observations, reviews and ramblings about Hip-Hop culture, sports, politics and the industry and life in general.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Institutional Knowledge

A follow up to the post about the 'things go in cycles' post.

My brother once pointed out that the music business or more particularly the Hip-Hop world does not make institutional knowledge a priority. There is no desire to learn from past mistakes.

Hip-Hop seems to be obsessed with making the same mistakes. Artists seem to love to complain about labels since the same beefs are endlessly regurtitated. I was listening to ATCQ 'The Business' on XM. The one with Jamar, Sadat and Diamond. They are saying the same shit I heard Kweli and others complain about during a recent town hall meeting.

But what is more interesting is how the people who do watch the cycles make money. And there is no better operation doing that than Jive Records.

( I must mention this point has been not so subtly made to your boy Swifty by an inside source at Jive who has a Phd. in tooting horns. )

Putting aside whether you like their records or not we must pay attention to their hustle. And their hustle is working. A trip to Target (like I had yesterday) or a read of the Daily News (wink) will let you know that.

T Pain. Kells, Lil Mama, Huey are everywhere. Who gets the credit? A&R? Yes. Marketing? Yes. But who really gets the credit is the Jive records philosophy. They've been doing this for years.

Since the days of BDP and Too $hort Jive has employed a business model of watching trends. Finding local hits and rolling them out nationally.

In the late 80's and 90's they jumped on the Afrocentric, intellectual vibe of New York which begat ATCQ and KRS ONE. They watched Too $hort in the Bay and then bankrolled him. They also caught the indie Bay wave and signed Casual.
When the worlds of sports and Hip-Hop really converged they caught that and signed Shaq.

There was no greater earner than when Barry Weiss caught the boy band, pubescent fire in the pants wave and signed N Sync, Backstreet, and Britney.

It was my old deadbeat tenant Mr. Dave who pointed out that as long as they are pubescent girls there will be boy bands. There was nothing new about Justin Timberlake. We just forgot. We forgot how much Donny Osmond, The Bee Gees, Jackson 5, Michael Jackson, New Edition. Bobby Brown and even Elvis earned. Jive didn't. They jumped on that cycle and earned hundreds of millions.

You may laugh but Kells is Sam Cooke. Down to the scandal and affiliation with sports figures.

And a look at the rack at Target reminds us that they are at it again. They may not be the best records but even a hard head like me loves 'Bartender.'
But most of the industry doesn't care about making classic records. Most of y'all wanna make that dollar. And if you wanna make that dollar you'd better watch those cycles.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

sounds like someone is getting a check from Jive/Zomba

July 06, 2007 10:21 AM


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