Normally the posts on this blog have hardly anything to do with my obsessive love for hip-hop but today is different.
This post is in response to the above video
I think that the story of Mac Miller extends beyond the confines of Hip-Hop. This is the story of how an 18-year-old white rapper from Pittburgh managed to develop a following and with that following:
- acquired a record deal with an independent label
- sold out every location on his Incredibly Dope Tour
- won two awards at the Pittsburgh hip hop awards
- got “positively” acknowledged by Donald Trump for his hit single Donald Trump. The music video has since been viewed over 81-million times.
And by 2011 (age 19) he released his first studio album Blue Slide Park which:
- debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200
- sold 144,000 copies in its first week
- netted well over 1.5 million dollars in record sales
Since then, he’s released another mixtape Macadelic and an EP entitled You under the name “Larry Lovestein & The Velvet Reviva”; this wasn’t a rap piece but Miller “crooning” over “lounging jazz instrumentals”.
The above video is taken from his forth-coming second album Watching Movies with the Sound Off
So, why is this story so relevant?
Mac Miller’s rise to stardom represents the power of independence . His whole success was pivoted by his own efforts. He is yet to be signed to a major record label! He started posting up videos on YouTube and publicly released the songs for free through various mixtape websites . Now, compared to the traditional “get a major recording deal first” avenue, Miller’s road was a lot more choked up in terms of resources (especially marketing and distribution resources). That’s the beauty of major record labels: they have the money; connections and experience required to rocket launch any artist into the view of the mainstream. With this kind of push moving the artist forward, he/she is able to gather a fan base that “inertias” its way all through the media to the masses. This exposure is what then kickstarts the artist’s career because they now have millions of listeners who can recognize their name. These record companies have, through years of success, developed formulas in which they know that they can get the most out of an artist.
With the independent route, however, you really have to start at the very bottom to get to the top. You are faced with the reality that you are your own artist and that means that you can’t use some standard formula. Even if you could, you wouldn’t have the expensive resources to apply the formula anyway. But with this “con”, you’re also afforded the opportunity to grow at your own pace and head on your own journey. You are able to explore your talents without those: executive relics of the past who wouldn’t know “cool” if they overdosed on it, dictating your every move. Fortunately, the Internet has blessed us with the ability to shorten this growing curve by offering an open space for artists to develop their own niches (sometimes within other niches) as: birds of a feather flock together -online. And once you listen to your birds and actively involve them in your musical decisions (as Mac did), you’re able to engage the birds to fly with you towards the skies. And the best thing about these kind of birds is that they become so engaged that they turn into evangelists for your music and make other birds listen attentively as the Miller birds bellow-out his tunes at every sunrise.
Independence guarantees more freedom. Which enables individuality. This individuality then guarantees a greater propensity for innovation/creativity. And constant innovation just leads straight towards constant success.
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