One Label Controls Almost All of Hip-Hop, and That's a Problem

Categories: Hip-Hop


But is there any hope for change? Absolutely. The top two singles of 2013, "Thrift Shop" and "Can't Hold Us," were from Macklemore, an independent artist. When you consider Mac Miller, Danny Brown and Tech N9ne, all independent from the Big Three, it is clear that there are avenues to success that don't go through the major music labels. Tech N9ne is somewhat of an anomaly, a force of nature that's been able to successfully promote himself for years before the online revolution, but the key to breaking the musical monopoly right now is the Internet.

When you look at the breakout artists of 2013 -- Chief Keef, Chance the Rapper, A$AP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar, among others -- they had all gained significant traction before being signed to a major label. Nelly weighed in on Chief Keef's situation in particular, suggesting that Keef may have been better off staying unsigned and keeping control of his music. When Nelly was dropping "Hot Shit," that option was not available; rappers couldn't just put their videos up on MTV and hope for people to listen. With the Internet, they can expose themselves to an audience potentially larger than MTV's.

Universal Music Group has within its grasp our collective artistic future and, through that, a straight shot to our souls. We apply antitrust law to telephone and computer companies but refuse to apply it to our music. Our priorities as a nation are clear, and it is obvious that if there will be change in the hip-hop business model, it will have to come from within.

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15 comments
Sherry Somervell Peck
Sherry Somervell Peck

I have other things to worry about. I'm glad I can get all my hip hop at a one stop shop. Saves time.

George Cameron
George Cameron

An excellent point, music editor, but the people might be saying that "all rap sucks" because they don't like rap. It's okay for people to just not like something altogether. How many different ways do people have to eat sushi before they're allowed to decide they don't like it?

Ayasha Letrice Mims
Ayasha Letrice Mims

Thank you, Riverfront Times for driving home the thesis of your article. I'm assuming that none of these trolls actually read the piece or they just have poor reading comprehension. Either way...

Riverfront Times
Riverfront Times

You guys, did you not consider that maybe this is the reason your opinion of rap and hip-hop is so low? To say "All rap sucks" is like saying "All rock sucks." It is an exceptionally varied genre of music, and it is getting filtered to your ears through ONE record label that has what amounts to a monopoly. Maybe you just don't like that label's brand of rap? Something to consider. --Daniel Hill, music editor

James Harris
James Harris

Until a label can come down to my pad and turn off my drums, or go down to my friend's place and shut down his studio, or any of a billion other places where people make music that will never come near a major, as far as I'm concerned they can drive themselves off a big ass cliff and we'll keep doing whatever it is we do.

Michael Wall
Michael Wall

Hip hop is polished trash. Last time I checked, you can't polish a piece of shit.

fredbeelman
fredbeelman

Rap is crap...don't get it just like I don't get

Sagging pant s showing your stinking. Boxers... Ha!@! How can a woman find that attractive????

Matt Burkey
Matt Burkey

worried? the world would be better off with rap music & mtv rotting in hell:)

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