Being an independent musician is tough. Many artists shoulder the creative and financial burden in the quest to achieve their dreams. Publicity, booking, marketing, and sales are areas that the average artist must take a crash course in to even be able to function on the most miniscule level; however, in learning all of these things you realize that there’s not enough time to do them yourself, and you don’t have the money to hire someone to do them for you. I know this because I’ve been there. I am an independent artist, a business owner, a college student, a father, and a husband. The two things I don’t have are time and money; however, I’ve learned how to leverage the little time I do have with these 3 cost effective tools:
I came across Bandcamp about 5 or 6 years ago. It is a customizable online storefront. The normal account costs nothing upfront to set up or upload music, but they do take a percentage of digital sales on their website. It starts at 15% and slides down to 10% if you made at least $5000 in the past 12 months.
Some of the features they offer are:
Hootsuite and Buffer
Social media is the new street promotion. Artists that don’t believe that are delusional, but posting to each of these accounts separately is time consuming and frustrating. Well, that’s fixed. Buffer and Hootsuite are social media management systems that allow you post to all your accounts at once. Both have free options, but, if you want to really get the best out of them, it’s better to get the monthly subscription. Both start at $10.
You can link your Twitter, Facebook profiles and pages, LinkedIn, Google+, and Instagram accounts to both. Buffer also does Pinterest; however, there is a Hootsuite plugin called Tailwind that allows you to post to Pinterest also.
Features offered by both:
There used to be nothing worse than people coming up to my merch table after rocking a show, and asking if I took cards. Luckily that doesn’t happen anymore because I have PayPal Here, which is a free app that turns my cell phone and tablet into a point of sale register. They‘ll also send a free card reader that plugs into your headphones jack. There’s no monthly fee, even though, they charge a processing fee for each transaction.
Some of PayPal Here’s features are:
On November 24th I call my two oldest sons, JJ (9) and Jemal (5), into the living room. I ask them what they know about Mike Brown. They both say that he was killed by the police, but that’s all they know. So I give them the points that matter:
One of them then asked, “Why did he shoot him?”
“I have no clue,” I replied. “In a few minutes, they are going to have a press conference to tell us if they are going to charge the police officer with a crime. Did you guys want to look at it?”
They both said yes. At around 9:30, the wife turns to CNN, and we sit there watching the talking heads go back and forth with Anderson Cooper about absolutely nothing. They speculate about what’s going to happen while, at the same time, telling everyone to not speculate about the outcome. By the way, one of my next articles is going to be about how I hate TV news.
Finally, at 10:15 pm, Prosecutor Robert McCulloch comes out and holds a 20-30 minute press conference telling everyone in the world that we were stupid, the press is to blame, and Officer Wilson was justified to kill Mike Brown. In other words, there won’t be a trial. In between, my wife has a look of disbelief and anger on her face. JJ kept saying that, “He’s not saying anything.” I felt neither.
The truth is that I would have been surprised if Darren Wilson had been charged. The fact it took so long to “investigate and present” told me that something was funny; however, even if it did, I was very skeptical of the outcome, e.g., Trayvon Martin and Oscar Grant.
My wife and I talked a little about it, I checked the Facebook timeline, unfriended a couple of folks for saying stupid shit, and then I worked on the script for my next film. While doing all of this, something else was bothering me, but I couldn't put my finger on it. The next day it was much of the same, and now I was getting seriously irritated. Have you ever had an itch in the middle of your back, and, no matter how hard you tried, you couldn't get your hand to the spot to scratch it? That fucking itch lasted for 2 more days.
Then, as I’m cutting the Brussels sprouts in half so that they can marinate for a while in time to be sauteed for our Thanksgiving Day feast, it came to me. In the midst of all of this anger, all of this pain, and all of this mistrust for each other; In the middle of Liberals and Conservatives battling through social media, while Blacks and Whites flee to familiar corners and arguments; With protesters in Ferguson feeling that their efforts were in vain; All of this is going on and no one has said what all of this shit is really about...precedent.
