If you’re wondering where the future of writing and hip hop is headed, look no further than your own computer. It’s no secret that not just hip hop, but the whole music world, has gotten much more digital in the last ten years. In the past year alone we’ve seen huge artists like Jay-Z and Beyonce release their albums online before putting on shelves, and rappers like Kid Cudi have continued the trend with his release this year.
But how will this new reign of digitalization impact how hip hop is written and blogged about? Well, you don’t have to look too far, because it’s already happening. The big hip hop kings, the magazine’s and websites that once covered not just hip hop, but all aspects of music and pop culture are beginning to be replaced with smaller, independent blogs. Just take Rolling Stone and MTV for example. In 2012, MTV posted losses in ratings by over 30%, and Rolling Stone readership has declined heavily throughout the 2000s, leading to Rolling Stone to instead put most of their articles and features up online for free.
Internet usage has experienced exponential growth since 2000, and although it’s tapering off slightly, the number of people using the internet is still projected to keep growing, and by 2015 a whopping 2.5 billion people are projected to be using the web.
And that’s where MTV’s and Rolling Stone’s faults were; they didn’t adapt to that fact soon enough. Independent blogs like Hip Hop DX and Rap Radar popped up online and became the go to places for hip hop fans, while MTV and Rolling Stone were still focused on television and print publications.
With even more people projected to be using the internet, it’s paving the way for hip hop to become even more digital. It’s now easier than ever for anyone to go online and start blogging about things, which should be viewed as a good thing because there will be a multitude of places for people to view opinions and get music reviews. But it could have one negative impact on bloggers; lower income. Because anyone can create a blog, more and more blogs will be popping up, leading to viewership becoming more spread out depending on what blogs readers like. Because of this, there will be more blogs, but less views per blog, leading to less money for the hard-working writers. They’ll get less views, which means less money from ad revenue.
Which is why, in the future, it’s going to be key for bloggers to get a large viewership, and that means doing something completely original, something hasn’t been seen yet, which advances in technology will allow in a couple years. What it could it be? That’s a tough question to tackle, because it’s hard to predict future trends, but if I had to guess it would be 3D. Blogs that had the ability to project concerts and live shows in 3D would immediately blow up, and viewership would skyrocket.
But for bloggers worried about money right now and in the close future, just keep following the trends. Sure, odds are you’re not going to end up being a millionaire by creating a hip hop blog, but by doing something you know people find popular, you’re hedging your bets and at least ensuring you’ll make some money.
Because whether we like it or not, hip hop on the internet is here to stay.