Music & Life

LOL Alert – Kanye West Owes Me $300

No one really knows whether the recently released hip-hop memoirs of Jensen Karp’s “Kanye West Owes Me $300 and Other True Stories from a White Rapper Who Almost Made it Big” has something to do with the rapper’s Twitter rant sometime in February this year twitting that he has $53 million in debt. Nobody questions the incorrigible arrogance, egotistic, pretentious, and very superficial nature of Kanye West. In fact, it would seem to run in the Kardashian family. The memoirs of Karp, formerly known as Hot Karl, puts into perspective the journey of someone in the music industry.
Functioning as more than just a tell-all book, the KWOM $300 is more about chronicling the journey of a white kid growing up in LA and learning to love and become passionate about rap music. The book tells the story of a young man who, despite surrounding himself with everything rap, still failed to realize his dreams of making it big. It talks about how perseverance and determination to find what really is more meaningful can be one of life’s greatest mysteries that can only be revealed at the most opportune time. The superbly unsentimental book talks about how the white rapper found writing his memoirs as a hip-hop artist who almost made it big to be the act that is going to make him famous – not the music that he has dedicated his life to achieving.
Going back to Kanye West in the book, the choice of the lead character is not surprising as many do believe that KW is not nearly a good person as what the music industry wants you to believe. As Jensen Karp puts it, everyone laughs behind Kanye West’s back. People may be good and diplomatic to him when he is in the room, but the same cannot be said once he turns around and closes the door.
Imagine Kanye West wearing outrageously baggy jeans, rapping in front of visibly annoyed, uninterested, and disgusted waitresses in restaurants in New York’s Times Square. Now imagine KW disrupting Taylor Swift’s VMA Awards speech in 2009. Imagine as well when KW only has his braces to show off as his bling. Now, he cannot even go out without flashing something glittering. If he cannot even pay a measly $300, no wonder he’s down $53 million.
Should you care? Obviously, Karp’s book simply reinforces what everyone else already knows about KW.

Music & Life

Leveraging Big Data in the Music Industry

One of the most frustrating aspects of being an artist in the music industry is that it takes a painfully slow and often arduous process of getting paid no matter how tempting it is to think that the digital age is supposed to be a harbinger of lightning speed processes. While the whole process of churning out music, producing them, and finally releasing and distributing them has been made a lot easier by technology, unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the return process. The sales from digital purchases simply are not getting to the artists, publishers, and labels at a fast enough pace.
But before you burst your bubble, it is important to recognize one particularly disheartening fact. A great majority of companies that provide music streaming services still use the old way of managing big data in that everything is still stored in physical storage media. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. Many of the data come in formats that are not really compatible with the accounting systems of publishers or labels. And while music companies do have individuals who can encode these data into their recommended format, many of these individuals are simply not well-versed with what needs to be done.
Now, of course, the solution there is to have music companies to overhaul their music accounting platforms. And this requires substantial investment because you are not only looking at software upgrades, you are also looking at possible replacement of hardware. It is therefore not unexpected to see some artists really complaining about how the music industry has lagged behind in the technology race.
Well, not anymore. Two companies are leveraging big data like never before. Kobalt Music and DistroKid are two platforms that are now helping music artists become more actively involved in the accounting of their music creations. Kobalt Music allows musicians, singers, songwriters, and other members of the music industry to receive real-time information on their earnings. To date, Kobalt Music has more than 8,000 music artists and songwriters such as music icons Paul McCartney, Gwen Stefani, and Kelly Clarkson, just to name a few. DistroKid, for its part, is especially geared for the aspiring artist and songwriters. The company allows bands and artists to submit their works to various digital distributors such as iTunes and Spotify, among others where they can have a highly reliable accounting of their royalties.
Music digital aggregators Kobalt Music and DistroKid may be showing others in the music industry how things need to be done. Unfortunately, only time will tell if others will follow suit.