The precedent of a police officer being able to shoot an unarmed person in broad daylight, in front of witnesses, from 148 feet away, call it a justifiable homicide, and not be charged. People: this is not a Black or White issue. This is something more heinous and calculating. This is about our inevitable transition to the Police State. I know I sound crazy to you. Shit I sound crazy to me.
However, the days and nights that immediately followed the killing of Mike Brown is evidence of this in the footage of the Ferguson Police Department in full military gear (minus the tanks) accosting both peaceful protesters and the press who were there covering the story. It seemed like something that would be off of the front of the World section of The Wall Street Journal happening in a far off third world dictatorship. I sat watching videos posted by folks there on the front lines, wondering how in the hell could this happen in America and how did Ferguson get this equipment? Why is it that no one’s said anything about this? Then I Googled it and realized they had.
According to a June 8th New York Times Article, The Department of Defense has been supplying military grade equipment to Police Departments all over the country. Things like mine resistant armored vehicles, M-16’s, and silencers are what they’re going to be using to “serve and protect”.
By the way, most of these places that are buying this stuff from the government are suburbs, so if you think that “Black Thugs” from the ghetto are the only ones being affected by this, then you may need to rethink your position.
Wise the fuck up folks!
I’m sitting on a Megabus right now on my way to a show. How did I get here? Well, my dude that I usually perform with, Evaready RAW, has to work. My wife needs our car to transport my 3 children around, and, as you all should know by reading my posts, I’m a determined dude. So I went to www.us.megabus.com and copped a ticket from ATL to Charlotte for $12. The Charlotte to Raleigh (where the show actually is) Megabus wouldn’t work because it would get there after the show; so my DJ, Coach K (who lives in Greenwood, South Carolina) is going to scoop me up on his way to Charlotte. After we perform, he’s going to drop me back off in Charlotte to catch the 6:45 am Megabus back to Atlanta.
This got me thinking, am I unique?
Maybe I’m ego tripping. Actually I’m pretty sure I am; however, that doesn’t mean my uniqueness isn’t true. I have a belief that when I choose to do or commit to something I have an obligation to do everything in my power to ensure that I will see it through. This is true with my music career, my job, and my family life.
Even still, with doing everything in my power, I often fail to achieve exactly what I was aiming for. In failure, though, I’m satisfied that I’ve exhausted all avenues and alleys available to me. Then, I rethink my strategy and go after it again, whatever it may be.
As indie artists, any level of success is due to going the extra mile and doing what the others won’t, can’t, or haven’t thought about doing yet. It is a forever turning carousel of ideas, work ethic, and execution, with the most important being the middle. Failing is part of the process, but quitting is a bunch of bull shit.
A couple of weeks ago I played a show to 7 people...yep, 7 people. Let me rewind a little. I have a tour series called “The Just Bust Tour." What we do is book shows all over with local, regional, and national talent. The purpose is to get independent music in front of crowds that would love it, and present it to them in the right way, as a show with great performances, DJ’s spinning, and dancers (coming soon).
On most occasions, I book 3 shows, then come home and insert myself back into husbandry, fatherhood, and mindless employment. This time, however, there was a little hiccup in the plans. One show fell through, and the other was cancelled. With three weeks to go, that left just the final show, which was 9 hours away. Driving that far for one show was possible, but tough. Very tough. So what would be the logical thing to do?
Right off the bat, one would think to try to reschedule the show; however, with not much time left, it would be pretty hard for the venue and promoter to find another act to book in time. This could have several negative consequences. The most critical of which being that we wouldn’t get a show through that promoter or venue in that city again.
Also, I’d already spent money on flyers and posters. Besides, we’ve played this particular place on more than one occasion, and averaged between 70 to 100 people a show. So there was no reason to think it would be different; however, it was. By the time of the show, which was around midnight, there were 7 paying people who'd come through the door.
