Ok. This will be my finale in my 3 part series of what makes 90’s Hip-Hop so special. In the previous segment we talked about 2 heavyweight record labels that churned out hit after hit with a uber talented roster stable. Those labels being Bad Boy Records and Deathrow Records. We also discussed the factors that went into composing a unique sound in part 1.
In this segment we will talk about other factors that I think contributed to the scene. One of the biggest being technology and the lack there of during that era. Think about it. The whole model for sales and distribution was totally different pre music streaming services. Music was a tangible physical product. People primarily bought music at stores and outlets such as Sam Goody, The Warehouse and Blockbuster Music. These stores and outlets were filled with CD’s and cassette tapes as inventory which got delivered by trucks. New releases came out every week on Tuesday.
Nowadays music is primarily streamed and not bought. Streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, Tidal and Rhapsody charge a monthly subscription. You don’t even actually need to own or buy the music. Music is a digital medium, the creation of the .mp3 paved the way of digital music compression is the standard format for audio streaming services. This makes music extremely easy to access consume and listen to. You no longer need to take a trip to store or have to wait until Tuesday to access a release. You simply access music on your laptop, desktop or mobile device app. Eeeezy peeeezy.
Technology has also advanced so much that literally anyone with a laptop and some decent programming applications could create and master music, upload it and distribute through the internet for free through various social media outlets. Anyone heard of Justin Bieber? While I don’t necessarily think he is the most talented artist he first came onto the scene and became discovered through his youtube channel. He is now a platinum selling artist and is famous or infamous (lol) world wide. Many of his youtube videos boast for a BILLION views each!! The one below having 1.5 billion. Justin Billion Views Biebs! Damn Daniel!
In the 90’s technology available to make music was not so readily available. In fact it was a huge barrier to entry that only the big record labels really had access to. Labels such as Sony, and Capital Records were known as the machine.
The machine was in charge of grooming, marketing and distributing an artists music. Millions of dollars were spent during this process. The point is that music wasn’t as easily created and those who were creating it had access to breakdown the barriers of entry needed to breakout. While this may have limited the talent pool to individuals that had the right combination of sound, look and charisma I think it also filtered out all the let’s just say…..not as talented.
Not sure if you all agree with me, but I don’t care. It’s my opinion not yours. lol
Enjoy the weekend errryone.