six-degrees-blog-cover1It’s something a huge percentage of outsiders want to be a part of, but if they knew the ins and outs of the “business,” would they rethink their goal of trying to secure the “all-holy” record real, in order to pursue a career in music?

With albums sales slumping faster than President Bush’s approval rating when he was in office, (thank the Internet for that) the way record companies once did business are a thing of the past.

The million dollar videos, and insane advances have been evaporated, and now the majority of labels now only signing artists to 360 Deals.

For those who don’t know: A 360 Deal is when a label shares in ALL the profits from an artist, from their concert sales, merchandising, endorsement deals, etc…

So in this edition of Six Degrees Of Separation, [Click for previous editions] artists like The Alchemist, Billy Danze from M.O.P., Royce da 5’9″, the Clipse, and Naledge from Kidz In The Hall all weigh in on how the industry is, and where they think it’s headed…

[Click on names to read individual interviews]

iHipHop.com: How do you feel about the current state of the music industry?

naldge-11Naledge: I think it’s getting better in some aspects, but obviously the economy overall is different, at least during my time in the music industry… But the good thing is you don’t have to be on a major label to make money…

I think the bad thing about the industry now is that artists are forced to wear more hats, and they have to let the fans in more than ever before…

It’s not just about the music, and the show, because people really want to know who you are… So if your sound is the only thing that you have to stand on, then you don’t really stand a chance…

al-1Alchemist: It’s like in the water when there’s a storm… It’s really uncertain…

In a minute, they’re going to do the same thing that they did with the auto industry: The government is going to take it over, and start regulating it…

I really don’t have too much of an opinion on the business side, because I’m a producer and I’m an artist…

I feel like it really doesn’t matter where it goes, because we’re like the roaches of this industry, because we survive when the bomb drops…

royce-1_phixrRoyce da 5’9″: I think it’s getting a little better… It was really bad at one point, and I don’t even know at what point that was…

Hip-Hop has always done what I thought it would do, it’s getting better… Especially with [us] forming that group… [Click for Slaughterhouse review] I thought it was impossible for four egos to get together, and not clash…

But so far, it’s looking like we can do this sh* t for five albums… So I think that’s a good thing for Hip-Hop… You got new people coming up like Wale and Drake, and that’s also good for Hip-Hop… It’s looking up, and you still got the vets…

Jay-Z [Click for album review] is looking like he still got it, Nas, Fab [Click for Fabolous video interview], and Kiss [Click for Jadakiss interview] is coming out doing numbers… It’s getting better, but when that ring tone stuff was popping, it wasn’t cool to me… So it’s changing, and it’s getting better…

clipse_9602-1_phixrPusha T: The game has changed; you know what I’m saying? It’s changed for the worker… The work you put in is definitely the same amount that you’re going to get out of it…

What the label lacks now, it’s always left up to the artist these days to provide… They only want to see a dollar signs, or things that are going to generate the dollar sign…

A few labels don’t understand how to cultivate that street heat or that street presence, which at the end of the days adds up to everything that we’re looking for… So it’s up to you to do that…

Malice: I think the politics take the fun out of it, especially when people drop the ball… That becomes a little disheartening, and then you have to worry about getting your product into the proper hands, and just all the things that you shouldn’t have to think about…

We’re artists, so we like to be creative… But at the same time you’re creative, you have to make sure “so-and-so” is doing their job, then you have to get your record played on the radio; it’s just a big snowball effect… I like to just concentrate on the music…

Pusha T: Adding that is just how these record labels downsized, and it’s totally effecting the artist… People are so fearful for their jobs right now, and it’s to the point where they’re trying to look good in their aspect of work, versus the whole scope of the project.

They’re not all working together saying, “Yo, we’re going to make this project win.” They’re going to say, “Well, I don’t know what the record sold, but I have a number one hit over here.”

moppressphoto_phixr21Billy Danze: I think for the artist it’s gotten better, because now the artist understands that the companies need us, and we don’t need them… People talk about how CD sales are down, the sales are down, but the downloads are up…