Now, I could’ve pulled the “ungrateful artist” role that many indies tend to use as their default and argue with the promoters and ask them now useless questions like:
I chose not to, though. Instead, I stayed smiling and professional, conducting myself the same as if the spot was packed to capacity. Went on stage, rocked our set, and thanked everyone for coming to see us. The promoters came to apologize for the turn out. I told them, “It’s cool, you win some and lose some. We’ll both make sure that it’s a better a show next time." The owner of the spot then came up to me, and said, “I don’t know why the crowd was so thin tonight. I’m sorry. You guys were awesome as usual." Then he gave me money from the bar’s cash register to help cover our expenses, even though we were supposed to have just gotten a cut of the door. That covered our gas up to the show and back home. If I would have acted an ass, I would've walked away with a loss.
The moral of the story is that the professional artist always trumps the asinine artist in the long term.
1 in 6 Black males are in prison.
Black males consist of 50% of the prison population.
I hate those numbers because I’ve always felt that they’ve been used to write the story for myself and others before the book is even opened with the synopsis reading, “He was born. He became a criminal. He went to jail. He died. The end.” Today, it’s become a bestseller among liberals and conservatives alike.
It hurts me to see those stats, to hear them reinforced by media everyday, to listen to them celebrated by some of my fellow hip hop artists in song, and to see the fear in the eyes of strangers who see me walking up the street toward them; however, what angers me more than any of that is that I never, ever hear about how many White men are in prison. Or, for that matter, how many Black men are. Not “1 in 6”...the actual number.
See, “1 in 6” could be twisted to be interpreted in a couple of different ways. For example, what if the government took $1 for every $6 you made? If you only made $6 total, then taking that $1 would seem unjust. What about $600? Most of us pay well over $100 in taxes per paycheck anyway. What if you made $6 million? You still have $5 million to play with.
Bad example? Money and peoples’ freedom have no comparison. Maybe not; however, the point that I want to convey is that “1 in 6” can be seen different ways based on presentation. What if I said, “5 out of 6 Black males in America will never see the inside of a prison cell?” Why don’t you think that’s ever said?
Well, whether you know it or not, scary Black guys move the meter in America (a half-naked White woman does, also). The thought of 1 out of every 6 of us having sex with daughters, teaching sons how to sag their pants and do drugs, robbing homes, and jacking cars is just what is needed to push people in whatever direction politics and media ratings need them to go.
Unfortunately, this view isn’t just held to White America. Many Blacks find themselves clinging to the same perceptions that are used against them by others. Are they right? After all, a lot of Black Folks are in the trenches. We live among the 1 out of 6. If we’re scared, shouldn’t everyone else be?
As a Black man, raised in Compton during 80’s and ‘90’s, I would say no. Using myself as a tester, I’ve never been arrested, so off of default, I’ve never been to prison. The same would go for most of my friends. We did all of the same things as most of the other adolescents where we lived, and more. So since this is true for me, is it that outside of the realm of thought that there are others like us?
The purpose of this article is to show you how Black men, in general, are the 5 out of 6 that you don’t hear about. I know it won’t be easy. After all, I’m fighting mental conditioning on all fronts, but I have an idea that projects at least moderate success...I hope.
To put it simply, I am going to give you numbers that I took from The FBI database, Bureau of Investigations, and Consensus websites, and let you decide. No reverse brainwashing or guilt trips. All I ask is that you have an open mind, and see the truth in what I tell you. Deal?
Okay, let’s get started.
From 2000-2010, Black males were arrested at a yearly average of 3.8 million, while nearly 3 times the amount of White males were arrested at an average on 9.7 million. Of those arrests, I discovered a couple of things:
I found this interesting because these are three violent tendencies that have been a main focal point of the Black stereotype. It was weirdly satisfying to see that the numbers say something different. I wasn’t completely satisfied, though. These numbers speak to the current state of Black men in America which, as established in part 1, shows how violence in our community has declined.
So I went back into my databases and went all the way back to 1980. In that year, 7.74 million White males were arrested versus a little over 2.5 million Black men. I thought to myself, “It was probably because crack hadn’t hit the streets yet.”
