When Shawn Floyd, aka “Floyd the Mogul,” began to formulate his business ideas, he was merely sixteen years old. A former childhood actor, Floyd knew that he wanted film and television to be a part of his future. However, these were not his only passions, nor his only goals. On a piece of paper, Floyd wrote out his ideas for a company called United Entertainment, ideas that laid the foundation for a successful and impactful future.
Floyd would spend many years working in the music industry, under labels like Atlantic and Warner, and with a variety of artists from Halsey to YG. He developed a new form of digital marketing, “harvest integration,” that allowed him to specifically target people whom he felt could be potential consumers of the specific song he was promoting. He explained that “if you reach the right person with the right product, you get the right results, this person becoming a fan, you make a connection.” This strategy helped a variety of artists to boost their streams (specifically on YouTube) and rocket to the top of charts and trending pages. However, rather than simply boosting streams with his campaign, he was able to create a database of likely customers, in his words, “capturing that virality, that viral effect, and turning that into a fanbase.”
His success led to the creation of United Entertainment, a former idea, now turned into a physical company. He emphasized to me that his methodology has been so effective that he has been encouraged to “keep quiet.” “People planned on keeping me locked away as their secret weapon they wanted no one else to have.” Throughout his success in the industry, he has gained little public recognition as a result of his former clients’ desires to keep him tucked away as the ace up their sleeve. Now, he is coming out and explaining his methods not only to receive his due credit, but to also encourage artists to branch away from the control of their labels and management. “Now the artists can have this secret weapon for themselves.”
So, how does it work? We discussed one of his biggest accomplishments in the music industry, as well as the one he is most proud of, that of Saweetie and “Icy Girl.” He clarifies that when they began working together, “Saweetie wasn’t someone who was already famous or established, I was able to apply all of this from the ground up” (including creating her YouTube channel and filming the “Icy Girl'' video in his own home).
“It transformed her to the point where she literally got a multi-million-dollar record deal. I saw this change someone’s life, it changed my life.”
What he did was attach “tracking pixels'' to the video, allowing him to “capture the traffic of the people that viewed the video.” Through this, he was able to receive IP addresses that then gave him even further information, including how someone reacted to the video itself, and if they took further action with Saweetie’s brand. He then created a database of over 20 million “IP addresses” of people that reacted to the video (likes, subscriptions, follows, purchases, etc.), effectively capturing the people that made the song go viral. He kept this information, and continues to with every song that he has worked on. This means that he has information on large groups that allows him to accurately tell if they would be a consumer of the next song he works on (he may target a pop song to those who reacted to Halsey, a rap one to those who reacted to Kodak Black, and so on). Through this methodology, he was able to help Saweetie blow up while simultaneously laying the foundation for a method that could successfully do the same for other artists.
The goal in all of this work was to take the middleman out of advertising. Through his methods he can directly target a device rather than having to work through websites like Google or social platforms like Facebook.
“There was always something or somebody that was blocking artists from reaching their fans. I saw the internet as the Trojan horse to reach the world.”
Through his work with a variety of artists and labels, he earned the nickname “the Ghost,” for being the ghost behind so many viral songs. “People needed me to be invisible. It’s time for me to step up and step out by simply just revealing what I’ve been doing.” Before Floyd began these campaigns, there was no platform to track analytics on YouTube, “I do believe that what I’ve done inspired YouTube to actually partner with Google to start making these campaigns.” Harvest integration was an idea that, at the beginning, few understood and many were intimidated by. Over time, as a result of its success, Floyd’s program has actually begun to change the music industry landscape as people try to emulate his success.
Floyd is publicizing his past successes in the music industry not only to highlight his successes, but also to help propel his future endeavors. Through his connections in the music industry, Floyd began to meet and befriend people that could help him pursue his original passion, film and TV. He ended up living with Dana Brunetti, the producer of House of Cards, and befriending Jake Seal of Black Hangar Studios, as well as Cordell Broadus, the son of Snoop Dogg. Through these connections he was able to write and create two television series, Ground Zero and Model Citizen. “Model Citizen came because I used to be a model. I began to learn the fashion business and I also started to see the dark side…I wanted to tell that story, to paint that picture to talk about the other side.” Alongside the release of the show, Floyd is also releasing his own fashion line of the same name, another goal that was originally on that paper when he was sixteen. “The clothing line is Model Citizen. I wanted this to reflect the fashion industry, being a model citizen is not just for show, it’s a statement.”
Ground Zero is the other show that Floyd is working on. The show is based upon lessons he learned growing up in his hometown, Long Beach California, “I wanted to tell a story of the good gangsters and the bad ones.” Abandoned by one of his writers, a chance encounter led him to Cordell Broadus, who had recently decommitted from a football scholarship with the goal of entering the film and TV industry. Of the show, he explains that he “wanted to tell a story of the good gangsters and the bad ones…I didn’t have the younger part of it. So, when I took Cordell’s younger side, it kind of gave it more depth.” He also had a deeper purpose that he wanted to tackle with Ground Zero. “I saw that there was this underlying racial tension that was building. I wanted to create something that would highlight the issue but then offer a solution.” Like with his work in the music industry, his success is not purely for himself. Floyd is someone who is constantly working to make a change and to have an impact, regardless of what industry or medium he is working with.
From being a child actor, to a model, to a technological wizard advancing the music industry, to a writer and producer of films and television shows, what could possibly be next for Floyd the Mogul? “As long as there are ideas in my head, they’re going to keep coming out. I’m always going to make new technology to advance the culture.” Floyd discusses future ventures in film, including horror and romance, as well as in technology, discussing the possible creation of dating apps as well as holographic performances. There are also his two shows, that can run as long as his imagination does, and his new brand of clothing, Model Citizen. Between becoming a secret weapon advancing the music industry, Floyd created a brand, became a model, writer, producer, and is only getting started. These were all passions that he had written down on a paper at sixteen, all turned reality through dedication, vision, honesty, and hard work. This is merely the beginning of his run in the limelight, and before you know it, Floyd the Mogul will be a name we all know.