Drake's clearly the 6 God, but how much is a deity's co-sign actually worth to the city of Toronto when it comes to endorsing the city on a global scale? The Toronto Star set out to conduct its own research and the results are staggering.
Working with a research firm the paper considered Drizzy’s massive social following, cumulative YouTube views, major appearances in the media (such as his recent stand on Saturday Night Live) and references to the city in his music - even the “Views” album cover with Drake perched high above the city on the CN Tower. Ultimately, they determined that the total value of this exposure to the city was an astonishing $3 billion, calculating that in order for city of Toronto to buy that kind of exposure it would cost an unfeasible $300 million in advertising. They then multiplied that $300 million figure by 10 due to Drake’s endorsements and mentions coming from a place of authenticity and the fact that he is considered an A-list celebrity. Perhaps some fuzzy math, but whether or not his worth is exactly $3 billion, the point is it's a lot.
“We knew there was a value to what he was doing, but we hadn’t put a dollar figure on that, but I guess we’ve seen that the price of cool is priceless,” says Toronto city councillor Michael Thompson, the chair of Toronto’s economic development and culture committee, and also the co-chair of the city’s music advisory council. “Over the years we’ve really developed a sense of self. The city has come of age because of its diversity and Drake is a great example of that,” affirmed Thompson. “Moreover, the way he has conducted himself and the way he represents himself has benefited Toronto.”
There was a time not long ago when a rapper mentioning they were from Toronto or Canada had a negative impact on their career (see examples such as Choclair or Saukrates) and did very little to raise the profile of rap music north of the border. But by combining songs with mainstream appeal, a massive internet presence and an unwavering stance to prop up his hometown (from the Raptors organization to all the Toronto natives employed by OVO), Drake's provided some real, tangible branding growth and economic value to the city on a global scale.
By @brokencool, native Torontonian
Illustration by Samona