So I fast forwarded to 1985, where I saw that 8.57 million Whites in contrast to 3.17 million Black males were arrested. Nearly 558,000 of the Whites were arrested for drug related issues while only 245,000 Blacks suffered the same fate. Another surprising thing was the amount of forcible rape arrests from both races of men. Blacks were at 17,000 while Whites had 19,000.
I went to 1990 where I found pretty much the same thing, except that for the first time, I noticed that Black arrests for homicides surpassed White arrests. It did so in a disturbing fashion. There were 12,477 Black men arrested for homicides; however, there was still a high number of White homicide arrests, over 10,000. In addition, forcible rape arrests with nearly 17,000 and over 21,000 respectively.
Since then, the number of homicide and forcible rape arrests for Black and White men have dropped drastically. In 2010, there were 5430 Black men arrested for homicides and only 6300 for forcible rape. At the same time, 5540 White males were arrested for homicides with a little over 13,000 being arrested for forcible rape. Drug arrests have nearly stayed still since 1995, and arrests in general have declined by about 1 million for Whites and Blacks.
So here’s the inquiry: what do these numbers say to you? I hope they make you question what you’ve been trained to believe about me. If not, that’s okay. I’m just glad you took the time to read this. Now I do want to end on this...
...despite the overwhelming number of Whites arrested over Blacks, there is consistently around 100,000 more Black men in prison annually. I will attempt to examine that in my next article. Peace.
A couple of days ago I had the privilege of bearing witness to a discussion that my little brother, Jason, and a very good friend, DLabrie were having on Facebook. Honestly, it was more like an argument, but can you really call replying to each others’ comments an argument? It all started with Amos Smith, the 26 year old gentleman who was shot 8 times in the back of the head by police in Union City, CA. My friend posted the story and called people to action (protest not violence), there were a couple of replies, and then my brother set it off. Lol. He responded with something that questioned why the outrage for this when black men are killing each other everyday? My friend, in reply, states that it’s two different issues, my brother disagrees, and then comes the shit storm.
People began responding, each basically picking a side: Team DLabrie or Team Jason. The battle lines were set, and 150 or so posts later there was really no more agreement than in the first four posts. Tempted to chime in with my own views, I refrained and observed. I saw no need to. This argument has been going on since the early 80’s, around the time that crack hit the streets. Black and whites folks, conservatives and liberals, the wealthy and the poor alike, all have accepted the fact that Urban America is in a state of emergency. But why? Why is it in a state of emergency? Or better yet, why do people think that Urban America is in a state of emergency when the numbers state that things are trending towards the exact opposite?
There’s this stat that everyone used to quote, “The average life expectancy of Black males in the ‘80’s was 21 years old.” Growing up in Compton, I was quick to confirm this because shit was crazy back then; however, over the years I began to question whether that was actually true, because, according to this, most of my childhood friends should be dead.
Intrigued, one day I had opened the laptop and began to search the quote. I found nothing that dealt with that. What I did find, even though not directly related, was that the life expectancy of Black males in America rose from 68.8 - 70.3 years of age from 2003-2008. This was mainly due to the decrease in deaths due to HIV and heart disease. Great news, but not really what I was looking for.
So I took a different approach, and Googled “crime in Black America.” I still found nothing on that quote; however, something did catch my eye. This blog post called “Five Myths About Crime In Black America” on the blog site www.colorlines.com.
The article, which is really a collection of statistics from various sources, discussed what the writer saw as the five biggest myths about crime in Black America, and I admit that I was pretty astonished by the numbers. Among them was that violent crime has decreased from 758 per 100,000 citizens in 1991 to 404 in 2010, and that the percentage of White on White homicides since 1976 are about as high as Black on Black ones. It sited The Bureau of Investigations and FBI as its sources.
Further intrigued and not totally convinced that this could be true, I began to research things on a more personal level by looking at numbers on Compton. In a place more known for its gangs, drugs, and drive-by’s than anything else, it was incredible to find that there was only 17 homicides in 2011 and 26 gun deaths in 2010, both being down from 42 in 2009. This is compared to the estimated 96,455 legal residents of the city. Right now, the city is experiencing the lowest number of homicides since 1972.
