Internet taking the Power from the Corporations

    In earlier posts I talked about the record labels controlling what is being put out and making meaningless music, but the internet has slowly changed this process. The internet has allowed the voice of the people to be heard and change the music being played now. An example of this is J. Cole who has been defying the trend and putting out music that really touches upon real life struggles. J. Cole spent 2 years obtaining a loyal fan base through free music in the form of mixtapes over the internet. After 2 years when he had a following strong enough he dropped his album and it paid off. The album delays also happened because the labels believe J.Cole did not have the single to sell well, but eventually they let him drop the album and it proved all of the critics wrong. This has opened new doors in rap for artist like Kendrick Lamar who are even more political to have their chance to put out their music.

“Tell me why mamma do you cry
Is it cause you know my teacher be feeding me lies
Is it cause you know that Preacher is greedy inside
Cause racism is alive I see the disguise
Mamma I know it hurts
It hurts me to watch you go to work barely hanging on
Some rich man getting richer while you slaving for him”-J.Cole

Kendrick Lamar is another rapper who speaks about politics and struggles in his music and does not water down his music. He took a little bit of a different approach than J.Cole by not signing with any record labels and selling his album on itunes with no official in store copy. Kendrick Lamar refused to sign with labels until he had the power in his hands. He recently signed with Interscope records and has said he does not believe it will affect his creativity because they wanted him more than he wanted them, which allowed him to have the control. Now he is capable of making an album with the record labels behind him without affecting his message.

“Every day we fight the system, just to make our way
We been down for too long but that’s alright
We was built to be strong cause it’s our life, na-na-na
Every day we fight the system, we fight the system
We fight the system (Never like the system)
We been down for too long but that’s alright, na-na-na” Hiiipower- Kendrick Lamar

While these artists have made huge changes to the music industry it was only made possible by the fans and the people. We needed to step up and make a change against these corporations and show them that we will not support the music they were putting out and we deserved better quality than this. I also think fans of the music industry realized they do have the power to make changes and really affect these power hungry corporations and at the end of the day it is up to us to say enough, this is what we want. This does not just apply to music, but to everything in the country and we can make a change when we work together and stand up for what we believe in.

By fumbleprone

Power at the Top

Many people wonder why the music industry has changed so much and why rap has lost all of its meaning and political values, well the answer is the corporations that own it. In 1996 the telecommunications act allowed for deregulation. This removed the many rules that did not allow the media to be owned by only a few corporations. This was passed thinking that competition would allow for more diversity and be better for the people; this was completely wrong and did just the opposite. Deregulation allowed for the top four corporations to to buy out all the music being put out and decrease the diversity in the industry.

With the music industry being owned by a few, the radio stations lost complete control of what they could play  over the radio. Many DJs are forced to have certain playlists that include the songs that the record labels want to play. No longer was it the DJs who would play music that they thought was good no matter who it was, but rather just a playlist of meaningless songs that would force the listeners to hear the same song 20 times a day. Now how many corporations really own the music industry? It is four corporations; Sony Music entertainment, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and EMI Group; four companies control the entire music industry in the United States.These companies having so much power do not want to invest in a different style of music because it is too much of a risk when it comes to money. With the internet preventing people from actually buying music now, record labels will only put out music that they know will make money and has a good chance of succeeding. If an artist fails at first, record labels are more likely to drop them right away than they would have in the past. Many artists who failed at first then became successful later on would not have had those chances today, for example Bruce Sprinsteen.

What is also amazing about these record labels are how far down the ladder that they
control. The big corporations not only own the record labels, but they own the music stores, the radio stations, movie studios, and more. These corporations can take one of their songs and use it for a video game, movie, or a TV show. This is called synergy, where the corporations can completely control how much their product is used and shown by combining one aspect of media with another to reach a bigger audience. With so much power in the hands of a few we cannot expect artists to have freedom of their music even if they wanted to, but the internet is slowly changing this for the better and I think the people will continue to stand up and allow for real music to be brought into the mainstream world.

