It’s hard to really define the perception vs the reality when it comes to prospering financially in hip-hop. One minute we are told “rap doesn’t sell” next minute a rapper has a platinum single or album. We get told “rappers are really broke” but then we hear and read things like “I get 30 racks a show” or “I’m 100 racks for a feature.” It’s all case by case and honestly confusing. The best mantra to live by no matter what is “support what you love instead of bashing what you hate.”
Speaking of support, the next thing I can see taking a bigger hit is the live show. This year three of the biggest and most important hip-hop shows happened virtually at the same time. Drake and Future, Kanye West’s Saint Pablo Tour and Puff Daddy and The Family’s Bad Boy Reunion Tour. The tours are major moments in hip-hop that are taking place. Although I haven’t been to one show live, I felt like I seen them all within the first five dates. Why? Because Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat somehow, someway have every surprise moment captured on smartphones around the country. It made me feel like I didn’t miss much or need to buy a ticket in the next city.
I understand the excitement and this is the era of the “captured moment” whether it’s positive or negative. Personally, it kind of kills the anticipation and the moment created when it’s easily accessible. As someone who saw live shows before the social media explosion, I remember leaving concerts, speaking with concert goers and telling friends and family about my experience and getting the “Damn! I knew I should have went” as a response.
Now, you can tell somebody about your experience and you are probably going to get “Yeah I seen that all over Instagram when I took my break at work” or “Yeah I was watching on Periscope”. It seems like the world truly sees and lives the moments whether they spend money to see it in real time or if it trends on their favorite social media platform. That’s got to be making these ticket prices higher and why so many artists are on one bill and some tours are mini festivals in the summer.
I wonder if the captured moment is effecting hip-hop shows like it effects comedy shows. On one hand, it seems like people may stop coming to shows. On the other, it appears that some people may come just to record their own moment for themselves in their city. I can’t imagine either scenario being ideal for the artist or the venue.
Now, I will say, the extreme positive is all of the backstage moments caught at shows. To see “Murder Inc.” [Jay Z, Ja Rule, DMX] all in one room getting along and reminiscing was still a “dang I wish I was there” moment. That’s something you can only see if you’re an insider. Those moments no matter how we get them, will remain epic. I like to see an artist I am a fan of hanging with their peers and showing love as well as getting love when they’re not in work mode and being fans and supporters like us.
Is the Smartphone ruining the live show? Have you attended less concerts this year because you know the best part is on social media? Are you the type to record a whole show and put it up on Instagram and Facebook?
Do you know how to enjoy a concert in 2016? Serious question. Many people are trying to tweet, and take pics and add hashtags and captions. They may not know how to enjoy concerts anymore.