So if all of this is fact for a city that has the reputation that Compton had earned and, in many cases, boasted of over the years, could it be logical to assume that the same could apply to other Urban areas in this country? Not really with an immediate answer and already with an overflowing plate of life containing marriage, fatherhood, and music, I filed it in the “interesting facts that I can use in discussions” part of my brain and moved on. That is until the conversation between Jason and DLabrie.
Finding myself compelled to revisit this, I busted out my handy dandy laptop, and went to the FBI database to check numbers. Just as the article from www.colorlines.com stated, violent crime has decreased drastically since the 90’s. Murder dropped 14.7% between 2007 and 2011, and 10% if start comparing from 2002. Looking deeper, I searched cities that had high populations of Blacks.
In Atlanta, where I currently live, homicide dropped 57% from 2001 to 2009. Furthermore, in 2011 there were only 88 homicides out of a city population of about 425,000.
In Los Angeles, there were 297 homicides in 2011 for a city population of nearly 4 million. This is well under 1993, when it was 21.1 per 100,00 people. In fact, between 2009-2011, L.A.has been experiencing a 50 year low.
I found similar numbers for most cities that I checked; however, there were some that, to be honest, made me sorrowfully tear up. In 2011, Chicago posted 431 homicides against a population of 2.7 million, Detroit had 344 versus 713,239, Oakland had 104 homicides against 400,000 citizen, and Newark had 94 with a population of 278,000.
Right now I can see you looking at my blog posts thinking that none of this means anything other than that every race except Blacks stopped killing each other. Could be true, so I went back into the FBI database. There I discovered that there were 2447 Black on Black homicides nationwide in 2011, which was down from 2604 in 2009 and 55% from 1995. Surprisingly, I also found that White on White homicides similarly mirrored Blacks with 2630, 2963, and 4124 in the respective years; adding to this, since 2000 there have been more White intraracial homicides than Black.
What does all of this mean? Simply put, our perception of crime in America, especially when it comes to Black on Black homicide is not supported by reality. There could be several reasons why this has happened, but this might end up being equally as long; however, I will steal bite a line from Jay and say, “Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t.”
The other day, I’m having this random conversation with this kid (20 year old, which is a kid to me) when he started talking about how he is overworked. After a couple more sentences, I realized that overworked to him meant that he worked 35 hours/week, and, therefore, found it hard to do anything on his off days because he was tired. By the way, before you start thinking that he had a high pressure work environment, he doesn’t. He works at a cafe, during the slow time.
Amused, I shared my life at his age with him thinking that I could give him some perspective. I told him that I was in school (officially though not literally), worked two jobs, paid my own, and was on the train. By the time I was 22, I’d started my first business while still having two jobs. Deciding to take my passion for hip hop to a professional level at 23. About how I’ve slept an average of 4 hours/day since. I even added a couple of cliches like:
“Work now, rest when you’re dead.”
All dude had to say was, “Damn man, if I don’t get at least 8 hours of sleep I’d really be out of it.” At least 8 hours? I also forgot to tell you that this guy isn’t in school, lives with his parents, and doesn’t even have a car note. Sleep should be the last thing on his mind.
Why would I think that he would be any different than what he was? After all, we live in the world of instant information at the touch of a phone, helicopter parents that hover around their kids continuously from birth until college graduation, bully laws that expel children from school districts because they called another child names, being rewarded for being especially mediocre so feelings and self esteem are intact, and becoming famous for doing stupid shit in a video on Youtube.
We are robbing the younger generation of the most precious human ability: To learn from and overcome adversity.
About four weeks ago, my fiance Janale Harris, whom most of you know as Quanster, called me from his job and asked me in a desperate, miserable voice if he could quit. It’s all too much, he said. This is killing me, he said. I can’t do it anymore, he explained.
