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AUSTIN, TX, United States
a lot of MUSIC, FREEDOM, CULTURE and a little of everything else

Wednesday, February 20, 2013



Social networks like Facebook oftentimes switch shit up on you whenever they feel like it. And it sucks that you’re powerless to do anything about it. These changes can have huge effects on your marketing and promotional strategy. Recently, this is exactly what Facebook did with their Pages. Facebook is now restricting your posts from reaching the majority of your fans because they’d like you to pay for that reach.

You’ve probably already noticed that lately the number of fans seeing your Facebook page updates has decreased tremendously. Now, depending on how much you’re willing to spend, you can reach a larger percentage of them. I have almost 6,700 fans on IndieHIpHop’s Facebook page. When I post an update, I’m lucky if it reaches 15% of them. It would cost me 20 bucks an update just to reach half of those people. I have no problem with paying for something that I feel is a valuable. But I question whether or not this kind of investment has any longterm benefits.

The folks at Facebook have the right to do whatever the hell they want to do with their platform, provided it’s legal. Those of us who have opted into their network, don’t pay for the basic service of it, so it’s useless to complain when they blindside you with changes. And they have a long history of doing that. Facebook has gradually made it more difficult to directly communicate the those who voluntarily become fans of your page. It must be very disappointing to those who have paid to increase their Facebook fan numbers only to have them become unreachable.

The way to avoid being negatively affected by these ever-changing social networks is to not put all of your eggs in one basket. Their popularity will come and go. If you’re using one that’s working for you at the moment, continue, but start thinking about how you’d connect with those fans if that social network were to suddenly shut down.

Right now, creating an email list of your most loyal fans seems to be the only way that you can be sure to stay connected with them when social networks become ineffective. So maybe all of the energy and effort artists spend asking people to “follow” them or “like” their page, should be replaced with asking them for their email addresses

Monday, February 4, 2013

9th Wonder Explains Black Colleges' Failure To Embrace Hip Hop History


Exclusive: The Harvard Fellow readies the first New York City installment of 95 Live, a four hour dedication to music made before 1995.

Grammy-winning producer 9th Wonder brings his music and cultural celebration, 95 Live, to New York City’s MIST Harlem tonight (February 1). Featuring guests Statik Selektah and Hot 97’s Peter Rosenberg, 95 Live is a four-hour dedication to music made prior to 1995.

In describing the difference between music produced before and after 1995, 9th explained to HipHopDX that pre-1995 tracks prominently featured bass drums or a thick bass line—creating a sound that is often referred to as the “bottom.”

“Pre-1995, everything was all about the bottom; all about having the boom behind it,” said 9th. “It was more than just the 808s. Early 1980s and mid-1980s music was mastered way louder. If you listened to ‘It’s Like That’ by Run-DMC, the whole record is really turned up as opposed to how it’s mastered [now]. But it’s not as kicking and hitting as hard as those old Run-DMC breaks.”

9th Wonder was accepted into Harvard University’s prestigious Harvard Fellows program in March of 2012. The North Carolina-native will teach a class on the history of Hip Hop as well as complete a research project entitled “These Are The Breaks” where he will examine the original records sampled on his ten favorite albums, including Nas’ Illmatic, Jay-Z’s The Blueprint, and The Minstrel Show—which he produced as a member of Little Brother.

When asked if he is surprised by higher academia’s embrace of Hip Hop culture, 9th shared that he’s more surprised that historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have yet to show the same acceptance.

“It’s incredible to me that they don’t study [Hip Hop] at every Black college,” he said “I think that it’s just a sign of the times, man. It happened with Jazz. Jazz was studied somewhere else first. African-American studies was studied somewhere else first. At some point we have to break that cycle. There are some: Florida A&M, North Carolina A&T State University. And then you have some that don’t want that because they think that we’re gonna teach about what happened on BET last night.”

9th also believes a generational divide between staff and students is part of the reason there is a dearth of Hip Hop history courses on HBCU campuses. While he began his professorial career as an Artist-In-Residence teaching Hip Hop history at his alma mater North Carolina Central University—where Little Brother was founded—the program was cancelled after only three years.

