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Op-Ed: Drake Dominates

Op-Ed: Drake Dominates
Drake. By The Come Up Show [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
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He’s got the top 23 tracks in the U.S. on Spotify.

Globally he’s got the top 17 of 18, only the deceased XXXTENTACION sneaks in and breaks up the hegemony.

The future is here. We’ve heard endlessly about the long tail, but the concomitant reaction is DOMINATION! In a world of unrelenting choice, the big get bigger, they dominate.

Don’t get your knickers in a twist. The “Scorpion” tracks will fade soon enough. That’s another futuristic result. With everything available for streaming, with spoon-feeding by radio out of step, people consume and move on. As for labels concerned that one act dominates the chart, trying to institute mathematical barriers to disallow this, FUGGETABOUTIT! This is what the people are listening to, acknowledge it. Ed Sheeran really is that dominant, he’s the only act consistently selling out big shows in the U.K. right now. Taylor Swift papers, Sheeran sells. Why you want to keep him off the charts?

Actually, he’s off the charts now. People are going to see him because they haven’t forgotten, they want some of that action live.

Now if you’ve got no name recognition, everything happens slowly, unless you’re a rapper tied into a household name. It could take a year for your track to break through. But if you’re a star? You’re here and you’re GONE! This is the new normal. The big acts get bigger and seemingly everybody else is ignored. That’s right, you can play, but you cannot get attention. And you can bitch all you want about it, but you can’t beat the system. And now that Spotify allows everybody to see the statistics, see what is truly going on, in an unmodified, unmanipulated chart, can you hear me Soundscan, can you hear me Grammys, we know what people are truly listening to, and that’s a good thing! Streaming has eliminated obfuscation, we want to know what’s really happening. You can paper, like Ms. Swift, lying about how many tickets you’ve sold, or you can go to Spotify to see what’s really happening.

Not Jay Z and Beyonce, they’re not in the Top 50. That’s right, publicity never meant less. The Carters are darlings of the press, they’ve been around long enough for the alta kachers at newspapers to be clued-in, but they’re not. Because the public doesn’t want them. Are they too old? Are their tracks not hits? Furthermore, they don’t go clean. Then again, they have high ticket prices.

Now as other genres grow, they will populate the Top 50. But for now it’s mostly hip-hop, a little electronic and a smidge of pop. Hip-hop rules streaming like the NBA runs on Twitter. The NFL is bludgeoning the players, telling them how to live, and the NBA lets the players rule. As a result the footballers are mostly faceless and the hoopsters have identities. Think about that. That’s good management. And hell, the 76ers GM lost his gig because of his wife’s tweets. The NBA is positively living in the present. Live in the past at your peril.

As for electronic…it’s a scene that never dies. As for pop, it’s on life support, because it doesn’t know what it wants to be. Now pop is hip-hop with a bit of melody, which the public rejects. Hip-hop is built on credibility, identity, listeners bond to you. Pop is always about the song first, without a hit, you’re dead in the water.

And if you’re a rocker… Your fans are old and railing at the system and the sound is derivative instead of innovative.

So music is just like the rest of the world, the land of haves and have-nots. Get used to it.

And the modern release paradigm is no advance publicity…then again, Drake’s minions all got the word online. That’s the power of technology. If your fans are not spreading the word about you online, you’re going nowhere. Harness the technology.

And isn’t it funny that a mixed-race Jewish rapper from Toronto is the world’s biggest star. This is anti-Trumpism at its core. Close the borders at your peril. We live in an homogenized, global world. You cannot go backward, if you do beware of falling behind. Toronto has the most ethnicities of any city in the world. This melting pot delivers artist after artist, always innovative, supported by the government. Think about that. Our greatest export in America used to be our culture. But by closing our borders we will fall behind. As for tech, with visa problems Indians are now staying home. Don’t believe me if you want, just read, there are facts in this world. And you’re worried about immigrants taking your job… We need these immigrants to create, and to do the manual labor we won’t. Rail against the death of your system, your economy, your middle class status, but point to the real culprits, not the false ones. Lower taxes on corporations and everybody wins… NO! And I’m only getting political to show you that not only does the rest of the world not agree with us, but neither does our rank and file, our young people, who listen to Drake to the exclusion of so many. We gonna put a tax on him?

So expect it to come in waves. Forget sales, that’s irrelevant, focus on listening. We’re gonna have new domination every month or so. Some will come out of nowhere, others will be established players. And if an established player doesn’t deliver, they’ve got the stink upon them. And if this happens to you, get right back in the game, people forget a failure, they’re only looking for the hit. Cancel your tour and create. Or create on the road. Your fans cannot get enough new stuff, which you can load on streaming services immediately. And just maybe, one of your cuts will be picked up by the masses and you’ll have a juggernaut.

And just maybe you’ll take an advance from Spotify, go without a major label, making in excess of 50% on every stream.

But that’s another e-mail.

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