Declining Record Sales and the Threat to Hip Hop

For rock, pop and country singers, the decline in record sales has really hurt the bottom line, But at least these artists can get out and play more gigs to help make up the shortfall. Hip hop artists, not so much.

Most hip hop performers have relied more on music sales than those in other genres. Outside of a few exceptions (Jay Z, Eminem, Kanye, Drake, etc.) , hip hop stars can’t go on big arena tours because the market just isn’t there.  So what’s a hip hopper to do?  The Washington Post takes a look.

From a strictly major-label perspective, this year’s rap offerings haven’t just been underwhelming, they’ve been almost nonexistent. Just a generation ago, major-label rap albums dominated release calendars, racked up millions in sales and were the home of many genre classics.

With music streaming cannibalizing record sales and leaving them at historic lows, the format and the industry itself are in a period of transition. Ten months into the year, not a single album has gone platinum (Taylor Swift’s “1989” might soon change that), and the music business has gravitated toward a risk-averse Hollywood blockbuster model. Now a few tent-pole releases dominate marketing attention and resources for an entire year.

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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