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.

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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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VzpCmRtCL0resizedimage

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.

Record Labels Are A Thing of The Past

During a performance in San Diego, California, Chance the Rapper performed his hit song “No Problems to the back round of images that very anti Record labels. Chance  changed the labels names to insulting terms, swapping out Sony for Phony, going from Def Jam Recordings to Don’t Join Recordings, and from Aftermath Entertainment to Can’t Do Math Entertainment. If this is a sign of things to come, record labels will be a thing of the past in five to ten years.    Chance the Rapper

For the past 40 years, hip hop has been a pop culture trend setter. It is the music of the youth and the youth are the people in charge of setting trends for the future. The trend now in hip hop seems to be independence.  Artist now seem to want to take control of their own business and reject the control of record label. All of which are signs that the days of record labels in hip hop are coming to an end.apple-music-spotify-tidal

The emergence of music of music streaming services like Apple and Spotify, have changed the way people receive music. These companies act as distributors the same way labels use to. An artist doesn’t have to go to a label to get their music put out. The artist could go to apple, spotify, or most commonly the internet and put it out for free. Social media allows individuals to become stars on their own. A label simply cannot do anything for you in the internet based world we live in.

Look at someone like Chance the Rapper. Chance has become one of the biggest artist in hip hop. He recently won a Grammy for a free mixtape and is doing arena tours with music he made using his own money.  Chance is the future of hip hop, and he did that without the help of a label. I think more and more people will follow Chance’s lead in the future and leave no more room for record labels.chance 1

The artist of this generation will take the power back from the labels. Independence is the new wave.

Is Kendrick Lamar A Top Ten Rapper of all time?

Kendrick Lamar is arguably the greatest rapper of this generation. Since 2011, mainstream media has fallen in love with the Compton native for his lyricism, honestly, and overall complete artistry. He has won seven Grammy’s and appeared in songs beside music heavy weight’s like Beyoncé, U2, and Rihanna. On one of his latest songs The Heart Part 4, Kendrick out right says, “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, I am the Greatest Rapper Alive.” And he probably is right. But is he top ten all time in the history of rap? The answer is, not yet.

Kendrick Lamar is arguably the greatest rapper of this generation. Since 2011, mainstream media has fallen in love with the Compton native for his lyricism, honestly, and overall complete artistry. He has won seven Grammy’s and appeared in songs beside music heavy weight’s like Beyoncé, U2, and Rihanna. On one of his latest songs The Heart Part 4, Kendrick out right says, “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, I am the Greatest Rapper Alive.” And he probably is right. But is he top ten all time in the history of rap? The answer is, not yet. damn

Earlier this month, Kendrick Lamar dropped his 3rd major studio album Damn. Social media was ablaze with compliments and praise for 14 track LP. Like his other two classic albums, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, and To Pimp a Butterfly, Damn seems to have lasting messages that will reveal itself over time. It’s too early to call his latest installment a classic, but it sold 603,000 units its first week, making it the fastest selling album of the year thus far. Kendrick is probably on his way to his third straight classic album. Which is in addition to his classic Section.80 album, that was released under Top Dawg Entertainment.

These are all great accomplishments that cannot be taken away from Kendrick, but the sample size isn’t large enough to compare to other rap legends just yet.   k dot

Lets look at others who he would be competing against. People like Jay-z, Eminem, Tupac, Biggie, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, DMX, Jadakiss, LL Cool J, Nas, and Scarface. That’s just to name a few. These artist all have more extensive musical catalogues, time put in, and bigger legendary acceptance than Kendrick does at this junction in his career. There is no denying K dot’s talent and his incredibly high ceiling. However, at this time I think it’s unfair to place him up against these greats. He simply needs more time.

Though, in 10 years I don’t think the discussion will be is Kendrick Lamar top 10? I think it will be is Kendrick Lamar the greatest rapper of all time? Only time will tell. But what do you think, is the man they call Kung-fu Kenny Top ten right now? Comment below!

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