Digital Music Catches Up With Fat Beats
At Fat Beats, it was not at all unusual to find professional and amateur DJs, and fans alike crowded around the store’s turntables to hear the latest that the musical genre had to offer. DJs and MCs were free to promote themselves among true hip hop aficionados. New sounds and new techniques were the order of the day at Fat Beats and many new artists found their inspiration there. The staff were hired based on their knowledge and love of hip hop,
Scratching has given way to electronic sampling and sound generation. Selling music has also been replaced by the digital download. And ultimately, that’s what’s brought Fat Beats to its current state. When it comes to music, digital is the way to go from production to distribution. Electronic music formats make not only professional production and distribution easier, it also enables self-publishing for individuals who – no matter how talented – escape the notice of the music publishing industry.
Fat Beats has closed its last retail store, but the company isn’t gone. It’s merely moving into the next phase of its existence. It has reinvented itself as a music label, and an online music retailer. Yes, it will still sell the vinyl that made its name, but it will also distribute music. Hip hop music fans can still count on Fat Beats to provide the best hip hop music collection available.
Digital distribution outlets like iTunes and Fat Beats give self-publishers a real opportunity to make the kind of music they want to make as well as an opportunity to be heard. Self-published music defeats the record label “‘gatekeeping” system that’s been established. The traditional system of music publishing meant that “hit” sounds and styles were copied precisely because the originals were successful, even though it meant that other original sounds – which might have had more public appeal – went unnoticed or unpublished.
Today, self-publication makes music anyone’s game. Anyone can come up with a club hit, a YouTube smash or just consistently good music that’s followed by a limited number of loyal fans.
Photo Credit: Incase, via Flickr