Music is Music, regardless of color right?
The Music Industry has always been a special place. Depending on what side you are on, your perspective of the ‘Industry’ can be different. Whether you are a true music lover buying music or on the other side working at the record companies and radio stations promoting and playing the music..or on the third side, just an artist trying to stay in the game..’The Industry’ can leave you wondering.. “what is going on?”
No song spent more time atop the Billboard Hot 100 last year than Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” which logged 12 weeks at No. 1 and set the all-time record for radio audience when it reached 229 million listeners in a week. It did so by tapping the sound of classic R&B. 2013 was also a year that didn’t have a single black artist top the Hot 100 as a lead performer – the first time that’s happened in the chart’s 55-year history.
Jeff Robinson, president-CEO of MBK Entertainment. Robinson helped guide Alicia Keys to stardom and helms the careers of R&B singer-songwriters K. Michelle and Elle Varner. He says it was tough to break an R&B artist in 2001, when Keys’ debut album, Songs in A Minor, hit No. 1, and it’s even tougher now. “With radio all playing the same songs by the same artists it’s difficult to break through,“
It’s “killing our culture,” laments the head of one indie label. “We’re hitting a glass ceiling with such limited exposure.” R&B industry executives and managers worry that the genre, like jazz before it, will continue to shrink in exposure and audience. Others say the music simply isn’t strong enough right now..
Sebastien Elkouby, a Hip Hop Culture historian (former publicist for KRS-1) and freelance writer, recently published a ‘satirical letter’ to Black Artists addressing the concern.. and it has kind of struck a nerve with many people in the music industry.
Below is the first part of the letter. Check it out. Remember it is only a satire.
Notice To Black Artists: Your Services Are No Longer Needed
Dear Black Artists,
We regret to inform you that the need for your services will soon come to an end as we enter a critical restructuring period. Fortunately, after having spent nearly a century meticulously studying your art, language, fashion, and lifestyle, we have learned enough to confidently move forward without your assistance. We thank you for your contributions but have decided to make some necessary changes as a result of your decreasing value. Focus groups show that consumers are looking for more relatable images. While 2013 marked the first time in Billboard’s 55 year history that there were no black artists on the Hot 100 chart, this was a great year for us with Justin Timberlake, Robin Thicke, and Macklemore claiming the #1 spot on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart, proving that market demands are shifting. Consequently, in the next few months, we will be gradually phasing out your positions as we finalize this reorganization. In the meantime, we ask you to continue with business as usual, training your replacements Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber until instructed otherwise.
Your severance package includes a lifetime supply of Air Jordans, unlimited access to reruns of “Love and Hip Hop”, a new 30 piece Tom Ford wardrobe, and the latest iPhone. Your medical coverage will be provided through ObamaCare.
We want you to know that your termination is in no way a statement about the quality of your work with us. As such, we would like to acknowledge your outstanding contributions to the industry over the past decades.
In business, Jay Z’s partnership with Samsung was historical as the Korean mobile company paid the rapper a mere $5 million and his company Roc Nation, another $15 million, a bargain deal relative to their standard annual $4 billion marketing budget and $220 billion net worth.
In fashion, while Kanye West may be experiencing difficulties launching his own brand, his loyalty to European designers continues to add value to an already thriving industry that other entertainers like Migos seem to enjoy promoting for free.