There once was a time when music fans anticipated the release of an artists’ debut album to hit record stores.
However, this trend seems to have been broken and music fans are tuning into mixtapes instead of well-tailored albums in the hip-hop genre.
According to XXL magazine, mixtapes are used to create hype for an upcoming artist by the label, company or the artist themselves.
They are used as a promotional tool.
Over the years mixtapes have become better buys than studio produced albums.
“Music is so accessible today. Mixtapes are a good promotional tool for new artists they help to set an artist apart from others. Mixtapes will get you noticed, people will get familiar with your material,” said Kevin Cossom, singer and songwriter.
The reason mixtapes are selling more than albums in society is because the artist is putting more effort into dropping mixtapes rather than actual albums.
Some listeners believe mixtape content, for some artists,is better than actual studio albums. Artist 50 cent is an example of an artist that uses mixtapes to his advantage.
However, at times this could be a disadvantage to the artist in terms of record sales.
According to hiphopnewsdaily.com, 50 Cent’s last album, “Before I Self Destruct” only sold 150,000 copies.
However, since the album was leaked a month in advance thousands of copies were downloaded.
“I think mixtapes are more popular today because there are no limits for them. With mixtapes, you can use provocative language and freestyle about anything. Artists like the idea of rhyming on hot beats that they don’t have to pay for, in addition to not following the label’s format of an album. Their mixtape is the album they wish they could drop at the record store,” said Kenquaya Jackson, 19, second-year pharmacy student from Hollywood, Fla.
Although mixtapes are unavailable in stores, they are easy to purchase or access online or from a local CD seller on the corner.
Some popular sites to purchase or download mix-tapes include, buymixtapes.com, 247mixtapes.com and limewire.com.
Rapper Lil’ Wayne and 50 Cent are big players in the mixtape industry.
“I don’t think mixtapes are going to break you into the game, because there are three million mixtapes out there. You need a hit on the radio. The game is more independent now, you have to push your own record and build up connects. Once people see that you are passionate about your grind you will prosper. Mixtapes will get you recognized but it won’t get you a fat check,” said C.P. Hollywood, a Miami producer.
In essence, mixtapes are the latest trend that hip-hop artists are using to gain exposure and to promote their product.
While album sales for some artists are dropping, mixtape sales on the other hand are on the steady rise.