But yeah, how come this is the only industry where fans are caught up talking about Soundscan numbers and industry gossip like it actually matters?
With moviegoers, the conversation isn’t,
Moviegoer #1: “Indiana Jones did $160 mill its first week! It’s a hit.”
Moviegoer #2: “So what, Ironman did $250 internationally. Marvel made mad money on that joint.”
Moviegoer #1: “Yeah but Marvel’s going to take a loss on The Incredible Hulk.”
Moviegoer #2: “Who cares, Steven Speilberg ain’t did shit with Dreamworks in mad long.”
Nah, nobody’s talking like that except industry insiders and critics. The actual moviegoer doesn’t give two shits about anything except the movie.
But with rap music, because these stupid ass rappers and executives have spent the last ten years looking to promote and spin anything they can into a future record sale, all fans have to go on is industry hype. Plus the content of the music is all about success- how much money a rapper has, his whips, his chains, his women, how he’s not a business man, he’s a business, man!
Of course if that’s what you rhyme about, and talk about in interviews, that’s what people will judge you off of. You talking bout you got this and that, and how you sold x amount of records, well now that’s what people going to start paying attention to. And that’s what they been paying attention to, not the music.
Also in the rap music industry, you’ve got executives in the forefront of the game, in front of the cameras, for no real reason, and what’s the major concern of an executive at the end of the day- the business. When’s the last time you saw Clive Davis in a video (yes I know he was recently fired, just saying)? How about in the 90s, did we see David Geffen in a Guns N’ Roses or Nirvana video? Never mind that David Geffen could have bought you cookie-cutter rap moguls a million times over. The point was that he kept to the background, let his celebrity status as a mogul rise in the place it’s supposed to- within the industry. Not in the face of the general public. That’s where rap got it fucked up, when the execs, label owners and producers (people who need to work the angles behind the scenes) started jumping in front of cameras. The industry got so big that the artist itself became expendable, and you thought you all could cash in. And now you cry that you can’t break an artist.
Additionally, for the past couple of years it seems like almost every major label rap artist that has come out has been riding with the shtick that they’re not rappers, they’re just hustlers who can put words together. You know what that says to people (aka potential fans), it says that the artist doesn’t really care about the music, that they’re just doing this to get where they got to go in life. So again, it’s being put out there that this whole rap thing is a means to an end, and not a way of life in and of itself, and fans aren’t buying it.
I ask this question, would Shawty Lo be rapping if there was absolutely NO money to be made from music? Would Rick Ross? Would Jeezy? Would Jim Jones?
Let’s take money out of this entire business and see how many of these artists would be making rap music. I think there would literally be a 95% drop in the amount of rappers in the game.
And now that the money actually is drying up, I do see a shiteload of rappers and people in the industry jumping ship. So it’s definitely a plausible reality.
Having had the opportunity myself to talk to Jermaine Dupri recently, I do want to put it out there that these interview clips aren’t him just bitching. I think he understands that on some level his own involvement in what he’s talking about has made him part of the problem. And he’s at least putting out there, acknowledging these issues, and trying to rectify the situation in whatever capacity he can.
But again I’ll make the point that people are talking about Soundscan and the industry more than the music because that’s what the artists, execs, and the industry itself have put out there. 50 vs. Kanye? All we heard from 50 was about how he sold x amount of records in the past and blah blah blah, all we heard from Kanye was about the type of music he was making on his new album…. who won the soundscan battle? Kanye. Since then, have we heard Kanye gloat about that shit at all? No. Have we heard 50 talk about losing the battle? Absolutely.
Bottom line, a person who is truly passionate about listening to music will always get more excited about the actual music than someone touting a soundscan number. Numbers are boring. Music is exciting. It seems pretty simple to me. Get back to the music, stop talking.