Thursday, November 12, 2009

Honestly Speaking

Ok, so the CMA's were on tonight. For those totally unaware CMA stands for the Country Music awards and might I add Darius Rucker won for Best New Artist. Probably means nothing to you but this is a long time coming for an African American to win at the Country Music Award.

As of late, with the dying sales of Hip Hop and R&B, I can't help but form a theory as to why the entire music industry isn't suffering. Let's take country into consideration and I believe how country music stays relevant and selling units is because the record labels market cross generationally. It's as simple as that. They aren't as strict with their radio playlist either. The station boasting the hottest in country music will play what's new but will also play older material from veteran country singers, cause guess what? they know it's still HOT. The bottom line is the whole genre pays respect to the foundation. That's what's missing from Hip hop and R&B. We'd be unstoppable if we had a united front.

As far as labels go when marketing Hip Hop and R&B they are truly missing an entire generation or even two. As a matter of fact the old structure of the major record label has got to be one of the most ass-backward systems I've ever seen. They don't want to completely submit to the download and rightfully so for a few reasons.
1. They feel a loyalty to their manufacturers and distributors (with the download neither is necessary). They've formed such a bond that even seeing TOWER records slowly go out of business didn't even make them re think their plan. Labels still paying an outside company to manufacture and distribute to stores that are no longer in existence? Doesn't really make sense at all.
2. Really hard to track sales due to the stealing and swapping of music.

The deal is if the labels some time ago said "we're going to create sites that can actually sell our roster's music", they'd be way further along in the game. Can you imagine Def Jam selling their artist's music only from their site? That would have been bananas!!! Imagine all the money they would have saved. OH but they need the shareholders to give LOTS of money for preparation of a cd release so they must keep all of the things in place to actually justify why they need LOTS of It's a joke because everything has just gotten too damn expensive. Something like this
1. radio play can cost anywhere from 25k to 300k (to make you believe it's a hit)
2. a super producer's fee (one that guarantees a hit, or at least the label feels so) 100k
3. video production can range 250k to 500k
4. then more and more and more and it's all RIDICULOUS!!!

All of this to create lots of smoke and screens to make someone believe "you can't live with out this song" or somehow "your life would be much better if you bought it"...HA!

The problem comes in to view when they are marketing kiddie Hip Hop in hopes of kids and teens going to a store and buying a cd. Most kids download which means the generation that still would buy a cd from Target or Walmart are being overlooked. There isn't a label willing to spend money marketing adult Hip Hop which is bananas because they are the very ones with the extra cash to do so.

Instead of a true lover of Hip Hop being able to enjoy new music by their favorite artist they have to go to an R&B oldie station or listen to Backspin where they are warped back in to time.

Let's get smart, choose and support the Hip Hop that means something to us.


Divalocity said...

I've been a fan of Darius Rucker even when he an the group Hootie and the Blow Fish were a struggling college band in Columbia, South Carolina. The man can sing and he's being true to what he is and it's great that he's not letting other's define him. And as long as he does what he loves it doesn't matter who's not buying his music. I refuse to let other's determine what I'll listen to based on cultural differences. Music is music and as long as it sounds good, I'm buying it. Some people tend to abandon certain genres of music out of sheer ignorance, what they don't appreciate others will and Jazz music is one that comes to mind. I don't blame artist to go where your fans are. He earned that award and it should be celebrated.

JustMe said...

This was a great post. Record labels are definitely ignoring a whole demographic of music listeners. My mother, who is 44, emailed me about a concert featuring Eric B & Rakim and Kool Moe Dee, and said that she wanted to go. I was really surprised cause I didn't think she really listened to hip hop anymore. Then I realized that she grew up with hip hop,from the beginning, when she was my age, early 20s, these were the artists who were popular. I really believe that if record companies marketed adult hip hop the right way, that sales would increase; and people like my mom wouldn't feel like they have go give up listening to the music they grew up with.