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Hip-Hop Marketing: The Death of The Mixtape

Lyric Batemon
Posted by Lyric Batemon on May 24


In an age of digital economics, everyone knows that it's all about the way in which you market your merchandise that determines its success. Marketing is the strategic way of accumulating more money. You put in what you want in order to get more money. Marketing exists in every aspect of life, one of the most prominent forms of market in the 21st century is through media, specifically music.

Now, imagine that you are a hip-­hop artist that creates music as a form of great art for the public; many hip­-hop/rap artist create productions to give new work to the supporters for free, but the death of mixtape is slowly gaining advocacy from major hip-­hop/rap corporations for the simple fact that they want more profit off of the artist. Indeed there are some artists,according to www.hotnewhiphop.com/mixtapes , who have been patented in hip-hop culture as the "Well Known Kings of Mixtapes" : Gucci Mane, Future and Young Thug. These pioneers routinely release mixtapes to the public, free of charge, to gain a fanbase. These artists went underground and accumulated a following of avid listeners and other artists.

But what about new to the hip­hop/rap game rapper Drake? Drake is well-known for his legendary mixtape “ So Far Gone” which was given completely free to supporters. As Drake transitioned into a mainstream artist , he transformed from being a "pro bono"artist to a businessman. This evolution is most evident in Drake's junior album, “ If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late." However, Drake's masterpiece came at a cost for his supporters- a maneuver that is quite reflective for the music industry today according to www.theverge.com.

The problem with this new fad is that many independent artist and those who choose to release album worthy mixtape tracks do not receive the recognition they deserve financially and ChanceTheRapper is notorious for constructing a mixtape full of album worthy tracks free tothe public, but according to www.xxlmag.com , he just recently expressed his opinion that artist who release music for free should be eligible for their own category in the Grammy’s. Which istrue, artists should be given the respect to be honored for the original music they create and placeon mixtapes,instead of releasing music that is polished and often times appropriated by the music marketing corporations.

Artist now, like Drake, are starting to see the big bucks behind bucking the system of the mixtape code(only give free music). The bigger concern, as it relates to artists who sell their mixtapes for a price, is who are they really making “music” for? If majority of artist that produce mixtapes are being prompted to start selling their mixtapes at a price, will they lose their fanbase? Will artist produce enough revenue to invest into big music marketing
companies like Drake has? Are the marketing companies targeting independent artist that make more than intended profit off of producing free music to the public? What does this new hip-hop marketing strategy mean to an industry that is constructed by predominately black artist,but is funded by marketing companies? Next time you log into www.livemixtapes.com and you’re looking for new tracks from Future, be sure to check and see if a tab prompting “Purchase in iTunes for $9.99” is planted next to the “download” button of Ape Shit.

Lyric Batemon

Written by Lyric Batemon

“It’s Bigger Than Religion;Hip-Hop.”

Topics: Music Marketing

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