By fumbleprone
Aside

Rap began speaking out on the true struggles of everyday life. It had a purpose in music and that was to open the eyes of its listeners and start a movement. Rap was a form of art that would paint images in the listeners mind using witty rhymes backed with fast paced beats. With the emergence of rap came a new untapped market for big corporations to make profit off. This changed the entire meaning of rap. While rap showed pictures of poverty and the urban life, it was showing it in a negative way trying to show the struggle of the urban community. This changed as rap began to become more mainstream. As the record labels obtained more power the rap artist themselves lost their power, which was creativity.In order for rap artists to get signed they had to start rapping about being a “gangsta” and violence. This took away all the creativity that made rap popular in the first place. Now it was not about politics, the poor, and change; it was about sex, money, and violence.

  The era of just sex, violence, and money was the era of rap music I started to listen to and it was all I knew. While Eminem did rap about other things like politics and stuff at the time I was too young to understand it and his raps were very violent. I grew up listening to 50 Cent, Nelly, and so on where every lyric and video had degraded women or guns. Everyone’s music and music videos all looked alike with nothing, but meaningless lyrics. The rappers at this time seemed more like actors than they did musicians. They had this image of hyperviolent manhood that they had to portray at all times. While this seemed like the downfall of rap music from a creative standpoint the internet came in to change this, which is where we are today.

With the internet being the main source of music today, things are beginning to change. While it is a negative that people are not buying full albums anymore and now the labels want to just push out singles; the positive is that a rapper can survive with out a record label. Artists are now getting more fame through the internet before they are even signed and it is giving them more power when it comes to the chess game with the record label.

New artists that are doing this are J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar. While rap is not completely changing, artist like these are starting to get more fame without having to change what they are rapping about. People are now uniting and stepping up to make rap with meaning more successful again. J.Cole sold 200,000 copies the first without having a number one single. When I went to Target and Best Buy to buy his album the employees told me they were shocked and that they were not ready for this. They were expecting him to sell around the 60,000 range. This was only made possible by the loyal fans that supported him and went to buy his album to show the record labels that the people do want to listen to more meaningful music.

Rap Slowly Changing for the Better

By fumbleprone

Reviewing blogs: What works and What Doesn’t

     I went through three blogs trying to find out what about them attracts viewers. I realized that before I could even get to the blog, a title that could lure me in was very important. The way I chose which blogs to look over were the ones that had posts that sounded interesting. While the title might bring me to the blog the design, layout, and substance is needed to keep me on the site and reading the article. One thing I noticed is the designs are very welcoming and colorful. A good example making a very nice blog without over doing it is HipHopDx. The background image is used as a border around the entire frame, while the inside is just a plain white. The background image is huge because it would look very boring without it, also the font used is simple but very reader friendly. Another key component is the blogger backed up his writing with a full interview video for the reader if they wish to see more on the subject. 

     While killerhiphop does get right to the point I think it would benefit from writing a little more information before posting just the video to the blog. When you first get to the website it is very well presented and then when you scroll down it just looks empty and plain.  The final blog that I looked at blogamole used a lot more colors than the other two, but used it very well. To prevent the colors being too much the blogger used a dark and bright colored purple for the border and making a very light faded purple where the writing was so the colors did not conflict. After viewing these three blogs I feel like I have a better understanding on what a reader wants to see.  

By fumbleprone

Annotated Bibliography

Overview: I want to show how record labels are preventing rappers from speaking their mind. When rap first came around it had very deep meanings from poverty and the hard life to politics, but now has gone to just drugs, sex, and violence. While the record labels are still in control I want to discuss how newer rappers are slowly trying to break the mold and are speaking up about true problems in this country. They also are not doing it alone, thanks to the fans new artist like J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar are selling records by speaking about real life struggles.

Blair, M.E., & Hatala, M.N. (1992). The use of rap music in

children’s advertising. Advances in Consumer Research, 19.

The argument being made is based on the affects advertisers

have on young African Americans. This is very helpful in

showing how advertisers use music that is popular to a certain

demographic and flip it to their advantage.

Blevins, J.L. (2002). Source diversity after the

telecommunications act of 1996. Television New Media,3.

