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Don't let your friends steal the entire NYE spotlight from you.





Don't let your friends steal the entire NYE spotlight from you.



Ever wondered why Canadian Rap and R&B artists always seem to be two steps behind their American counterparts? Are Canadian artists really worse? Is it a lack of innovation? A lack of funding perhaps? In his article entitled "Music for the Eyes", Smiles takes a look at the Canadian Urban music industry and its artists.

by Smiles

Now let me begin by stating that although the U.S. does have incredible urban music artists, it is my strong belief that Canada has some of the best musicians worldwide. Indeed, in country, alternative and contemporary rock music, Canada has clearly proven that its artists possess an edge over much of their generic American competition. However, Canada appears to have been perennially catching up to the States in terms of Hip Hop and R&B. Why is that? This issue is far more complex than could possibly demonstrated in two pages, but from an artist's point of view there seem to be two main reasons: demographics and psychographics of the domestic market, and authenticity. Let's take a look at the first factor.

IMAGE IS EVERYTHING?

While demographics simply refer to the physical characteristics (such as age, race, gender etc.) of the population of a given country, psychographics encompass the lifestyle characteristics, values, opinions and attitudes. Now that being said, why do I believe Canada's demographics and psychographics put certain musical genres and its artists in a situation of disadvantage? I'll explain. First, although some may not want to admit it, the truth is that successful country, soft rock and alternative music artists are recognized more for the sound, quality and content of their music whereas successful Pop, Hip-Hop and R&B artists are recognized greatly due to their image. However, although it is clear that some styles of music focus more on image rather than music or vice versa, none emphasize only on 100% image or 100% music. Now you may be asking yourself "What the hell does image have to do with demographics and psychographics?"; this brings me exactly to my second point. Creating and promoting an image that sells is very expensive… not thousands of dollars expensive but millions of dollars expensive. Not only does the United States have a larger pool of domestic consumers to draw from, but they also have more of an established urban music fan base. Furthermore, America has been known as a nation of trendsetters, and this concerns especially the entertainment industry. Consumers from other countries do not only look at what the American artist produces, but also at what the American consumer purchases. For many artists to gain any type of international notoriety they simply must penetrate the American market. However, while US artists and their labels can afford to invest millions and focus on the image of the artist rather quality of his music to sell records because the demographics and psychographics of their domestic market allow them to; something that is not yet the case in Canada. However, it's also pretty obvious that Canadian music artists must not adopt this philosophy of "image is everything" to push records, for when they do they often sell images that no one is buying (i.e. Maestro Fresh Wes rapping next to "His" Bentley or Choclair portrayed as a "babe-magnet"). Now lets take a look at that authenticity factor.
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