I have been a fan of Tech N9ne for the past 5 years. He is my favorite rapper of all time, and I don't think that will ever change. He is also the most successful independent artist of all time, as most of you probably know. However, as successful as he is, I feel like he and Travis don't really know how to manage a label and utilize their artists in the best possible way.
Mac Miller proved this year how ineffective Strange Music is by releasing his debut album (independently) and selling more than Tech's 14th. That's sad. That needs to be a wake-up call. I recently stumbled across a Strange Music blog post that said, and I quote, "2011 was an outstanding year for the #1 independent hip hop label in the world". I laughed out loud when I read that. What about 2011 was outstanding for Strange Music? All 6's and 7's placed at #4 on the Billboard charts and did about 50,000 the first week, and that's great for Tech, but that's about it. The problem isn't really with Tech, its with the other members. Strange released 4 Non-Tech albums this year (Preserved, Follow Me Home, Coathanga Strangla, and Damn Fool) and 2 Non-Tech EPs (S.I.C. and Red-Headed Stepchild). Out of these 6 projects, I feel like none of them could be considered "successful" by any means and were mainly only heard/bought by diehard Tech N9ne/Strange Music fans (with the exception of maybe Follow Me Home).
Ask anyone at school, work, church, the bus stop, etc. if they know anything about Strange Music or any of its members. 90% of the time, they won't. Why is this? It probably has something to do with the fact that most of Strange Music's very limited promotion goes directly to Tech N9ne, which kind of makes sense seeing as how Tech is their #1 priority and cash cow. So how do the other artists create a buzz/popularity? Easy: THEY HAVE TO DO IT THEMSELVES. Jay Rock is easily the second most popular member of Strange Music, and that is simply because he has created his own buzz along with the other members of TDE/Black Hippy. Actually, Jay Rock would probably be in the same place he is right now (popularity and sales wise) if he DIDN'T sign with Strange Music. Look how well Kendrick is doing (yes an underground artist people actually KNOW about, crazy huh?).
I understand that a big part of Strange Music is touring. And that's cool and all but if the artists want themselves and this label to be relevant, they have to do more. What have we heard from Strange Music since WTSL was release? Nothing. No singles, no release dates, nothing. When is Kutt gonna drop those mixtapes? What happened to Lynch's EP that he just decided not to do? When are Stevie and Mayday gonna put something out? It seems to me like either the label or the artists themselves just aren't doing everything they can and that frustrates me because I know there is a TON of talent there and I hate to see it wasted. Thank you for reading. Flame away lol
you dont think Jay Rock will?
matt meyer said:
i think in the long long run, the main acts are going to be mayday and stevie stone. because let's face it... tech, kali, kutt, scoob, and lynch are old.
It's not the artists.. It's the label.
They need more money put into their videos.
better promotion. and need to start aiming higher matching it with the big guys.
They got the talent. Just not the base and $$$ that they have.
First off, Mac Miller is "technically" indie, but if I do remember right, he did have some other people up his sleeve to get his debut album to sell over 100K. It wasnt like he completely did it as a grassroots thing on his own. So it depends on if you view the glass half full or half empty. Plus im no expert on Mac Miller, hes just another white guy rapper to me.
Second, SM and the cash management thing is a valid point. I feel like SM needs to stray away from getting artists on the label for one project and then just drop them off, or whatnot. Its an entire waste of money and time and in this economy, no matter how much money it costs, money is becoming more of a hard commodity nowadays. They do have some great talent, but the bigger picture is that no matter how much money you make from these tours and shows to fund these signing moves, how much money are you willing to flush away before you say that enough is enough? Tech cant hustle the tour scene forever. I always wondered how Tech feels about all these artists that the label invests in and they dont work out. I would have to imagine it is frustrating to an extent.
Third. The question with artists selling or underselling X-amount of albums is a half and half thing. Cognito once brought up in an interview after he left strange that the biggest issue for him was the promotion of albums and his, he felt, was under promoted. There were still a few songs on the album that Cog felt, were worthy of getting some promo but he was already feeling the pressure or whatnot to begin new material for a whole new album, when automatic was barely out.
I felt that "Born to be Fly" deserved to be a leading single that never saw the light of day. If anything, there needs to be a better guideline for promoting songs/videos on the label. Maybe each artist gets like two singles tops and one of the singles, Strange Music picks to promote, then the artist picks a song THEY want to promote. Then SM shoots the video for theirs and then the artist figures out a way for shooting theirs. SM meets you half way in the middle, then you meet them half way in the middle. It becomes a requirement in your contract. Just a thought. Maybe they find a few people to be placed in charge of developing the videos and handling the promotions. Something tells me that Tech and Trav do almost EVERYTHING and a little bit of help wouldnt hurt. Maybe some young and fresh geeky minds who know how to do videos and all the little websites and the nooks and crannies of the internet to post them on. You need the tech savvy guys.
But then you look at people, like Hopsin, who really didnt have anything or ANYONE backing him and used the powers of YouTube and MySpace and Facebook to his advantage. They are basically cost nothing and require barely anything to maintain and set up. Except the energy and the passion to do so. Hop basically went from doing "the ill mind of Hopsin" in his basement to making RAW and then getting on a track with Tech N9ne in what, a little over a year tops?
