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Wale: The Future of Hip Hop?

tmoody's picture
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I have been a big fan of Wale for sometime now. I always been amazed not only with his talent and his willingness to work with different producers, but his marketing skills. Skills that the music industry could learn from. The fact now is that he is signed to Interscope and his album will be produced by Grammy winner producer Mark Ronson(best know for producing Amy Winehouse's album). What Wale has accomplished with out a label has been amazing. That pretty much says you really don't need a major label. For all those artists dreaming to get signed to label, don't bother. Do it yourself! At the end of this post there is cool video from Current.com.

Here is a post entitled Wale 101 I wrote way back when on the Rhythm Lab blog. You can also find it on Wale's blog on his MySpace page as well. If you haven't download the 100 Miles and Running mixtape, go do it.

This post was originally going to be about the new single from Wale, “Nike Boots”. I will post it at the end. I been observing the anomaly that is Wale or better yet the marketing behind him. Wale is a marketing genius. Without any major label support, he has been able to create such huge buzz, that within a year he has appeared on MTV VMAs, become a prodigy of Mark Ronson, written up in the latest Rolling Stone Magazine, and basically got music blog world on lock.

So what can the slow, and incompetent music industry can learn from this?

One. Have a passion and a belief in what you are making. Major labels don’t take the time to put the real effort in backing releases that they release. It takes groundwork. They hope ringtones, and paid apperances on MTV will help an artist.

Two. Take some damn chances for once. Wale has done this from incorporating the live sound of GO-GO, to working only with local producers instead of getting the big names to sell a record. You know what, it is paying off. Major Labels very rarely take chances on artists that are not easy to market (i.e J*Davey) or to sell a record, they just get a hot producer to produce the track and look instant hit.

Three. If you truly in believe in your music (and its good), give it away for free. The rest will fall into place. Wale released his mixtape 100 Miles and Running for a free download, and it spread like wildfire. On the other hand, the industry went after DJ Drama for distributing mixtapes which help promote artists. You know what? I like shooting myself in my foot too.

Four. What the hell. Why bother? Before the industry even enrolls in Wale 101, they have already flunked. I am going to take a page from Donald Rumsfeld playbook. The major labels and RIAA are part of the old music industry which is irrelevant and tired. We are just waiting for someone to pull the life support.

Oh yeah, that ringle idea that you came up with brilliant. I am going to shell out $7.00 for a cd with a single and a ringtone. Damn. Your marketing department must be filled with Harvard graduates (on crack). If this is what you can do to help save the industry, just stick to suing little kids for illegal downloading (your good at it).

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