People Don’t Buy Music, They Buy The Brand

Instead I kept my eye on him and watched in the coming months to see if that performance was reflective of the artist I perceived him to be. In the coming months J Cole proved to me he was just that. I officially became a fan and purchased my first concert ticket to his Forrest Hills drive tour and never looked back.


Everything seems to be in reach in our internet driven world. One of those things is definitely music. Music streaming like Apple, Spotify and Soundcloud have made it easier for fans to get the music they want. Often times for a discounted or free expense.  The point here is that people don’t buy music anymore because they don’t have to. So how does an artist thrive in this environment? The way to do it is to sell yourself, not just your music.Spotify-Hero-1

Now of course there are people still buying music the traditional way. Also, artist do get paid from streaming but it is a substantially low amount. I think 10,000 streams is equal to one sale. In any case selling your music on its own won’t pay your bills as an artist. Instead you have to sell yourself as a brand and get people to invest in you.

Think about why people really love music. It isn’t because it just sounds good, its deeper than that. The music speaks to them or their experiences. It is important to the customer because they live their lives to this but they still don’t have to buy your music. However, if the customer believes in you, they will buy tickets to your show or merchandise that you own. That is the art od branding and that is what people buy into today. J.Cole-Fan-Cierra-Bosarge.png

I always like to give the example of J Cole when talking about branding. Before 2014, I was a some what fan of his. I knew he could rap and he made good songs but I didn’t feel like I knew him. It made me hesitate to really buy into him and I kind of dismissed him as another rapper I didn’t care about. Then I saw him perform a song called “Be Free” on the Dave Letterman show. The song talked about police brutality and need for black people to be heard. I felt the emotion and pain in his voice as he sang and then rapped. I was blown away. But not enough to be a complete fan. Link to performance.

Instead I kept my eye on him and watched in the coming months to see if that performance was reflective of the artist I perceived him to be. In the coming months J Cole proved to me he was just that. I officially became a fan and purchased my first concert ticket to his Forrest Hills drive tour and never looked back.

I never purchased a J Cole song in my life but his brand earned my loyalty. That is something money can’t buy.

It Isn’t Cool To Be A Thug In Hip Hop Anymore

Tupac ruined the rap game when he tattooed “Thug Life” on his stomach. This isn’t to say that he was the first thug or gangsta of hip hop. But that image of that tattoo was seen worldwide and let everyone know that this is hip hop.  It was great for the 1990’s when that kind of life style was seen as cool or the norm in hip hop. Today, however I see kids on social media trying to be gangsters and thugs and it isn’t right. tupac_shakur

I use Tupac as an example because he was such a powerful figure in the culture. He was truly special with how he was able to reach people by being authentic to himself. He is like god to most people who listen to rap, but he is flawed like anyone else. He was not a perfect person and lived a reckless life that was brought about by his self-proclaimed “thug lifestyle.” We celebrate Tupac like he is the man and he is. The problem is people saw this and thought they could be him. The reality though is you can’t. There is only one Tupac and he unfortunately is not here anymore.

In 2017, Tupac should be an example to everyone that being a thug doesn’t have a good end.  I understand that everyone grows up in a different environment and some things are hard to escape but death isn’t one of them. Being a thug will get you death or jail. Both aren’t very cool.thug

The cool thing to do today is going to school and get your college degree like J cole. Or up lift people out of bad situations like Kendrick Lamar. Or become the biggest rapper in the genre like Drake, by dedicating yourself to your passion and nothing else. These are hip hop’s representation today and we are in a better place for it.j c

Again, I want to say that Tupac is amazing and was a uniquely special human being. However, he wasn’t perfect and we all can learn from his mistakes and short comings. As a long time fan of hip hop we have made a habit of celebrating the thugs. Hopefully this new generation could change that standard.

Rapper’s Are The Rock Stars Of Today

Rock and Roll was considered the rebel music of its day. Young people  naturally gravitated towards it, and older people rejected it. It was flashy, in your face, and counter-culture. It simply was the new wave of its time. Fast forward to today and that all has changed. Hip hop and Rap is now that wave.rock and roll

I grew up listening to a lot of different music, but hip hop and rap was always the coolest. It was the music that your parents didn’t quite approve of but somehow resonated with you the most. It was more than just music too, it was a culture that you lived and breathed. I spoke the dialect, I dressed the part, and I lived through the music. And I wasn’t the only one. I had a whole generations of kids beside me doing the same. hip

Look at some of the biggest artist in Hip Hop right now.  Artists like Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and J Cole have created such an impact that kids are growing up wanting to be just like them. When either of these artist drop an album it feels as if social media stops for a minute to bask in their greatness. And their shows are simply ridiculous. We are talking arenas, stadiums, even a sighting on the street garners such great attention. The fans live through their music and that is the power of hip hop’s rock star

On the flip side though, these are mega stars. So it makes sense they would get this kind of attention. What about rappers who aren’t as popular? Well I can tell you from first hand experience it still is just as ridiculous.

I have gone to many small clubs and venues to see rappers who were famous but not at the superstar level yet. Rappers like G Eazy, Mac Miller, Bas, and Logic. The reaction and love these artist got were crazy. People would stand 5 hours in line just to get into these places, then stand 3 more hours for a show. It’s crazy, but that’s rock and roll or should I say Hip Hop. asap-ferg-21

Kanye West once told Zane Lowe in an interview that “We are the new rock stars.” Kanye was of course referring to rappers. Usually Kanye is a little off in his judgements but he got this one right. Rappers are the new rock stars and we are just living in their world.