Social Media in the hip-hop industry

Social Media in the hip-hop industry

50 Cent (center) with Val Kilmer (L) at the 2009 AMAs, CC-2.0 via Wikipedia.
50 Cent (center) with Val Kilmer (L) at the 2009 AMAs, CC-2.0 via Wikipedia.

TULSA, Okla., July 4th, 2014 — 50 Cent made a guest appearance on the New York City radio morning show The Breakfast Club, where he discussed a number of  topics. One verbal riff in particular was loaded with business relevance, as 50 Cent opined on the power of social media in the hip-hop industry. The artist claimed that social media has actually changed the way hip-hop artists market themselves and their music to the general audience.

His point is important, because it underscores the continuing, significant effect of social media on both individuals and corporate America in general. Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube provide hip-hop artists with the opportunity to launch new music and products, push upcoming concert performances in local venues, or simply connect directly with their avid fans without having to get permission or clearance from their record companies or attorneys.

In other words, social media, taken together, are a significant marketing resource tool that not only helps hip-hop artists get and retain name recognition. These sites also help promote music and other products offered by the artist.

Social media are also a crucial attention-seeking tool that allows fans to stay in touch with their favorite music artist, giving them the power to connect with such artists through Facebook posts, tweets and Instagram messages.

Hip-Hop artists like 50 Cent use social media to send personal messages to their fans and make personal connections by sharing daily pictures and messages. In a related observation, one could say that due to this kind of “direct connect,” social media has likely killed the traditional fan-base mail clubs. Once not so long ago, when fans wanted a picture or letter from their favorite music artist, they would write in to such clubs to ask for one. Now all they have to do is follow their favorite artist on social media to get the daily scoop, while up-to-the-minute artist photos can be downloaded with a tap on a hand-held device’s screen.

50 Cent and others in his genre instinctively know all this and almost autonomically make use of social media to connect with fans, announce new business ventures, and introduce new music. Other well-known hip-hop entrepreneurs like P.Diddy use the power of social media to market their products. As in, how many tweets have you read about Ciroc vodka from P.Diddy?

In a relatively short period of time, social media software, apps and sites have become another audience-building resource available to artists, allowing them to release music and sell products − without being forced to rely on often reluctant or short-sighted record label executives to do all this for them when they decide get around to it or find the funds. Today’s social media-astute artist is no longer a record label’s product or property as in the past. Instead, today’s artist-entrepreneur can become master of his or her own brand on his or her own terms.

It is a brave new world for the music industry.

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