Original publish year: 2014
Being an entertainer is a job which makes rapping a profession. A rapper may not clock in at consistent times nor work in a cubicle but at the end of the day, they do work. But how much is that work worth? We are living in an era where going to a concert will cost you an arm and a leg, and is that fair? Are what these entertainers doing on stage worth the equivalent to my rent or have their heads been filled with arrogance and greed?
In a recent “Dead End Hip Hop” vlog Myke C-Town passionately expressed his views on Kanye West’s ticket pricing.
“I made you.” Myke said. “I bought your albums and now you’re going to come to town and say I have to pay $200 to see you perform the songs that you may not have ever been able to make if I had not bought your albums? Fuck you.”
Myke had a valid point. We as consumers and fans make the artist. We build them up, we act as free promoters and most importantly we control their albums sales yet as soon as they gain major popularity our contributions go unacknowledged and we’re charged $500 to enter their show. Fair? I think not but I’m willing to play devil’s advocate.
With success comes an expense. Booking bigger venues, obtaining performance wardrobe and hiring an efficient staff can be expensive. The average ticket buyer may not take into account that so many behind the scenes costs add up to be great amounts. I get it, more money more problems. And I know that artists don’t directly control their pricing of tickets but they do have a say which makes me still have to side with Myke on this.
For example, have Beyonce and Jay Z forgotten who their audience is? We once related to this couple and now we can’t keep up. Jay Z, there’s a young man out there jamming your 1997 songs wishing to make it out of the hood just like you. This young man finds inspiration within you and dreams to see you in concert but unfortunately to be close to the stage at the “On the Run” tour costs $1000. Newsflash, $1000 is too much for a young man still hustling in the hood. It appears that Jay and many others like Jay have decided to value the money that some can offer over valuing the support most can only offer.
Rap is a process and I believe that every artist should get the pay that they deserve. It’s sometimes hard to determine what each artist deserves because talent varies as well as show production but I do know that pricing concert tickets out of the price range of what an average fan can afford is unfair. It’s like a slap to the face. After relating to them, believing in them and supporting them they shut us out because of the little amount of money we have? The same amount of money they once had when they first started rapping.
We as consumers and fans of these high priced acts need to step up and challenge the price tag of their concert tickets. Wait for the tour DVD to drop, wait for the Fuse version to air and/or wait for the HBO special to debut instead of going to these expensive concerts. Make it known to these artists that we aren’t going to allow them to have a sold-out show at our expense. Yes, being an entertainer is a job and in no way should be undermined but with that job you need consumers. And those consumers should never go unappreciated and should never be cheated.
Artists, simply remember to value your success and the art itself rather than trying to gain every penny possible because you may be jeopardizing the support of the people who got you where you are. Art over money.