Tuesday, July 21, 2015
"THE WORST FANS EVER"
I love a lot of things that I will pay my hard earned money for. These days to be honest, it seems that hard earned money goes to more things my kids love actually. But anyway, in general if I want something I enjoy, I buy it. We are not talking necessities like food and clothing, although my meal doesn’t have to be shrimp, nor my shoes Nike, but they often are. We pay for the things we need and the things we want if we have the money. Unless of course, it happens to be a song we like. In that case, people don’t want to pay for shit!
Today I will address the cheapskates that think it is okay to love something so much that you can’t fathom life without it, yet won’t pay the price to enjoy it. Before I offer these people up to the music Gods for sacrifice, I must first make it clear how horrible life would be without music. This won’t be hard, all you have to do is imagine every movie, most TV shows, music websites, sporting events, commercials, clubs, and iPod in the world just up and disappeared. While you ponder that nightmare, allow me to get on with my point.
Music has become so devalued at this point in general because it has become easier to create and steal. Once an item can be created for less cost, and effectively mass produced at a high rate that is normal. All genres of music have had to adapt to the digital age and how it affects sales, marketing and more. But the difference in HIP HOP music is that not only do you have to deal with change in technology, you have to deal with the mindset of a target audience that has more than likely been trained from birth to “get it for the low”.
Now you see where I’m going with this don’t you? Yes that’s right, I will say it real simple so it does not go over your head: HIP HOP "FANS" DON’T WANNA PAY FOR MUSIC. It had to be said people, don’t shoot the messenger. We created a billion dollar industry out of an art form, raised it up from the streets and turned it into the number one genre of music. We did that because when it popped off, we loved it so much. As fans, we had to have it like those new pair of sneakers. We would come up on some money, hit the mall to hit the record store and to cop our latest jam along with those new J's. Those were the days of old.
But, as it goes in the hood with our people, no matter how much we love something, cash rules everything. We love to claim Black Lives Matter and we slaughter each other over money and streets we don't own. But, I will digress on that point for now. But as it stands, the less you spend the better and music is no exception. We praise and idolize our favorite music artist like we do our favorite athlete, but we don’t treat their talent with the same level of respect. We know we can’t jump like Jordan, or run a 4 second 40 yard dash, but for some reason, a lot of people think they can be a rapper.
Let me be clear and frank: as of late the music that has been in the forefront of HIP HOP specifically and on FM radio, I can’t say that I blame people for not wanting to buy a lot of it. Seriously, I thought one of the new “hot” songs on the radio today was a spoof when I heard it. But, even if a song is wack, for the ones who actually do LIKE it, that still won’t make them PAY FOR IT. The psyche of the average urban music fan is “I’m trying to get it for free or cheap”. It doesn’t matter if it’s music, or buying food stamps at half price to double their groceries.
Far be it from me to tell people how to spend their money, but this blog is about what a real fan is. Country music artist don’t have this issue as much, neither does pop, rock, jazz and so forth. There is a different mindset in general of the FAN of those genres, a higher level of respect for it as an art form. I won’t act like they don’t have piracy issues like any other form of digital music, but it’s far less. Their CD’s are just as easy to jack and steal online, but urban music is pirated at 20 times the rate of their music.
It’s the target audience, the CONSUMER that is different. An urban music fan can LOVE an artist, and they may even support them by attending a show at the local club. But paying store prices for the album, or .99 cent to download the single? Um…NO, they will get it from the flea market. Sad truth of it all, in Hip Hop especially we sensationalize and give props to illegal activity. Our target audience is a group of people who make heroes out of dope boys, strippers and gang leaders. So to honestly expect those same people not to steal your product is on the verge of INSANITY.
This goes deeper then skin color of course. It really is an economical issue at the end of the day. Urban music fans tend to be young, broke or a combination of the two. At the very least they may come from a low income family or background. This does not mean that they are "bad people". It just means there is a mindset that comes along with those economic conditions that makes you tend to care less about respecting music as an art, let alone piracy laws. Fueling the flames of this rationale is the fact so many Hip Hop artist give their music away online, or allow a DJ to openly pirate their music. To them this is some form of sick promotional game that is required to build up their “fan” base. Sounds crazy when I say it like that huh?
So, before I go I just want to say that personally I appreciate every true fan and supporter of Hip Hop. It’s not many but we have take what we can get. But as a fan and supporter, I HOPE that you would BUY an artists product if you can afford it. Every urban music artist has some way you can hear thier music for free that they authorize and promote like streaming sites and such. And much like those favorite shoes you saved up and bought, save up and buy the MUSIC you love too. I know I’m talking real crazy now huh? I thought you said you were a FAN though?
-BLIZM (Program Director, K-100 Radio)