Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Real Talk Wit Raze: Ask Not What Your Emcee Can Do For You...
I'm absolutely positive that this post will offend a good number of you.
And it SHOULD. Because that's the point.
Your "fan fare" is offensive. It's pitiful and insulting that some of you have the nerve to refer to yourselves as "supporters" of indie music. Simply put...
YOUR SUPPORT ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH.
I've heard/read a more than a enough people on the inet and at shows (ironically enough) make statements similar to...
"dudes kill me talking that bullsh*t about buying dudes album to support....man look, just rocking the music is support enough...no need to cough up your doe, when u can get it, 5 finger discount, and play the same shit as if u paid for it.."
Yes, you read that right. And the scary part is, this is a far more popular way of thinking than many of you may realize. We live in an era where music has become a Disposable Art. Partially, because so many people are MAKING music and fewer people are FANS of music. And also, because everything is a few free clicks away for even a marginally internet savvy person. I mean, who WOULDN'T wanna just cop the album or songs for free when you so easily can?
But that's not my only gripe either. For the most part, I don't really mind people bootlegging major label releases because the artists don't really see much of anything off those sales anyway. My problem, is people iJacking INDIE artists and more importantly not supporting by going to SHOWS.
Most artists, whether local or touring, make the bulk of their income by creating the music you love (whether you love Wacka Flocka or The Roots or "MC _____ from your city") by performing. And while some people simply aren't into the live performance thing, "just rocking the music..." is NOT support enough.
While reposting links to songs and videos is a phenomenal way to help support a particular artist's momentum and popularity growth, it doesn't stop there. It shouldn't stop there. Ultimately, clicks, views and listens don't PAY BILLS.
Yeah, I know..."The economy is f*cked up" blah, blah....BLAH. And before someone replies, YES, I am an artist. But this isn't just about me. Nor is it just about hip hop. A lot of folks CLAIM they're supporters of certain artists I personally know, but NEVER come to shows and ALWAYS have their hands out for free copies of the next releases. Then pass them around to friends. For free. KNOWING the album is for sale on CD Baby or iTunes. Hell, they even go as far as burning MULTIPLE copies of the music. While this MAY be in good intentions, really it's disrespectful to the hours, days, months and years (sometimes) of work that artists put into making that "dope album" you're passing around. If you're not gonna buy a CD to support with $5 or $10 to show appreciation, at LEAST go to a show or two and actually PAY to get in.
At the early building levels of being an indie artist, believe it or not, EVERY dollar means something. From paying the Dj to the Venue, to the security, to the sound man and THEN hoping you have some money left over to pay for your CD getting pressed up...it's a helluva investment to make, just for a "homie" or family member to ask to be "V.I.P." or "on the list at the door".
Simply put, if you're not contributing monetarily to your artists of choice, YOU'RE NOT SUPPORTING. You may be contributing to their stock in the popularity contest aspect of the music business, but you're not contributing to them being able to get bigger and better. Which I assume is where you're hoping those popularity points will eventually get them.
My brother in law owns a semi-pro football team. Every season, while he's walking the sidelines, I KNOW in his mind he's thinkin about TICKET SALES for that week's game. Why? Because if tickets don't sell, HE has to pay the field maintenance, the announcers, the refs, etc. Its the same business model as putting together a show, but just a different type of performance.
I could go on forever about this topic and get more in depth, and gladly will if so requested. But my goal here is to hopefully solicit some self reflection from those of you this applies to. Are you REALLY a fan? Because if you ARE, you aren't showing it in a way an artist REALLY can appreciate.
Sure it's nice being told you're dope, but it's a whole 'nother thing being shown you're so dope I wanna help keep your lights on so you can continue to be and make dope ish.