“They felt like the budget [wasn’t there] or that [the course] didn’t serve a purpose or whatever it was, but they stopped it,” 9th tells DX. “After that I went to Duke [University]."

He continued: “We try at our historically Black colleges to make those strides and be first at things and be frontrunners but it’s tough because you’re dealing with three generations of people. You’re dealing with us: The 38-year olds. Then you’re dealing with the 18-year olds and then you’re dealing with the 60-year olds who run these colleges. All of that together is a tough communication to get going.”

95 Live was first created by one of 9th’s fellow Universal Zulu Nation members, Roman Castro. With Castro’s consent, 9th extended the brand into a bi-monthly party held in North Carolina. Previous special guests include DJ Premier, Erykah Badu, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, among others.

“For four hours we don’t play anything past 1995,” said the North Carolina-native. “We tried to go to 2000, but that’s just a little bit too far. It’s not only Hip Hop. It’s R&B, Reggae—just celebrating that time of culture of music.” Tonight is 95 Live’s first New York City installment and is presented in conjunction with The High End Agency and includes a visual presentation by UpNorthTrips.com. On Wednesday, February 6, 9th will present his research findings at Harvard University’s Barker Center at 12PM.

Friday, February 1, 2013


WRITTEN AND POSTED TO RAPREHAB.COM BY Brianna DeMayo, Artist Development/Marketing

Monetize Your Movement

Remember, the ultimate goal is to be able to make a living by doing what you love. In order for that to happen you need to make sales. You have to earn an income. You have to be able to get people to buy into your product - whether it be through selling your music, booking shows, selling merchandise etc. And here’s the best part – you don’t need a label in order to do this! As a matter of fact, if you are already making money off of your music, shows, and merchandise, it will be much easier for you to get that record deal that you are longing for (and you will have much more of a say as to how that deal pans out).

There are a few basic concepts that drive a sale regardless of what you’re selling.

Below are some main things to remember when making music and coming up with your marketing plan and technique.

In order for someone to buy into a product/brand there are a few things that have to take place:

They must know the product exists. The product must spark their interest. Both the product and the presentation of the product must be quality. The product must be easily accessible. They must have a clear understanding as to WHY they should buy the product. Now how can you relate all of the above to your music?

Of course, in order for someone to purchase something they must be aware of it. The main way to accomplish this is by marketing and promotion. Your product, which in this case is your music, must be marketed properly in order to get it the exposure that it needs. How can anyone hear and buy your music if they don’t even know it exists?

A good way to spark interest is by putting out a quality product – and by this I mean that both the actual product AND the presentation of your product must be professional. If your music is presented in the right way you shouldn’t have a problem getting a good response from your marketing efforts. This is also the reason why it is so important to figure out your target market – it is much easier to spark someone’s interest if you can relate to them. If you already know a bit about the people that you’re offering your product to, it will be easier to make a sale. For instance, you’re not going to promote a rap record on a country music site (that wouldn’t spark the viewers interest), instead you would promote it on a site likewww.hiphopsince1987.com that targets the hip hop market.

You’re product (music) also needs to be easily accessible. You should have one website (www.yourartistname.com) that ties in all of your other websites (youtube, facebook, twitter, reverbnation etc) that your fans can go to to download your music, see where your next performance will be etc. You can also make it even easier by uploading your music to iTunes, Amazon, etc (I explained a little on how to do this in another recent blog here). You need to make it easy for someone to search for you. People shouldn’t have to take 10 minutes to find you. If you want a flat screen TV from best buy, when you search ‘best buy flat screen’ it will come up immediately. Your music/brand needs to be the same way.

Last but not least, the person needs to have a valid and clear understanding of why they should buy into your product. You need to learn how to seal the deal by taking away any doubts. Before you release anything, you should have already thought to yourself ‘why should someone buy this?’ Understand that this question doesn’t always have to be answered verbally. Part of the answers should be confirmed by both your actions and the product itself – Your great marketing skills, the dope sound of your music, the overall quality of your presentation will all speak for themselves.

In conclusion, it all starts with a quality product, then you seal the deal by presenting yourself properly (making a great first impression) and by building a strong brand. If your fans can see the product, if it is marketed to those that can relate to it, if your presentation is professional and can stand out among the others, you are on your way to making some great sales (if you aren’t already)!