Some of this is common sense, and obviously there are more reasons why pop/r&b/country/gospel/all other genres sell more than rap. But here are 10 specific things I’ve observed and experienced first hand while promoting rap music. Never one to present a problem without offering a solution, I suggest you check out That Retail Chick’s blog. She has years in the hip hop sales game.
Giving It Away for Free
If you want someone to buy the cow, don’t give away the milk for free. This isn’t to say stop providing fans with free downloads/streams every now and then to build anticipation, but there are also other ways to reach your listeners. Why would I buy your album when you’re going to put all the good music out via mixtapes before the record drops like [insert your favorite rapper here]?
Piggy-backing off the above statement, bootleggers and internet pirates (myself not included lol) have a huge impact on record sales. Artists now have to come up with more and more creative ways to get attention for selling albums, especially rap artists. And it wouldn’t hurt to protect your files better smarty.
Rappers Motherfuckin’ Cuss Too God Damn Much Bitch Hoe. Fuck.
I cuss like a sailor, but I wouldn’t want my kids to do as I do. And kids buy music. Adults buy groceries. Oh yeah, quit dropping the n-word every 3 syllables.
See above statement. There are ways to talk about real life situations while still being responsible. On the flipside, sometimes the more shocking the material the more sales, but the masses aren’t going to pay for this. Women buy music guys.
Not to sound like a hip hop bible thumper, but lyrics are washed out these days. I can fully appreciate a song that makes me want to white-girl-shake in the club, but I’m not going to buy an album based off that. It’s like a one night stand – we meet in the club, we have a good time, but I don’t want to take you home forever (this never happened to me btw, hypothetical). There’s only so many times I can listen to songs about cars, jewelry, and levels of splurging unattainable to the average man. Say something real.
Fans are Now “Industry Experts”
My fellow journalist Maurice Garland made a good point when he said there are no fans left because they’re all music industry expert now. Back in the day hip hoppers didn’t care about 1st week album sales, Billboard stats, or how well engineered a rap album is. Have you listened to an old Wu Tang album lately? They sound like they were recorded off a radio station with a tape player, but we didn’t care back then, we still came out of our pocket (or our parents’) for some good music. I’d sneak $10 out of my grandmother’s purse if a new Ghostface tape was dropping. Word is bond Gawd.
Artists are Not “Industry Experts”
It’s not cool when fans know more tricks of the trade than rappers do. My middle school sister can get an album uploaded to iTunes faster than a rapper can turn on an iPod. Know your industry or keep your hobby to yourself.
Poor Management/Label Reps
Following up from the previous reason, artists need to be more educated on label practices and more in touch with their team. There are countless stories of rappers hiring ill intentioned and/or unqualified friends to lead their business ventures. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t heard of many Fortune 500 companies headed by a group of retarded donkeys, yet I’ve met numerous asses representing talented flops.
Rappers Don’t Tour Efficiently
Hopping from no-name city to no-name city in a van with 10 other people, barely sleeping, scraping up food money, praying for a clean place to shower, dealing with janky promoters, all while leaving behind a family with mounting bills is definitely not ideal for any up-coming artist. But it’s a necessary to build rapport with fans. If nobody knows you, who will buy your album? If nobody knows you, who will to pay you $20,000 to perform at an arena? Crawl before you walk.
Rappers Smoke Too Much Weed
Smoking weed leads to poor decisions, slow actions, and many of the above-mentioned issues. It makes you lazy. And it makes you rap dumb. The same goes for “Molly”. You don’t sound good dude, you sound high.
I forgot reason #11: Love and Hip Hop Atlanta
Who’s going to buy a rap album after watching this show?