Friday, June 03, 2005

yo! pbs raps

So the current topic of the Progressive Blogger Union is media reform. I'm not sure how much I have to say about it. I occasionally think about the negative impacts that certain business considerations have on the music which is produced these days. Why it happens isn't all that deep or difficult to understand. The purpose of the music industry isn't to produce high-quality innovative music or promote creative talented artists. The purpose of the music industry is to sell product and make a profit. And given the amount of money it costs to promote an artist (advertising, record distribution, etc.) the industry would prefer not to take risks. So that's why we get mostly boy bands, Britney-clones and Puffy.

Somehow we need to strengthen other mechanisms for promoting and distributing music which would mitigate these forces. File-sharing on computers is one move towards a solution. So is the growing ease of burning and reproducing CDs. Perhaps motivated individuals could also use public access cable stations to provide an free, less commercial alternative to eMpTyV.

In Cuba, many hip-hop groups actually receive a certain amount of support from the government (there is a Cuban Rap Agency). Perhaps in a different world there might be away for "underground" or "alternative" hip-hop groups in the US to attract funding and support based on creativity artistic merit instead of being based on the capcity to attract the dollars of suburban teenagers who want to live out romanticized ghetto fantasies.

Unfortunately by the time that hip-hop (like jazz and blues before it) has become respectable enough that those who play it are considered suitable for government funding, the culture will probably have moved on to something new.

Industry Rule 4080: Record company people are shady
- Q-Tip, "Check the Rhyme"

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