one day I'm going to write a book, I'm kind of a secret author I just don't usually share the majority of my ideas with anyone but myself. While I was working on the video and blazing a few bowls i just starting brainstorming on what i think is about to happen in the music industry, and what I want to do with music personally.
I know some of you will probably look at it, see all of those words, and say "Fuck that, I'm not on the Internet to read!?!"
Everything I'm about to tell you is just my opinion, my perspective on the music industry (and music community), and how it has evolved and transformed more than ever in the last ten years and why I believe the underground is going to eventually take over the entire music industry and kill the mainstream concept.
What caused the collapse of major labels? There are a ton of different theories on this, but I think we can all at least agree that it started with the advancement of computers, faster internet speeds, and the invention of file sharing programs, starting with Napster.
In one word... TECHNOLOGY.
Technology exploded onto the scene, and like the older generation holding on to their rotary-dial phones, afraid to make the switch to those newfangled touch-tone ones, record companies desperately tried to cling to the old model. With a death grip.
I think that if the RIAA had pulled their head out their ass A LONG time ago they could probably have beat Steve Jobs to ITunes - and made buying a song for 99 cents direct from the record companies as common as a major-label rapper who doesn't write his own rhymes. ( I won't even let anyone else record me, there's no way I'm saying someone else's shit). People are lazy as hell. I don't know about you, but I would probably have just paid a dollar before I went thru the trouble of deleting Napster and finding something new.
For a second just pretend....MUSIC is kind of like DRUGS. If you know me you know I have had more than my fair share of addictions. But I am WAY more addicted to music then I've ever been anything else in my life. Thank God! Think about this from the mindstate of an addict. What happens when you lose your source for drugs and you can't get them anymore? Do you stop using?
Hell no. You just go somewhere else to find it. So what happened when they killed Napster? Almost instantly, other sources took its place. There were IRC clients, Kazaa, Morpheous, Limewire, and so many others.. Nowadays you don't even need that. You can just rip a song directly from YouTube. Or just Google it... chances are it's out there somewhere, on the internet, just waiting for you to click
Can you even remember when you would go to the record store to buy a CD? I kind of do, but those memories are fuzzy. The RIAA wasted so much time, money, and effort - and honestly only fueled their problem, instead of finding a way to feed off of it.
Humans in general are rebellious. If someone tells me I can't do something... it kinda has the opposite efffect they intended, and makes me want to do it more. Same concept applies with this... they shed so much light and focus on the issue of illegal downloading that they actually helped it grow to something they couldn't control. And even when legitimate download services like iTunes and Amazon took over, the RIAA's heavy-handed, anti-consumer tactics made people more willing to buy from anyone BUT the record companies.
To me this was the start of a long, slow decline for the recording industry. But industry was still the key word. We were still being force-fed the same record label-chosen artists - they just weren't taking as much of our money as they used to...
I'll tell you what I THINK is could really spell the end for the "industry"' in the not so far-off future... VSTs!
you might of just said wtf? Hear me out!
These plugins, VSTs (Virtual Studio Technology), have drastically changed the whole landscape of the music "industry." They have made it possible for anyone on a budget to obtain technology for free, or at only a fraction of the cost of it's counter-part, analog.
What would have been a multi-milllion dollar studio in the 1980s is now available for under a $1000 and more advanced. This created a whole new marketplace of artists in the underground... and even less of a demand to buy mainstream music.
Who is going to pay for something someone is ghost writing when there is so much talent, passion, and heart coming from the underground?
I own a few different Tech N9ne albums that I bought because I know it's support HIM and his passion for music. Even though I think that Drake is talented, I will never buy his or the other 99% of mainstream music. It's fake to me, I work in a restaurant that plays 50's and 60's music and some hip-hop lines I thought were really creative, this motherfuckers just STOLE!
How are you going to complain about people stealing your music when you are stealing other people's music?... I think more and more people are agree with me here then not. Look at record sales numbers over the last decade, they do.
What can a major do for you that you can't already do for yourself? For me? NOTHING. Look at the homie Hopsin, he is on MTV... without a MAJOR!
You MUST understand to make it to that level requires an INCREDIBLE amount of work ethic and EXTREME dedication. You can't rely on anyone else but YOURSELF. Seriously, you are going to have to WORK YOUR ASS OFF and KEEP WORKING CONSTANTLY. The more you can do, the more valuable of an asset you become. I just can't stress that enough, there's nothing EASY about being a starving artists... it NEVER gets EASY... it's work, work, work, and more work.
I won't lie with all these new spitters nowadays, it gave me the wrong mentality at first. I was a little resentful, thinking that each new rapper I saw was chipping away at what I had worked for, and I'm still working towards.
See, to me this is my life, and I've given up more then you could imagine for it.
In truth, I was that same kid rapping once, just wanting a chance to get my music out there. I remember what it felt like when no one was listening, what it was like having no one to work with me. I still get frustrated but it's only fuel to the fire these days...
With so many new people coming onto the scene, I see people doing this for the wrong reasons all the time. What's worse, I see rappers doing it for the right reasons, but not really giving their full potential.
You can't just spit a few dope bars and think that's going to cut it... you need iLL instrumentals, good mic presence, original concepts, and - most importantly - someone that knows how to mix your vocals correctly. I encourage that person to eventually be YOU if it's not already, knowledge is infinite... learn that shit!
I had the same misconceptions as you one... "make a demo, get signed with a record deal, and blow up"... Honestly, the majority of this industry is fucked. Almost everyone is ONLY out for themselves, and how they can capatalize off of you. Everything is HURRY UP, and wait.... HURRY UP, and wait again... people will tell you who they know and what this person can do... they'll exaggerate, or they'll just lie outright.
Show promoters will set up schemes where you're selling tickets for them, performing for them, and leave the show broke. Nobody gives a fuck at first, it's a hard lesson... but you should prepare yourself to learn.
I'm 22 and will FINALLY admit I don't know it all. Open you mind! Understanding life is always going to be a part of growing up.. but it scares me to see a whole generation of kids coming into a game that know as little about as I did starting out.
My advice to younger, newer artists is this: stay humble always.
Keep realistic goals. But be willing to take chances...
Reach out to an artist on Facebook you might not have thought would give you the time of day. Don't be upset if he doesn't hit you back, happen to me all the time. But for every one that does, be sure to give props to three artists grinding on the come-up behind you, too.
Push yourself. Test your limits. But never exceed them to the point of getting 'burned out'.
Most importantly, take it from me: don't fucking fall into drugs... ever. Let dope music be your one and only addiction... music will never let you down.
- Eddy aka EMATiON of http://www.BluntRaps.com