I’d been watching the proof of his words for months. His job was indeed stripping away from him all the things he needed in order to be a happy and fulfilled person - for this man, that means, more than anything, time. Time to spend with his kids, time to spend with me, and time to work on his passion - his music and all the components to his massive, multi faceted creation that is First Team Music.
So, while my stomach dropped and my mouth went dry, and rapid flashbacks buzzed through my mind of the past four years - the struggles we have endured, the stress of not having enough money, of not knowing how we would pay rent or buy food or keep the power on or get the car out of the shop or get home on the bus for that matter - without even a second’s hesitation I said, “Okay.”
I guess I could say I’d seen it coming, which is true, but more so than that, to be in love with someone who dreams big dreams such as his means that you have to get used to taking risks and lending what I have come to think of as blind support. Not blind in that I am oblivious or blissfully ignorant to what the risks entail...but simply blind to the negativity that would strip us both of our faith in ourselves and each other and would truly be the downfall of everything.
Most people who achieve great success in anything will tell you they couldn’t have done it without the support and love of so and so. We as humans thrive on each other, on having someone to lean on. But with that said I think it’s incredibly difficult and even rare to be the one giving that “blind support.” It means taking leaps of faith almost daily. It means taking that thing which is so important in any relationship, trust, to a whole other level, and placing your future in your other’s hands and abilities.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one to sit back and simply “trust the universe.” I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t absolutely panicking inside as my husband to be leaves a semi-well-paying job that stressed him out and allowed no time for his business or his family for an absolute shit-paying-job that offers a lot of flexibility and room to grow. The only thing that comforts me enough to be able to sleep some nights is knowing that I have my own opportunities and resources to help us get by until Quanstar’s kingdom is finished being built. Which it will be.
And that’s just it...there is no doubt in my mind that Janale Harris will one day achieve it all, whatever that means. The world will know his message and his gifts, and we will never want for a tank of gas or the rent or a simple trip to the beach again. Maybe that’s what drives me so faithfully and quickly to my place of support when he needs it. Or maybe it’s just that I love him and I want him to be happy, and I hate to see him miserable and hurting because he isn’t pouring his heart into what he needs to be doing. Probably, it’s a mixture of both.
So yes, I told him to quit his job. Yes, I told him we would figure it out. Yes, I wrangled the kids and house that week in between his jobs as much as I could so he could devote as much time as possible to getting all of his projects that had been dumped to the wayside in the past several months back on track. Yes, I am still scared to death, but one month later, I see how much happier and...vibrant he is. The life is back in his eyes because he’s able to do what he loves to do, what he was born to do. He has stuff popping off in every direction. His book is out, something four years in the making...his app designs are perfected, his website done, the laundry is for once all folded and put away (that’s his only household job and it is NEVER done ;). Men!). I couldn’t resist throwing that last one in there.
I hope I’m not coming across as some golden shining martyr here because I’m not...believe me, over the years we’ve argued and I’ve had moments of resentment. I’ve had moments of intense panic, and acted like a big baby, and sometimes even now I wonder if I have some type of post traumatic stress syndrome because I get anxiety so quickly if we get a month behind on a bill or get a little carried away and spend too much at Target. Or when the check engine light on the car comes on, oh my GOD. I’ve wanted to tell him to go get a “real” job so that we could stop struggling. But then I wake up and realize that would kill his spirit and destroy the very thing that I love most about him - that drive to success and achievement that fuels him at all costs.
So, blindly supporting someone’s dreams is not easy. It’s not glorious. It’s not for the faint of heart. But...it’s necessary. If you’re going to be with a dreamer, you have to be with them 100%. And by the way, he absolutely would do (and has done) the same for me. When I wanted to spend the last of our savings on some jewelry that I “knew” would sell a couple of years ago, he didn’t even blink. When I decided to climb the ladder at my job and do whatever it took to get there as quickly as possible, he stayed up all night helping me make glazed orange rinds to go with the perfect coffee pairing to impress the higher ups. It does need to go both ways. (And yes - that jewelry sold AND made a fast profit, and I got to where I wanted to be at my job in less than a year. And I owe a LOT to Janale’s blind support and faith in me.)
