March 5th, 2007

So I planned to start this week off with an upbeat post and start a theme about how everything that I like is connected in my head in the same way it is in the minds of many other people out there. Then I saw this news story that I’m about to talk about and decided to do that instead. Why? You’ll see.

Last week, Davey-D drops an article called, ‘Is Hip-Hop really dead?’ that talks about how the mainstream version of Hip-Hop is finally starting to show signs of struggling after years of being creatively stagnant and mindbogglingly mindless. In an MySpace blog version of the article with another related article added, it mentions that says ‘Though music sales are down overall, rap sales slid a whopping 21 percent from 2005 to 2006, and for the first time in 12 years no rap album was among the top 10 sellers of the year.’ You can’t blame music downloading for that, because there are fewer easy methods to get it now than there were a few years before. Here’s what I think happened: the record companies built a marketbase that was easy to fool through means of over-saturation on TV and radio places that mainstream people consider to be cool. Once it’s accepted, the industry can pump out a high quantity of low-quality work with a common theme that’s easy to produce (here, thuggishness) and make lots of cash on a consistant basis. The main problem is that people start to realize that that they’re being fed garbage and move on to something else. Maybe not even another genre of music, but they may start buying more movies, games, books, etc. Why do I think that? Because we’ve seen this already.

One of the reasons that the video game industry crashed in 1983 was a flood of low-quality games. Both Atari and many 3rd party game makers tossed out games that weren’t ready and people began to get burned after buying so many flops. Things were kind of dead until the Nintendo Entertainment System hit with the Big N’s ability to have quality control on their games.

Comics gained a little attention from events like the Jim Lee/Chris Claremont X-Men #1, the controversial Death of Superman and those newsbits of somebody finding a really old comic book and selling it for $241 boozillion dollars. Suddenly, people who didn’t give a damn about comics were hitting comic shops to grab up anything with a shiny cover, a #1 on the cover, some character getting completely mangled in one way or another or various unholy combinations of all these concepts. They started creating more and more extra titles with all these things to get chumps to buy more books. Of course, this didn’t last forever and the speculators left after realizing that they couldn’t start their kids’ college fund with 500 copies of X-Force #1. Not only did the industry loose those marks sales, but they also lost a lot of loyal fans who got tired of being played for suckers. While the industry seems healthy again, you can still see those gimmicks in constant use but with less books and more talent.

For the most part, the same thing happened with various types of toys, collectible trading card and much more. When the business world sees an audience that they can turn into a consistant one, they’ll exploit it in a way that leaves the product lesser as a whole then move on to the next craze. I don’t know what’ll happen to Hip-Hop after this coming storm shakes out, but it really can’t get any worse than this.

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