Tech Rocks: Using the Internet, the Vocal Chuck D and the Legendary Nile Rodgers Are Once Again Shaking Up the Music Industry. (Technology)

By Aguirre, Holly | Black Enterprise, July 2002 | Go to article overview

Tech Rocks: Using the Internet, the Vocal Chuck D and the Legendary Nile Rodgers Are Once Again Shaking Up the Music Industry. (Technology)


Aguirre, Holly, Black Enterprise


CHUCK D AND NILE RODGERS ARE WHAT YOU'D CALL "OLD SCHOOL" IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY. BUT THEY'RE teaching us new lessons about music and technology. Chuck D, 41, the charismatic front man for the groundbreaking, politically and socially outspoken hip-hop group Public Enemy, began promoting hip-hop acts in New York City in 1979, Nile Rodgers, 49, started his career at 16 making music on Sesame Street before heading up the musical group Chic and later producing hits for artists such as Madonna, Sister Sledge, Diana Ross, and David Bowie. Chuck and Nile share a vision of what the industry should be, and they are using technology to realize that vision.

Both artists are banking on the success of their online ventures: Chuck (photo above right) heads up Rapstation.com and SlamJamz.com, and Nile launched the Nile Rodgers MP3 Dance Club (www.mp3danceclub.com) last year. Their companies use MP3 (Motion Picture Experts Group, audio layer three) file-sharing technology, a format used for compressing audio to transmit as files at near-CD quality over the Internet. Everyday millions of people upload, download, and share MP3 files, but most big record labels have not embraced the technology for fear of Napster-like situations--the widespread distribution of copyrighted materials without the company's (of the artist's) consent. Granted, the labels do have a point. At its height, Napster had more than 1.5 million users distributing nearly 3 billion MP3 files without paying for any of it. And there are many other sites like Napster waiting in the wings. But while neither Chuck nor Nile advocate piracy, they don't view file sharing as a negative. Rather, they see it as a way for artists to control the distribution of their work and put more of those dollars in their own pockets, not those of their labels. So, yes, Chuck and Nile see things differently.

Why take on the music industry? The son of political activists, Chuck says he remembers the impact that his parents' ideals had on him. "[They] inspired me to be independent and always go against the grain if the grain was not helpful to the whole cause." Known for his candid, if not bold, statements, Chuck is quick to add, "I don't go against the grain for the grain's sake. I go against the grain because I see right now there may be a BLACK ENTERPRISE magazine where you're encouraging people to go into the market and to have control. The reality is that big business smashes that foundation."

When Public Enemy parted ways with their label, Def Jam, in 1999 after disputes about digital distribution (Public Enemy was the first major group to release an album online--1998's There's a Poison Going On), Chuck decided it was time to take charge. He is an outspoken advocate of the artist's right to release music online, independent of the label, thereby retaining control of his of her career.

"One of the most frustrating things about big business [is] the cost of marketing and promoting hip-hop and rap music through the traditional venues like radio and television. The cost factor could run as much as seven figures," says Chuck, "[and] the only ones that could afford to market of promote the traditional venues were the five major labels [that] could all sneeze at a million dollars going down the drain." Chuck now uses his Websites as his distribution channel as well as for promoting new and existing talent. RapStation.com boasts approximately 250,000 visitors per month and has more than 100,000 members.

Chuck anticipates that sites like SlamJamz.com will form a third tier to the music industry, a tier that includes and embraces the black artist. "When it comes down to us black folks and our knowledge of this business, which has been around for a hundred years, the majority of us are clueless, [yet] we are some of the biggest consumers. What I am trying to do is get people to stop thinking only as consumers and get into the participation as a manufacturer and [into] the production of it. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Tech Rocks: Using the Internet, the Vocal Chuck D and the Legendary Nile Rodgers Are Once Again Shaking Up the Music Industry. (Technology)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.