Ryan Upchurch, CEO of Holler Boy Records and also one of YouTube’s top clickbait artists, has leveraged the intense marketing principles of click-baiting to promote artists signed to his label.
Click baiting refers to the practice of writing sensationalized or misleading headlines to attract clicks on a piece of content. The entire concept is structured on the marketing practice of creating controversy for views, which in turn bring in profit – a simple process that can be repeated.
Ryan Upchurch, who reportedly made 3.8 million dollars last year via his clickbait integrated drama channel on YouTube, employs the WWE style of marketing on repeat. Invented “enemies” of Holler Boy Records are reported to fans. The fans are then activated to help him “defeat” the enemies by buying his music or merch, viewing his content, and harassing them until he deems them defeated. The Holler Boy boss recently staged a conflict between his artist, Chase Mathews, and country superstar, Morgan Wallen.
Selling the story that Mathews was denied entry into Wallen’s VIP area, Ryan and Mathews created and released their version of Wallen’s new hit single Broadway Girls, stealing both views and dollars from the actual artists involved in retaliation.
The ploy ran for weeks and confused loyal Wallen fans who rushed to view the video thinking it was a genuine collaboration. This lead to 9.2 million views and a huge YouTube payday for Holler Boy Records.
However, unlike rap beefs which usually ends up mutually beneficial, the victims of Ryan’s activities have all expressed their displeasure with the fake controversy revenue-generating scheme.
Morgan Wallen (Billboard, Country artist of 2021), Luke Combs (CMA Winner 2021), Kane Brown (CMT Music Award Winner 2021), and viral recording artist Nicole Arbour have all unfollowed Ryan Upchurch on social media platforms after being targets of his clickbait plots.
With Arbour going further to file a restraining order and defamation lawsuit against Upchurch in 2021, submitting documents showing the artist received death threats from Holler Boy fans who failed to see the ruse.
While opinions are divided on the appropriateness of Ryan’s new method, the drama and discussions indirectly support and strengthen the marketing model, which requires attention to thrive – letting Ryan live up to the “villains of the country” image he openly strives to create.