Shows how the act passed in 1996 has made diversity in music

decrease. Shows that with deruglation less companies own

more music and the diversity is becoming slimmer. This is

very helpful in showing how these big corporations are

having more control of of music which allows them to do

what they want with the music or artist they own. They can

use the music or artist as marketing tools to sell a different

product of the corporation

Denisoff, R.S., & Plasketes, G. (1990). Synergy in 1980s film

and music: formula for success or industry mythology?. Film

  History, 4(3), This article talks about how film and music

will promote on product at the same time. This helps with

explaining how advertisers are trying to do anything to find a

way to have their product be heard or seen by the mass

audience without people even realizing it.

Kaufman, Gil. (2003, June 3). Push the courvoisier: are rappers

paid for product placement? being mentioned in the right song

can spell big profits for drinks, cars and sneakers. MTV

  Music, Retrieved from

http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1472393/rappers-paid-

product-placement.jhtml

Harling, D. (n.d.). Kendrick lamar speaks on top dawg entertainment’s deal with interscope records Hiphop Dx, Retrieved from http://www.hiphopdx.com/index/news/id.19218/title.kendrick-lamar-speaks-on-top-dawg-entertainments-deal-with-interscope-records.

Kendrick Lamar explains how he tried to become successful before he signed to a major label so he could keep the power in his hands, allowing him to use his full creativity.

Hilliard, S. (2011, March 9). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://blogamole.tr3s.com/2011/03/09/lupe-fiasco-disappointed-with-latest-album-‘lasers’/

Lupe discusses his highly anticipated album. He talks about how he had no control over what songs were on the album and that the label had the last say.

Cole, J. L. (Artist) (2008). Lost ones [Web]. Retrieved from            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-vQ_VsTkn0&ob=av2e

This music video is based on the songs Lost ones by J. Cole where he discusses a young couple who have a baby coming along. This shows how artists today who are becoming successful are starting to breakthrough.

Cole, J. (Artist) (2011). J. cole advice for college students(live- hob) [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTMP7Ci4Qbo

J. Cole giving advice to college students, touching on student debt and graduation at a live concert.

Horowitz, S. J. (2011, July 01). Kendrick lamar speaks on the meaning behind “hiiipower,” working with j. cole. HipHop Dx, Retrieved from http://www.hiphopdx.com/index/news/id.15795/title.kendrick-lamar-speaks-on-the-meaning-behind-hiiipower-working-with-j-cole

Kendrick Lamar speaks about the meaning of his single Hiiipower. In this article he is explaining how we can make the world a better place.

Jurgensen, J. (2010, October 21). Just asking: Decoding jay-z. The Wall Street Journal, Retrieved from http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304023804575566644176961542.html

Jayz talks about his book that he wrote explaining his lyrics. He also discusses how the things he use to say in his  songs were animal like and couldn’t believe he said those things.

Lynch, S. J. (2012, February 12). Exclusive: Kendrick lamar on his political views. The Source, Retrieved from http://www.thesource.com/articles/201708/Exclusive:-Kendrick-Lamar-On-His-Political-Views/230/Features?thesource-prod=4eh77e68gcnddnn5rp19micv15

Kendrick Lamar is discussing his views on politics and when he started to follow it.

TheGrio. (2010, June 14). Slideshow: The top 20 political rap songs. TheGrio, Retrieved from http://www.thegrio.com/specials/hip-hop-politics-from-the-beat-to-the-ballot/top-20-best-political-hip-hop-songs-in-no-certain-order.php

A slideshow showing the 20 most political rap songs ever. It is not a coincidence most the songs on the list were older songs.

Vazquez, A. (2011, October 26). J. cole speaks on kanye west, feels he’s helped kendrick lamar & big k.r.i.t. HipHop Dx, Retrieved from http://www.jcolenation.com/forum/f4/j-cole-speaks-kanye-west-feels-hes-helped-kendrick-lamar-big-k-r-i-t-1903.html

J. Cole talks about the delay on his album because the label wanted to put out that hit commercial single.

Carnelus, J. (2011, March 29). Rapper lupe fiasco talks ‘lasers,’ and being labeled ‘socially conscious’ with the hilltop The Hilltop, Retrieved from http://www.thehilltoponline.com/life-style/rapper-lupe-fiasco-talks-lasers-and-being-labeled-socially-conscious-with-the-hilltop-1.2524734

Lupe Fiasco talks about the message he tries to put out in his music. Explains how we have to spread a positive message in order to grow as a society.

By fumbleprone