Its that passion and that hunger that will get you paid. You simply cannot sit back and say that because you are with Strange Music that they now have to do EVERYTHING for you now. If you want to be where Tech is, then you have to hustle hard to get to where Tech is. Use the UStreams and the YouTubes and the Facebooks and go get this money. Back in the day, making a music video cost millions to do, but with modern technology, a simple HDCAM and a Mac can work wonders and give you damn near the same quality. And you can go on YOUTUBE to learn how to video edit and shoot video. Its that simple. Yes, the Strange Music backing is a major blessing and having the arsenal of artists to choose from to create songs with is wonderful. Getting hype from performing at Tech N9ne's shows only helps the bottom line, but in the end, you have to remember, Tech N9ne is the LABEL. It will always be about him, because he created it and created his own lane. Simply put, if you are on SM, then you will have to someday, make your own lane for yourself and build up your own fanbase. Tech isnt going to be around FOREVER.
I believe that was one of the reasons that Skatterman and Snug Brim left, If I remember the quote right from an interview after they left Strange it went, "It was all about the Red-haired wonder."
From my view of things, getting signed to Strange is simlar to that Eminem song "Lose Yourself." Talking about getting your one chance and your one oppertunity to cease the moment and make something of yourself. I wouldnt sit on my ass and do the bare mininum of whats required of me on the label. I want to be in EVERYTHING, I want a taste of it all. I want the VIP meet and greet times. I want to sit at the tables and sign shirts and slap hands with the fans. I want to spend an entire day just sitting and signing and signing and signing hundreds of pre order covers and posters. I want to spend time around other SM artists and be in the studio and get a feel of what they are doing with their music to help me develop mine and make music.
The last point. Who is the successor after Tech N9ne? Who is the artist on the label that carries the torch? Tech is 40 years old now and in a few years, expect his hardcore touring regimen to decline. Tech is not going to walk away completely, but your body can only do so many years of 200 plus shows before you begin to feel it take its toll. Plus im sure that in the back of his mind, Tech wants some time to just travel the world with his kids and enjoy the world and the perks he has worked so hard for. Im not saying that Tech should walk away, but I see his role in the company becoming something like Travis. Overseeing the operations and being that smart CEO that has decades of experience that has been there and has done that. In the process becoming a mentor to the up and coming artists and influencing them and their musical abilities.
Is the successor to Tech currently on SM's roster? Who would be able to take the leading role of the brand? I would like to someday see Strange Music still around when I get old and my children listen to music and I could be like, "Man, I remember when Tech N9ne started all this shit!" LOL.
Good topic and I do agree with most of the points in your statement.
Kutt RT'd this thread on twitter. good stuff.
Wow that's awesome. Thanks to whoever tweeted it to him! And I hope it helps push him and whoever else sees it to work even harder in 2012, or for the label to start taking risks by investing more money in new guys.
Kutt RT'd this thread on twitter. good stuff.
Dwaaaaamn lol if I would've known that was gonna happen I would've gone back and double-checked my spelling one last time haha but that's really cool that she did that!
Not thereal Tecca Ninna said:
She tweeted it to Tech, Krizz, Kutt, Stone, Wrekonize, Mayday, Brotha Lynch, Prozak, Taylor Lamb (Strange Music Video Guy?), Young Bleed, Makzilla, Richie Abbott (Tech's A&R), Strange Music and Jay Rock. Your thread is gonna get a lot of attention it looks like lol
I don't care what Mac Miller is doing, but it should be a wake up call indeed for Strange. So many releases didn't even get promoted at all, Scoobs Damn Fool was out weeks before anybody on this site even knew. A little picture on the main page of this site isn't promotion. If they put as much promotion into all their artists as they do Tech, Strange would be a colossal force in the music world. But they don't promote at all, and yet Strange is signing artists everywhere. Bad bad bad bad business. Sort it out Strange. Quality over quantity.
I saw that Young Bleed responded to the girl who was tweeting everyone, but has since deleted his responses... interesting.
I don't think paying for exposure could be considered "kissing ass". It's just an exchange of currency for a service. If you buy food from the grocery store, does that mean you are kissing the grocery store's ass because you didn't make the food yourself? Of course not. And it couldn't be considered selling out either, as long as the music itself isn't affected.
Tech says he wants the whole world to hear his music, but won't go the extra mile to make that into a reality.
Sean Schipper said:
Mac miller either paid for his exposure, or he sucked a lot of dick to do it. Yeah tech could put pay to get fuck food or worldwide choppers all over the radio and tv. But he's said it a few times, we aint kissin no mothafuckin ass to be accepted.
Theres more ways to spend money towards promotion than just ads on MTV. I dont think thats what people have meant when they are saying that more money could be spent advertising. And this isnt even really about Tech, its about the rest of the label. I think its clear that All 6s and 7s pretty much got the promotion it deserved, and it could pick up again when the Am I A Psycho video drops and eventually the WWC video if it ever gets shot. But the rest of the artists on the label have been limited to 1 music video per album, and a lot of the times the songs chosen for videos have been questionable. I think the biggest issue is the amount of time that promo is run per album. It seems like albums are only getting promotion a month before they drop until a month after they drop, and then its on to the next artist's album. Thats way too short. Even All 6s and 7s got screwed on promo time after the release date, but that was more because Tech quickly finished WTSL and had to start pushing that.
I see artists all the time, mainstream and underground, still pushing albums a year after they come out, either through tweets/facebook/etc. or more music videos. Its really not uncommon to see videos for an album come out over a year after the initial release date. Albums should be getting pushed until the artist is making heavy progress on their next album. And from the sounds of it, Strange has plenty of money to make these things happen.
Also, it would help if Strange was a little more vocal on some stuff. No Filter got delayed with no acknowledgment, until someone happened to find it on some random site, which lead to a last second preorder campaign that caught everyone off guard. Klusterfuk's date came and went with no word. We basically deciphered through random tweets that it hadn't been started yet. Nobody knew that Lynch wasn't actually releasing his EP until someone happened to catch a twitter reply about it. And to this day, people still question if Cognito is still on Strange because an official announcement regarding his leaving was never made.