by Brian Solis
Rapper 50 Cent dropped a bomb, and some knowledge, prior to taking the stage recently. He granted a short, rare interview with TorrentFreak, where he shared his views on the music industry and how its wrestling with music fans in the digital era.
“What is important for the music industry to understand is that this really doesn`t hurt the artists!”
- 50 Cent
Pål asked 50 Cent: “How are G-Unit Records doing in these times of file-sharing?”
50 Cent responded, “Not so good. The advances in technology impacts everyone, and we all must adapt. Most of all hip-hop, a style of music dependent upon a youthful audience. This market consists of individuals embracing innovations faster than the fans of classical and jazz music.
A young fan may be just as devout and dedicated no matter if he bought it or stole it.
The concerts are crowded and the industry must understand that they have to manage all the 360 degrees around an artist. They, (the industry), have to maximize their income from concerts and merchandise. It is the only way they can get their marketing money back.
The main problem is that the artists are not getting as much help developing as before file-sharing. They are now learning to peddle ringtones, not records. They don’t understand the value of a perfect piece of art.”
Quite honestly, he isn’t the first to say it, but his words will reverberate within the hallways of the music business.
He’s right. How can you even argue with that assessment?
Artists may be losing some money through illegal downloads and file sharing, but it isn’t the only way artists, and music companies, can make money these days.
Madonna’s recent deal with a promotion company and RadioHead’s experiment with online music distribution are representative of how certain artists are embracing new strategies for monetizing their work.
Not all music fans are equal, and as 50 Cent calls it, the younger generation is already consuming and sharing music in ways that older demographics can’t understand. From Jazz to Hip Hop, the music infrastructure must be built and managed differently according to how different genres people discover, purchase, and share content. It’s not just about CDs and ringtones, it’s about embracing a digital and promotion strategy that spends less time and money fighting a war they can’t win and instead channel that energy and financial support to helping artists navigate these evolutionary times in ways that help all, not just the a-list, succeed.