As the landscape of the music industry continues to change, independent hip hop labels seem stronger than ever. The independent game, which takes hip hop back to its roots, is now the new model of success.
Chris Moss of AlLindstrom.com recently spoke with four of the leading business men in the independent hip hop game for a piece called “Independent’s Day”. Looking to get a better view inside the operations of an indie label, Chris Moss spoke with Travis O’Guin of Strange Music, Drew “Dru Ha” Friedman of Duck Down Music, Brent “Siddiq” Sayers of Rhymesayers Ent, and Michael Tolle of Mello Music Group. In part one, the marketing and promotional aspects at the independent level are explored along with the financials behind certain campaigns. Strange Music CEO Travis O’Guin shared several key points in Strange Music’s business plan, including their interaction with radio:
“Are people paying attention to us putting Lil Wayne on a song called ‘F–k Food’? How do you market that to radio? ‘It’s a do what you feel type record, so f–k that!’ Tech told me about the vision of the song. Anyone in the music business would have made this their single. Oh, T-Pain was on the record, too! (laughs). I’m not trying to cash in on this; he’s doing this because Tech is real. There are some good radio stations, but it’s like a ‘boy’s club’ and I’m not in the middle of it. I’m excluded from it. ‘We deal with about 20 stations right now and I really f–k with Reef and the guys at Sirius XM. I wish all radio operated like them.’ Radio is having to restructure because the money is not what it used to be and majors are not what they once were, financially speaking.”
Following Strange Music’s success in 2011, along with several other independent imprints, it’s hard to argue that hip hop’s return to its do-it-yourself roots hasn’t been a victory. “Independent’s Day” proves to be an eye opening read for both fans and aspiring musicians in the indie scene. Stay tuned for part two of “Independent’s Day”!
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