Three-day event runs Sept. 19-21.
Chuck D, founder of pioneer rap act Public Enemy and recording-music entrepreneur, has blasted the major record labels for failing to understand urban music and not exploiting the genre digitally for the growing number of baby-boomer consumers.
Speaking yesterday (Sept. 19) at the Mobile Content World event in London’s Olympia Conference Centre, he came to explain the potential international reach of Chuck D Mobile, his mobile-music venture.
However, during his Q&A keynote interview, he accused the big labels of encouraging emerging urban acts to focus on the excessive, but not always realistic, revenues they could earn, instead of the music.
“Once the corporations get their hands on it (hip hop and rap), there are more diminishing returns,” he said in explaining why he set up Web portal rapstation.com in 1999, and the more recent online label Slamdanz Records. “I got weary of delivering my content to the middle men, and then had to go through more middle men at the radio stations before getting to the public.”
By allowing artists and producers to set up their own interactive pages on rapstation.com, “we were MySpace before MySpace,” he added.
He said the Internet, and now mobile phones, as distribution platforms opened up new opportunities for unsigned acts. But, as soon as a major label picks them up, the original artistic objectives get lost.
“Big corporations come into the business with a gold rush mentality to make a killing, but that is not the same as making a living. I hate the over-corporate treatment of hip hop.”
He is also trying to encourage all artists, plus veteran African-American chart-toppers, to use wireless handsets as distribution tools for reaching new audiences.
“Twenty years ago, you could not make a record because you couldn’t get into a studio, and when you finally did, you couldn’t get anyone to make the video," the artist tells Billboard.biz. "Now that small screen (of mobile devices) has balanced out the big businesses.”
Slamdanz is expecting to bring out 12 albums this year, including recordings by the all-girl combo Crew Grrl Order. Additionally, Chuck D Mobile will be targeting consumers up to the age of 55 years old with ringtones, voicetones and ringback tones from veteran acts Bootsy Collins, George Clinton, Jamaican and veteran reggae rhythm sessions Sly & Robbie, and some rap pioneers MC Lyte, Mos Def, and Jazzy Jeff.
The three-day Mobile Content World (Sept. 19-21) is organized by Terrapin, an international trade-events company.