COVID-19 pandemic causes significant changes in rap industry


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Eian Malloy, Staff writer

As a result of the COVID-19 virus, all large gatherings have been canceled including live music events such as concerts, music festivals, and more. Live performances can make up about half of a rapper’s annual income. This varies depending on how well respected they are. This makes it more difficult for up and coming rappers that can not live off making music yet. 

“Going to big concerts used to be my favorite thing to do before carona, now I have to settle for listening to music on my phone,” said Noah Belote, senior.

According to a mid-year report by Nielsen Music/ MRC Data, streaming music on apps like Spotify, Apple Music or Pandora is 20.4% higher than in 2019. However, physical album sales have gone from being up 4.6% from last year to down 20.3% by June. Luckily, the increased streaming of music makes up for the decrease in album sales and then some. As of June, the total audio consumption was up 10 points from 2019, 85% being made up by live streaming. Listeners have streamed enough music since January to equal 361.2 million album sales.

“Why would I worry about selling a physical album when I can just release music on something like spotify which would probably get more listens?” said Quinton Smith, a young rap artist and student at Wake Tech Community College.

Many rap artists have made music relating to the outbreak. Psych, a south London rapper, made a  track called “Spreadin”. The track relates to the virus in a humorous way but also includes warnings about keeping your distance and washing your hands. There are many songs about the pandemic ranging from cautionary tales like washing your hands to a rant by Cardi B which was made into a song that made number eight on the iTunes charts and number 69 in the UK.

“I can’t wait to see these new songs live once quarantine is over,” said Belote.