Changes in music industry culture

Photo courtesy: ELLE (google )

In a recent interview with Yandy Smith at the 2023 BET Hip Hop Awards, the City Girls announced for the first time that the release of their upcoming album “R.A.W.”  would be just a little over a week later on Oct. 20. While excited, many fans expressed shock over the sudden announcement. The last album released by the Miami rap duo was three years ago in 2020.

In January of this year during the Netflix premiere of “You People,” Yung Miami told Extra on the red carpet that the new album would be released around the spring or summer. The pair kept quiet about the new release and fans heard very little about the new project until earlier this month. The City Girls’ fanbase is a strong one, as they’ve been pioneers for a lot of culturally significant moments since their debut in 2017. The new project is expected to do well, but with lack of promotion it raises questions about changes in the music industry.

Social media has become the primary source of promotion for a lot of artists and it has caused a lot of longtime music fans to lose interest in their favorite artists’ longer projects. Even Drake, who is arguably one of the biggest artists of our time, has also succumbed to the new era of musical promotion. The hip hop star released his latest album, “For All the Dogs,” on Oct. 6. But many fans saw and heard very little about his eighth studio album.

Shaakira Huggins is one of many people who feel like the lack of promotion causes a lack of excitement, making it harder to sit through these longer projects.

“Back in the day, you would see billboards and commercials on TV and things of that nature, maybe even on the news,” Huggins says. “But like now my news is basically like The Shaderoom. So I feel like that’s the biggest difference, which causes teens to be on Instagram or Twitter or TikTok more. It can also create a negative space, we used to gossip about it in school but now social media has created a place for people to spread negative energy through the air,” she said.

Mya Flowers, who has been a fan of the City Girls since their debut, says that she has seen very little about the group’s newest project. While she still plans on taking a listen, she has also noticed a lack of promotion with a lot of mainstream artists. She also notes that many of the smaller artists that she listens to still typically promote their albums and EPs for longer periods of time. She believes that it isn’t as necessary for those who have already established mainstream popularity.

“Back then, I feel like technology did exist to an extent, so people had to find different ways to promote,” Flowers said. “There used to be people selling CDs on the street, but now everything is easily accessible online. You can easily find out when someone’s about to drop just by looking it up nowadays.”

Music lovers miss the excitement leading up to a new release. The countdown to a big drop used to swarm the middle and high school hallways for weeks, creating an entirely different type of buzz.

It is almost expected in today’s day in age that the worthwhile songs on larger projects will be overplayed throughout the internet, especially on platforms like TikTok. So much so that people rarely take the time to listen to full bodies of work.

While artists like the City Girls spend much time creating musical masterpieces, the art of promotion is slowly fading into nonexistence. While change can be exciting in many instances, it can also be scary for those who truly admire the art. Only time will tell the lasting effects these subtle changes will have on music sales and the industry as a whole.