The digital age hit music like a freight train. Napster, Pirate Bay and Limewire created me and my especially frugal generation of music listeners with notably high standards. The music industry was not ready for the “Hey, shoot me that link” generation that will ONLY buy your average ass album if they know you – like been to your house know you.
Sure, you got the musicians…
“C’mon bro! Think about how hard MC Such & Such must’ve worked on it”
The Hip Hop Snobs *who won’t go to the club because they are actively avoiding Migos*
“Yea, any real hip-hop head buys the vinyl.”
But the rest of us only buy the album if we really really like the artist. If we don’t know you or don’t care about your music career, generation Y will walk into your studio, connect to your wi-fi and download yo latest (then tweet the link). We want it now, we don’t want to pay for it and it better be all it’s cracked up to be, because we will .gif and meme your hard work into Drake’s DaDa Fiasco.
This is what made Beyonce’s album release so revolutionary and more importantly so refreshing. J. Cole, Drake and now Kendrick Lamar all followed suit with similar nonchalant releases. J. Cole announced Forest Hills Drive three weeks before it was due to be released and with no singles on the radio and hardly any real promotion he sold 370,000 copies in his first week. 2014 Forest Hills Drive debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200.
Drake dropped, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late on a random Thursday night at 10pm. He just tweeted the itunes link. Sure enough, the album (that was supposed to be a mixtape) debuted at no. 1, sold 495,000 copies in three days and was streamed a little over 17 million times just on spotify.
Now we move to Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly which was set to be released on March 23rd. Instead, Kendrick dropped one of the most anticipated albums of 2015 with a link on Twitter.
Did the album sales suffer? Was the marketing campaign thrown off? Did Kendrick lose his crown? NO. Quite the contrary, To Pimp A Butterfly was streamed more than 9.6 million times in 24 hours – breaking a Spotify record.
If your album is good, people will not only notice, but will snapchat themselves singing the chorus – which I hate by the way. So no more shameless plugs, no more Twitter blasts, and please no more Macy Gray.
Jamal Andress is a video journalist by day, which can be frustrating so he (professionally) rants to VSB readers by night. Sorry y'all. Born and bred in Houston, TX, Jamal has been a Midwesterner for longer than he cares to admit.