fanbase she has developed on YouTube from her DJ sets in Europe.
This is what I mean about becoming a local hero in your city/country.
Ki/Ki has three DJ sets from the Netherlands with over 1 million views. Her closing set from Intercell Festival in 2019 has 1.6 million views. Her 'Acid DJ set' from Intercell's Acid event in the same year has 2.1 million views. To put this in perspective, Charlotte de Witte's Awakenings set from the same year has 1.2 million views.
Ki/Ki's most recent upload on Boiler Room from their festival in Amsterdam has 896k views in just two months…
So what are these numbers leading to?
Ki/Ki built her fanbase without a single solo production to her name until last Friday. When you realise Ki/Ki has only just started releasing music, it's scary when you realise her potential as an artist.
The first thing to notice about Ki/Ki’s label Slash is the name. Ki/Ki’s Instagram handle is ki.slash.ki. When you search for her label named on Instagram, you also find Ki/Ki’s Instagram account. That’s good for the brand’s SEO.
The first release on Slash was by Alpha Tracks in 2022. The EP featured a remix from Ki/Ki - her first production as an artist. The remix has 296k streams on Spotify. The original has 113k.
The second and third releases we're VA's (Various Artists). All of the tracks in these two releases were unreleased IDs from various Ki/Ki sets across the years. VAs are a clever move for a new label as it means the reach increases by featuring more than one artist. Labels can also judge what artists to invest more time and money into by how the music performs off the artist's socials and distribution to their audience.
Ki/Ki’s fanbase is already engaged with the label. A label can also mean an event brand going forward where Ki/Ki can host stages at the festivals that helped her grow as an artist. This will give the talent she signs for the label the chance to grow in the same way she did - creating her own micro-scene within a much bigger scene that fits around a genre of music.
Ki/Ki - Leave it to the vibe
Ki/Ki’s debut EP ‘Leave it to the vibe’ has one original track and two reworks:
Leave it to the vibe
the vibe [rework]
Leave it to the drums
Now here comes the interesting bit. You know I love a good bit of storytelling. Here’s the 360-circle moment that brings together the whole EP.
Ki/Ki had a dream about the A-side track ‘Leave it to the vibe’ being played in Berghain. At the time, the track did not exist yet. So she made it.
This is what makes the EP even more special to Ki/Ki as an artist and to her audience.
Ki/Ki’s first step was the record the vocals that she heard in her dream into her iPhone.
A month later she tested the demo track out at AVA Festival live on Boiler Room. The track was the most requested ID of her set. Not only was it the first time she played the track live, but it was also the first time she had ever played any of her productions in her DJ sets.
That’s how you create a gold moment.
The Release Campaign
Ki/Ki did three things well with this release campaign.
Here’s a timeline of what she did:
The Announcement - 5th April
If you’re an artist who has never released music before, you dream about having your first release on wax. Releasing your first release on your own label allows you to do this with more control.
On April 5th, Ki/Ki shared an Instagram Carousel promoting her first release. The first asset is a picture of Ki/Ki holding the vinyl in her hands. The second asset is the artwork. The first asset is a short clip of Ki/Ki playing ‘Leave it to the vibe’ at AVA Festival live on Boiler Room for the first time. The next assets are then screenshots of the other two tracks on the EP from Soundcloud. This a tactic I first spoke about when Ida shared her Stamp The Wax mix.
The purpose of this post is to push pre-sales for the vinyl on digital stores and to push pre-sales on Beatport, Spotify and other DSPs.
Two-Day Countdown - Wednesday 19th April
With two days until release, Ki/Ki shared the story that I told you above.
What I saved for you is that the final sentence of the caption was Ki/Ki confirming to her fans that she has indeed played ‘Leave to the vibe’ in Berghain completing the 360-moment for her as an artist.
Dream > Studio > Boiler Room > Berghain > Ki/Ki has it on Vinyl > Fan purchase
[arrows going all the way around in a clockwork motion]
Release Day - Friday 21st April
Ki/Ki celebrated release day by announcing to her fans that the vinyl had sold out. This is a career-defining moment for her as an artist and one she celebrated with her fans - they were the ones who sold out the vinyl by purchasing it.
Multiple Revenue Streams
Multiple revenue streams are essential for you as an artist in 2023.
The one thing you need to understand is when to introduce them. Ki/Ki’s dream happened in July 2021. The EP came out in April 2023. You have to be patient but you also have to have a plan and adapt to the industry. Ki/Ki could have put the single out on digital platforms a lot earlier but with the state of the vinyl press and needing more than one track for a vinyl run she has had to wait almost 18 months.
Everything happens when it is meant to.
That’s it for another episode of The Blueprint.
I’ll see you next week for more of the same.