Support is like a catalyst. It can be that final motivator that kicks you into high gear to get things accomplished. You want to prove to that person that they are not believing in a pipe dream. Human beings need that supportive shoulder. We need to know someone is on our side and has our back no matter what, no matter the risk, especially when we’re up against impossible odds.
To my Quanstar, I say, we’ve come this far...we’ve already endured a lot. Eventually your efforts will pay off, and I fully expect a belated honeymoon in Madagascar or Paris or Morocco or all three, and my house with a yard. Until then, I blindly support you and your endeavors and do all I can to make sure you know your hard work and dedication and drive WILL pay off.
In the meantime, I’ll go make you a pitcher of iced coffee because I know that when you get home tonight at midnight from your minimum wage job, you will be burning the midnight oil working on First Team Music and nurturing all of your many projects that you currently have in motion while I and our sons sleep. I am so proud of you.
Then I’ll leave the dishes for you because tomorrow is Mother’s Day, after all. See? Support : Give and take. :)
I have to make a confession...I don’t own an ipod. I have another confession to make...I don’t want to own an ipod. No... it’s not because I bought a company that manufactures portable CD players on the verge of bankruptcy. It’s because I find them simply to be very overpriced mp4 players with bells and whistles.
Think about it. Who really needs 16 gigs worth of memory in a music player? Before you say you do, understand how much 16GB worth of memory is. A sixth generation (whatever that means) 16GB ipod Nano holds about 4,000 songs. 4,000 songs? Who on earth has 4,000 songs that they want to hear? Hell, while I was researching the numbers for this article. I found out that they also have 32 and 64 gig ipods out as well that hold around 7,000 and 14,000 songs respectively.
Then I found out how much they cost. WTF? I will never pay $200 for any portable device that isn’t a phone. Instead I’d go get a plain ol’ 4GB mp3 player from Amazon for $25 plus shipping; however, I am in the minority on this one. The ipod sales have been off the charts, making Apple billions of dollars in the process. As a matter of fact, I’m the only person I know (besides my wifey) that has never owned an ipod. The road less traveled, I guess.
In the spirit of my precious NBA ending its lockout, I’m going to try something that may or may not work. I’m going to compare the ipod's entry into the market with the year Magic Johnson and Larry Bird entered the NBA.
Behind baseball and football, the NBA was a distant third in the world of American sports. Fourth if it was March Madness time, and it could've been fifth if the big names in boxing could have gotten their bodies to be able to fight once a month. Magic and Bird changed all of that with the 1980 NBA draft going to the Los Angeles Lakers (The greatest franchise ever!!) and the Boston Celtics (Busters on all levels) respectively. Playing on so many levels (Black versus White, East versus West, etc, etc), the NBA rose to pop culture status.
In much of the same way, only at a super accelerated pace, ipod became pop status. In no time, it has become the accepted brand of the masses...
...Now that I think about it, the two don't really have many similarities.
Even though Magic and that other guy from the team that I didn't really like blew into the league and took it over, most nationally televised games were still tape delayed until around 1984 because the ratings weren't there. Ipod's impact on the market was so fast and so immense that the music industry still hasn't caught up to and completely figured out how to get the most out of downloads. In fact, it all but sent CD's into obscurity. NBA hasn't managed to overtake its two counter parts as of yet.
Whatever meaningless contrast that I try as a means to show how happy I am that the Lakers are going to have a chance to avenge that lashing that we got by Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs, the one thing that is obvious is that The ipod changed the game. It is to portable music players what Starbucks is to coffee, Kleenex is to tissue, and Pampers is to diapers. It turned the industry on its ear by guiding the next evolution in music with itunes, and without it, i wouldn’t have had the opportunity to be here talking shit about it right now.
Quanstar is an American underground hip hop artist, indie filmmaker, comic creator, and self published author from Atlanta.