My first rant

When I started this site, I promised the occasional rant. Well, here’s my inaugural one. And this one addresses my frustration with Hip-Hop (and music in general). But a very specific aspect. And one that I think is partly responsible for the decline in record sales.
Supastition, one of my favorite MCs, said the following in the track “The Signature” “Last night I just rocked a show for 60 people/10 of them were in to it, 30 of ’em rap too/the other 20 heads were in the bar or the bathroom.”
It’s a clever line, and one that makes an important point. You can’t go to shows anymore, especially Hip-Hop shows, and especially in the smaller venues and clubs that used to be the best place to see a show, without it becoming an attempt at networking from everyone around you. There aren’t any fans left. No one is doing it for the love. Everyone is trying to get put on, and no one just enjoys the music and the art anymore.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s great that so many people have access to make music and express themselves, but you should be able to do that without always pushing people to sign them.
A lot of people love playing sports, but beyond childhood most people realize that it isn’t a career path. But they still play because it’s fun. Imagine going to a NBA game, and you’re cheering for your team. Or even just sitting there watching the pros play. Now imagine everyone sitting around you asking if you play too, if you know any of the players, if you work in the front office, if you’re a scout, etc. And then asking you to come to their local playground to see them play, or them trying to slip you a DVD of their highlight reel. It would ruin the experience for you.
That’s what a show is like now. Everyone is looking for other artists/producers/DJ’s/executives. You can’t just sit and watch and enjoy. Even worse, many of these people are haters. They go to the show just to tell everyone how much better they are than the actual performer.
Don’t get me wrong. Networking is good, and there isn’t anything wrong with aiming to make your passion your career. But sometimes too much access is bad. If you make music, try to remember why you started. Someone on a message board this morning said “You do not start playing an instrument to make money. For the most of the musicians it starts with curiosity, inspiration, passion, discovering that you have the talent, then maybe you consider to turn it into a job.” And that’s how it used to be. You bought a drum machine or guitar because you were passionate about music and wanted to create. But now people walk in to a Guitar Center looking to buy the key to their fame and riches. And it takes away from the art and saturates the scene.
Like I said, keep networking. You want to hand out some samplers or a card with your website, go ahead. But don’t ruin my experience.
Now how does this all possibly lead to decreased sales? Easy. There are no more fans. These aspiring musicians view the stars as competition, or just a way to get on. They view themselves as being on equal footing, like they are entitled to the music for free because they make music, too. The same goes for shows. As Pony Bwoy said in his “Royal Flush” remix – “There’s too many artists, and hardly any fans/that’s why you never come to shows unless they starring your mans/or your cousin, big brother, even dude at your job/then you all want in for free so I end getting robbed.” No one goes to enjoy the show anymore. They go to try to be the center of attention, and while they want everyone to pay them, they don’t want to pay for someone else, even if it’s just a measly $5.
I could go on and on about this topic, but hopefully some comments will start coming in and contributing. I’d love to hear what fans and aspiring artists have to say. And I’m sure this is a topic that I’ll revisit in the future.

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