3) RAPPERS OF THE WORLD UNITE: YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BUT STREET CRED
Mix tapes of a different kind have come under scrutiny with an RIAA-sponsored police bust of Kim’s Underground, a renowned East Village chain of hip but snooty stores that sell not-exactly-legal copies of hard-to-find CDs, videos, and DVDs. The bust was apparently intended to stifle the sale of hip-hop “mixtapes.” Kelefa Sanneh writes in today’s New York Times as follows:
“In its war against illegal music distribution, the [RIAA] has often treated…”musicians and record companies” as one and the same, arguing that piracy-happy fans are hurting the artists they love. But when it comes to hip-hop mixtapes, it is in a trickier position: the artists themselves often help produce the same mixtapes that the association is trying to squelch, and shrewd record labels long ago figured out that mixtapes can help drive sales of conventional CD’s.
So while … the trade group representing the labels cracks down on those who sell them …. who goes to jail? Well, suffice it to say that the police haven’t arrested any of the major-label record executives who profit from the hype generated by mixtapes.”