The other day some guy came up to me and asked how I felt about rap music. He said that the lyrics in these tunes are hardly ever positive and that he felt they were a negative influence on our youth. He wanted my personal opinion (and we all know I have plenty of those) so I gave it to him. First, I said that you have to go beneath the surface when it comes to anything that is popular. Most fads, styles and promotions are driven by the concept of “making money.” As bad as you may think rap music may be, it won’t make a difference what you think if people continue to support it by buying it. While it would be great for rap music to promote more “positivity in the songs” the labels only care about making profit. I did manage to tell him that however, the industry will “follow the leader.” In other words, if he could come up with a new positive rap lyric song and it sells somehow, then those other labels will take notice and most likely “follow suit.” I also told him that the state of most current popular music has been dwindling as well. A lot of those big name record labels from back in the day are gone now. The few big labels that are left are putting out “cheap sounding music product” and depending more on marketing to sell it. What this means is that they are hoping that their marketing strategy will make “any song they promote” a big hit (and a profitable one) no matter how horrible it is. This concept costs a lot, which is why the radio industry is in the toilet now. The music you hear on most of the big conglomerate radio stations is basically music that is easy (and cheap) for them to produce. The quality doesn’t matter to them anymore because they figure the young market will buy it “as it is.” The real question is whether or not they are making any profit doing so. It costs a lot of money to promote your song, and since most of the younger generations don’t buy CD’s anymore then rarely does anyone sell enough to make a big splash financially. Remember the old days when you could buy someone’s CD for around $10.00? The days of Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston are gone, and what’s left is a trail of “watered down” product that is not worthy. Often you will hear reports that a certain song sold “millions” when it was first introduced. Don’t believe everything that you hear. If these songs were selling, then why have all these labels “folded?” The real money comes from doing concerts and not from music sales. Currently the music industry is on “life support” and in need of a blood transfusion. The radio giants are motivated by money. They need us in order to make it. If the majority of radio listeners don’t like the music then the best way to make a change is to “not support it.” That concept works with just about anything. I told the guy that rap music is “only as bad as it’s support.” There is strength in numbers and through a unified effort we can bring the music industry back to where it should be. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
David Banner, Ciara, Vickie Winans, The Williams Brothers, Chuck Brown, Janet Jackson, James Ingram, Yolanda Adams (with Brett Jolly to the right on bass)