In 3 years, Ollys TV is one of Ireland’s most successful online music video platform showcasing the best of Irish rap and drill — it boasts nearly 10 thousand subscribers, and new uploads regularly clock up 3 to 6 figure view counts. Independent YouTube channels such as D.T.V and N.E.TV have been indispensable to the establishment of the contemporary Irish rap scene; publishing professional music videos, exposing new talent, and coordinating exciting artist collaborations. These channels have helped propel Ireland rap from the shadows of inner-city streets to the spotlight of an international audience. YouTube itself is host to an extensive archive of some of the earliest recordings of artists who have gone on to become household names: Offica and the A92 group, L36’s A5, KY, Debobby, Sello and more all came up, at least in part, via the site.
But when Olawale Gazal officially launched his channel in 2019, he could never have envisioned the impact it would grow to have. "I started it because it was really just a hobby, and I love to see talented people succeed," he says, "I did not see it becoming a music company because I started as a meme page, and with the growth, I decided to help talented people too". Despite Ollys TV's unexpected success, Olawale insists that the channel remains true to its original intent to "support true, new and upcoming artists" and provide professional visual content and guidance to up-and-coming rappers. "Where I came from in Ireland, we didn't have many opportunities," he explains, "my friends love to make music a lot like they even had their own studio in their room but did not have enough funds for big platforms, so decided to use mine and I began from there.”
Ireland-based entertainment enthusiast, Olawale Gazal, popularly known as Olly, has said he created the music entertainment platform Ollys TV, to help rappers with talent. "I started the platform to help rappers with talent that don't usually have the fan base or the skills to promote their music effectively to the public. Since I am good at networking, I decided to create a platform where I could help artists upload their songs and sort out their promotions while charging a token for it. My friends kept telling me that when they uploaded their songs, nobody seemed to support them by sharing the songs. That was another reason I decided to help bring my people out to the public because everyone deserves a chance to be heard and talked about." The self-taught music marketer Olawale Gazal runs the channel by himself using his marketing IQ and uploading videos on his platform. Investing in the project from his own pocket, then he put in significant work to get the platform off the ground.
As the drill scene expanded and Ollys TV became more established, choosing only the best and most promising talent has become fundamental to the approach. "Now, I do a lot of research to make sure that these artists grow. The scene has grown bigger than it was about 5 years ago, and there are new artists every day. I want to be a symbol of hope for building entertainers by connecting them to fans and promoters alike and also help them build names for themselves." Gazal also advised Irish artists to take advantage of digital streaming. He said, "The Internet has changed the music industry drastically, and things continue to evolve rapidly. This enables Irish artists to find their own audiences even without the backing of major record labels."
Maintaining this high standard has been crucial for setting Ollys TV apart and contributing to the progression of the drill scene. Online channels like Ollys TV act both as a gateway into the music industry and an amplifier of the multicultural production of working-class youngsters in Ireland, giving many aspiring rappers and singers the necessary exposure to kickstart their careers. Not only does Ollys TV provide artists with promotions, but with connections to producers, graphic designers, and labels across the Irish music industry.
"My aim for this music industry is for the rappers I help on both my YouTube channel and Instagram page to get noticed and have the opportunity that they couldn't."
The I.B.A Awards (Ireland's Best Artists Award), Ollys TV showcases Artist's annual music award honoring achievements in music. The award from Ollys TV recognizes "Achievements in music based on key interactions with music fans, as well as album and digital songs sales, radio airplay, streaming, touring and social engagement." In 2020, A92 picked up the award for their 'Plugged In Freestyle' with Fumez the Engineer.
Olawale hopes his new compilation will stand to reflect the ongoing professionalism in the music industry and the positive impacts the sound is having, noting the immense effort and expertise that goes into generating the reams of online content responsible for the scene’s growth.
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