Wednesday, January 02, 2008

NEWS: NY Times Analyses Hip Hop Sales Dip

Kelefa Sanneh wrote an interesting article for the NY Times on the 'Decline Of Hip-Hop Sales'. Music sales in general are of course down, but Hip Hop has been hit harder than most genres. There's been a slew of articles on this topic in the last few months, but Kelefa interestingly shows some optimism in a silver lining kind of way as he compares today's market and it's challenges and strategies with the Southern market a few years back.


"Under-the-radar releases, weird tour schedules, modest sales figures: none of this is new. The success of Southern hip-hop in the last decade was built on a foundation of independent and independent-minded rappers, many of whom worked with the scrappy regional distributor Southwest Wholesale, which is now closed, like many of the little shops it used to serve. In an earlier era these regional scenes were farm teams for the industry, grooming the top players and then sending them up to the big leagues. But what if there are no big leagues anymore? [...] The mainstream hip-hop industry relies on a thriving underground, but isn’t the reverse also true? [...]Because hip-hop is so intensely self-aware, and self-reflexive, it came to be known as big-money music, a genre obsessed with its own success. If we are now entering an age of diminished commercial expectations, that will inevitably change how hip-hop sounds too. Read the full article here. On a related note, my favorite part of Kelefa's Wikipedia entry is the following line: "He took a one year leave of absence to work at Newbury Comics music store, where he specialized in applying stickers to CD packages."

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