Friday, December 08, 2006

Wait, Now Hip-Hop is Dead?!?!

If it’s in the LA/Chicago Times it must be true. Right?

There is a piece in Friday’s edition of the Los Angeles Times explaining how the lack of Grammy nominations in hip-hop means that rapping on records has lost it’s creative steam. Certainly the best judges of what is and is not a creative force in music are the septuagenarians and Steely Dan fans that make up Grammy voters.

Some of the article is Senior Citizen hogwash. Newspapers are aimed at your parents, so the stories tend to reflect their interests (like “Them Intranet Tubes Try to Steal Social Security Checks” and “Why Do They Have to Drive So Fast?”)

But Boucher and Lee do get to some salient points. TI’s album is the only rap-based record in the Top 20 in sales for the year. They also point out that lots of other music in the Year-End Top Ten is not rap-based but is hip-hop influenced (JT, Mary J). Plus many of the "big" rap releases (Jay Z, Game) are at the end of the year so they will sell less copies in calendar 2006. Even Mr. "Hip Hop is Dead" himself, Nas, has record coming out in 2006, but buried on Dec. 15. I guess Nas's boss didn't want the sales competition.

There is also the acknowledgement of the changing business model that is working its way through the music world – by starting in hip-hop:
"Hip-hop and urban music is just as strong as it has been, it's just that now its success is coming in new places and in new ways," said Jay Frank, the chief of programming for Yahoo Music. "There's a lot of digital downloads and ring tones being sold, and in some cases this is music that is being very successful in ways other than selling CDs."

Sixteen-year-old rapper Jibbs is an example. His debut album has sold a humble 126,000 copies since its release in October. But one sing-song track on the CD, "Chain Hang Low," an ode to diamond necklaces, has sold 1.4 million ring tones. Those sound clips, used to personalize cell phones, usually cost about $2 each. (full article here)

I hadn’t realized that Jibbs had sold so few CDs, nor that many ring-tones. Things are changing, but it certainly is not all bad. I guess that the growing youthification of the music scene means consumers who can afford to buy songs one at a time but aren’t committed/wealthy enough to buy the whole disc. Kind of like that shady liquor store that sold cigarettes for a quarter each, knowing the market was all underage kids. Anyone else remember that? Maybe that was just me and all the other kids with the Hessian rat-tail combs.

More on the Grammy Nominations in a bit.

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Ranting always ranting.
Post something positive !
someone needs to rant about how ridiculous it is for people to be paying 2$ for a ringtone. Unbelievable. 1.4 million. For a snippet of a song. I thought if todays youth was savvy enough to steal the music by downloading it, they could at least figure out how to get it on their phone without paying for it. I guess I was wrong.

keep up the negativity 30f. I like it.
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