The code of the beat.

Beatmaker Career ‘Move’? New York Best Choice

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Recently, we’ve been having a discussion in the BeatTips Community about which locations are ideal for beatmakers to make a move to. The obvious top choices that undoubtedly came up were: New York, Miami, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. Indeed, each of these cities offer their own advantages, and unfortunately, disadvantages; however, for the “bang for the buck,” you just can’t beat New York.

The thing that makes New York the clear standout, in my book, is its independent business-friendly infrastructure. New York has always been one of the top portals for independent entertainment, and now with the virtual collapse of the major label system–the engine that used to easily drive the music industry–New York is even more ideal for upstart beatmakers with visions of creating their own music production outfit. Consider the facts:

Cultural Diversity
New York City is the melting pot of America. The number of cultures and sensibilities that mesh together in this city project a stronger sense of individuality, which subsequently, cuts down on the “follow-the-crowd” factor that can often permeate and pollute the grander music scene. This factor alone virtually assures any new musical entity with an open-minded audience.

Youth Pool
If you’re going to crack into the music business, you need a fan base. And there is no easier fan base to win, and unfortunately lose, than teenagers! Truth is, teenagers are the single biggest group most ready to mobilize into a fan base. They consume, (and are much more influenced by), the music industry more than any other group in America. This is not to say that they are “dead-minded followers;” on the contrary, teenagers are eager explorers. In fact, a great part of their existence depends upon their ability to create, spot, and/or participate in the latest and hottest trends. Hence, given the opportunity, teenagers will support any music that appeals to them… Finally, I should point out that New York City is home to the largest public school system in America. Over 1 million students presently make up the system that spreads throughout five separate–but interrelated–boroughs. Mind you, this number is expected to swell as more and more people move back to the city for a more culturally rich living experience.

Here, I must point out that this does not mean you should dumb down your music. Lately, teenagers have gotten a bad rap for being poor purveyors of good taste in music. But the fact is teenagers (on a whole) are far more forward-thinking and inclined to great music than many adults give them credit for… Need I remind you that it was teenagers who are solely responsible for the advent of hip hop/rap music! Kool DJ Herc, Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, Grand Wizard Theodore, Grand Master Caz, DJ Charlie Chase, LL Cool J, Rakim, Nas, Jay-Z, and MANY more were all “teenagers” when they broke on to the scene…

Indie Town
New York City is truly an “indie town.” It’s conducive to almost any kind of independent business that you can imagine, but it’s particularly well-suited for an independent hip hop/rap music enterprise. In the last two years, there has been an uptick in the launch of city venues that feature hip hop/rap music as the main ticket. Moreover, all of these venues are distinctly concerned with provided a balanced, more honest hip hop/rap music experience. That is, these venues are not underscored by a rotation of “radio hits,” but instead they are predicated upon offering a more authentic reflection of hip hop/rap music, a reflection that stands to offer new acts chances they might not otherwise get outside of New York City.

Also, it’s worth noting that New York is home to countless accessible former and current music insiders, business professionals, and business resources that can help you manage and expand your enterprise. And many of the nation’s key independent music distributors are headquartered in New York City.

-Sa’id

Articles, Music Business

About Author

Amir Said (aka Sa’id) is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of BeatTips. A writer, publisher, and beatmaker/rapper from New York, Said is the author of a number of books, including ‘The BeatTips Manual,’ ‘The Art of Sampling,’ ‘Ghetto Brother,’ and ‘The Truth About New York.’ He is also a recording artist with a number of music projects, including his latest album 'The Best of Times.' Follow him on Twitter at: @amirsaid and @BeatTipsManual