Yoh Issue(s) : Free Music
Recently I was reading Pigs and Pigeons interview with The Internet, the genre amalgam group that consist of Odd Future engineer/DJ/ Syd The Kid, and Matt Martian known for his production done with Jet Age of Tomorrow. One of the more interesting excerpts of the interview is where they proclaim the ideal of releasing the rest of their future projects for free .99. In a nut shell, they feel the winds of change are blowing strong and the time for placing price tags on your project is behind us. Obtaining wealth and fame can be done without requiring fans to make a trip to the stores, or iTunes for the lazy bones that prefer the digital downloads. We’ve become accustomed to free music regardless if it’s been presented with a bow or wait for the album to leak on twitter. Especially In hip-hop, artists have been complaining for the last few years about album sales being at an all-time low. Unless your name is Drake, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, who are all artist living in the perfect utopia completely unaffected by the harsh, merciless, jungle that we call the “music industry”.
People view putting a price on their work as a curse, an unspoken code that must not be done. Get clever with the packaging if you think they deserve more than the music, immortalize your brand.
Personally, I think the biggest flaw with album sales comes from the formula that has become acclimatize in hip-hop. Free mixtape, free EP, free single, and then release an album, crossing your fingers in hopes that fans still have room on their iPhones, and $10 in their pocket. Music listeners are SPOILED. Artist are so afraid of becoming yesterday's news that it’s a consistent amount of music being outputted, which has proven to work. Look at Rick Ross, before putting out his most successful album to date “God Forgives I Don’t”, he released a FREE mixtape entitled “Rich Forever”. Song for song, Rich Forever is easily the better musical product. He has features from Nas, Drake, P.Diddy, and John Legend. When have you ever seen John Legend appear on a MIXTAPE!? Of course, the buzz escalated from Rich Forever allowed GFID to be an even bigger commercial success. If looked at from a panorama viewpoint, like how Drake verse on “Stay Scheming” was far more effectual than his hook on “Sliced Pineapples”. There are factors that prove Ross obviously gave away the more refined, potent project for nothing.
J.Cole, Wale, Mickey Factz, X.V, Big Sean, are all artist that have released music fans would deem their best for free because of the way the industry is shaped. Listening to Wiz’s Taylor Allderdice, I’m baffled why this wasn’t his sophomore album. Big K.R.I.T rereleased his earlier works, as a package, much like the The Weekend is doing with his 3 mixtapes that took him to instant stardom. Even Drake took his critically acclaimed free mixtape “So Far Gone” and broke it down into a 7 track EP that oddly sold pretty well considering everybody and they momma had been bumping it for months. Look at hip-hop favorite group right now, Black Hippy. ScHoolboy Q’s first project “Setbacks” was put on iTunes before he was even at the stature that many would find that move admirable. The reception was good for an artist who still didn’t have a name outside of the blogs, but this proved, that he and TDE felt that they had something worthy of your money. They later put it out for free once reaching a certain quota. Ab-Soul last two projects, “Long-term Mentality” and “Control System” were on iTunes, along with Kendrick’s “Section 80”. All projects well received, sold, and people were happy with supporting GOOD music.
How many albums did Pac put out for free ? Jay-Z ? Nas ? Biggie ? Imagine if Reasonable Doubt, All Eyez On Me, iLLmatic, Life After Death would have been free !? That’s disrespectful.
Regardless of how many units it moved, without fear of flopping artist have given fans the options to support or not . I feel that leaked albums have indeed hurt sales, but I’ve been someone who has heard an album so good that I had to give them my money. End of the day, you must know your worth ! Adele album went diamond a few months ago, and she isn’t an artist dropping a mixtape every month, and attempting to grab fans by any other method than being talented. Let your talent speak volumes, not only will the masses hear you but WANT TO SUPPORT YOU. I’m speaking to all you artist pouring your heart and soul into your current project. Bandcamp has this option called “Name Your Price”, where your supporters can come to your page, stream your album, and decide if they want to pay for the product. Now, if it’s good you might receive a dollar or two in your paypal, be rewarded for the work, time, and effort that go into making good musical pieces. Treat your music like a painting and you’re an artist. Abstract art is very suggestive; someone can see it as trivial, a bunch of line and patterns thrown together – while another can see the emotion, power, and autistics that the artist was trying to exhibit. Not everyone will be pleased by your work, its life, but you never know how what you’re making at this moment will affect someone. As an artist you are doing it for the people, despite the touring, merchandise, and other things that allow you to increase revenue it all starts with the music. Free Music is a great way to obtaining supporters and push your music, it has come with the digital age, but never forget that if you’re good at something you should be compensated for your work. Even if it’s a small 1,000 album sold, that’s better than 5,000 downloads because that’s a thousand people who believe in what you’re doing and Is pleased enough to pay for it. Make it good, no, make it GREAT. We can continue to spoil the listeners with an abundance of music, but make these brats want it so bad they have no choice, but to break out the debit cards and give what you deserve.