Hip Hop: Dead or Alive

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Michael Hinden
English 101 Honors
Hip-Hop: Dead or Alive
Since the invention of the internet and P2P (peer 2 peer) downloading all genres of music have become victims of free music downloads and suffered in record sales. However, why has hip-hop music seemingly taken an extra hit? According to Billboard Magazine, “since 2000, rap sales dropped 44%,and declined to 10% of all music sales, which, while still a commanding figure when compared to other genres, is a significant drop from the 13% of all music sales where rap music regularly placed.” The more important statistic being its 3% drop in all music sales since this represents hip-hops decline relative to other popular genres of music, it shows hip-hop’s current struggle in the modern market. But is this the cause of a lack interest in the genre, or just an effect of the vast availability of free music?

Hip-hop as a genre has not lost its audience just the paying customers. The genre has 4 of the current top 10 and 10 of the top 20 on Billboard.com’s current top 100. Therefore, it is easy to determine its drop in sales is predominantly caused by the current trend of online downloading. The sad truth is that it doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon either. According to The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) report on digital music, “95% of music downloads continue to be illegal.” Therefore, with most of its listeners being part of the tech-savvy youth, hip-hop as industry is weighed down by its loss of potential income. Now, even though the future forecast for hip-hop looks dismal, international efforts are being made to stop this trend. In Europe the EU and France in particular is even considering a three strike rule (Michael Santo). Perhaps this isn’t the answer either. Still some believe that with lower prices of the material, this downloading trend would reverse and result in consumers buying the better quality product (CDs) rather than download an illegal pirated version....
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