Monday, November 28, 2005
How To Make A Successful R & B Record, Pt. 4081

R&B Singer Seeks Rapper For Validation, Occasional Collabos. Inquire Here.

Great piece in yesterday's NY Times by Jeff Leeds called "Scenes From an Arranged Marriage".

The piece is about an upcoming R & B singer named Governor, who has delayed his release for years as he's been shuttled from Dr. Dre's camp to 50 Cent's camp to now T.I.'s camp.

I told Jeff that I was jealous he had gotten the story. It's a great example of the kind of reporting that is not often done in hip-hop journalism (Zino and Mays' rants in The Source don't count), and even less so in hip-hop scholarship (with the exception of Norman Kelley's essential book Rhythm & Business). It's a rare story that gets behind the shine into the gritty, often exploitative core of the economy of hip-hop.

The context for the piece is the convergence of media consolidation and the professionalization of hip-hop careers. Media consolidation drives bigger demands on the bottom line while raising the price of the music. Fewer artists get huger budgets. Is making pop like making fast food? Although an army of good and bad music critics will tell you otherwise (and sometimes they'll be right), the economic truth is that IT IS: CDs. Hamburgers. Product.

At the same time, media consolidation has gutted the staffs of big companies. (All the old school Neo-Marxists in the house say: 'Contradiction'!) So people like Dre, 50, and T.I. are more than just the talent these days. They have supplanted the A & R and management apparatuses in the business. Leeds' subtext is clear: There's so much money on the line that Governor cannot afford not to be married to some mob.

Usually we count this as a positive (see: the ascension of Jay-Z). But for someone like Governor, it's a mixed bag...or worse. Now that headz write the checks, is it time to start talking about Record Industry Rule Number 4081?

Here's a teaser:

"...record labels in recent years have made a point of introducing new, little-known acts as proteges of established stars. In some cases the two musicians might have grown up on the same block. Or perhaps they had shared the struggle of performing in the same unknown group. Either way, it's a rich backstory that can be woven into any future marketing effort.

But what if the new singer doesn't have any long-lost pals who've gone platinum?

For an increasingly desperate industry, that is but a minor obstacle. These days, label executives routinely shop their new prospects around from one star to another, trying to convince them to act as a mentor. Then the newcomer is marketed as a devotee, or a card-carrying member of the star's 'camp.'"

Click here for the entire Happy Meal...

posted by Zentronix @ 4:14 PM   1 comments links to this post


At 11/30/05, 7:15 AM, Blogger ronnie brown said...

consolidation of resources has been goin' on long before Marx stumbled upon the principle...too many cooks have always spoiled the broth...whether it's food or new artist development...

piggybackin' on a rappers vapors is just plain LAZY. Whatever happened to creating an INDIVIDUAL identity for an artist based on his or her UNIQUE talent?


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link


Previous posts
Feds To Benzino: Show Us The Money
The Voice's Aina Hunter on The Source
Davey D & Snoop Dogg On Tookie
I'm A Little Rootkit / Google World Order
Still Recovering From Hurricane Meters
1959 Was Their 1989: West Oakland's R & B Scene In...
"Young voters led surge in 2004 election"...Uh, Du...
Garrett Caples on Mac Dre's Death and Life
Photo Benefit For NOLA Musicians
Hip-Hop Activism Looks Back and Ahead

select * from pages where handle = "BlogLinks" #content#

June 2002
July 2002
August 2002
September 2002
October 2002
November 2002
December 2002
January 2003
February 2003
March 2003
April 2003
May 2003
June 2003
July 2003
August 2003
September 2003
October 2003
November 2003
December 2003
January 2004
February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009

Email list

Add me to the Can't Stop Won't Stop email list, an irregular update of what's new in our world: