Introducing... The Culture Report!

Here it is! Trapital’s first-ever report. This is a breakdown on the trends that matter most in music, hip-hop, and more. We have exclusive insights on how artists make money, earn streaming revenue, invest in companies, and use social media to level up.

You can download the report below or you read a preview below on our opening section.

Where does hip-hop go from here?

There have been more and more reports about the decline of hip-hop (here, here). The genre’s recorded music revenue still increased in 2021, but its share of revenue has declined:

What’s really going on here?

We found three key drivers behind the trend:

  1. Streaming’s continued growth

The entry barriers to release music are lower than ever. This has led to more fragmentation with both fans and artists. Music is no longer solely controlled by Western culture. And success is no longer the boom or bust that it once was.

A lot of hip-hop’s share of revenue has went to Latin music. In the streaming era, Latin artists can become superstars without “crossing over” to make English-language music. Artists from Latin America have gained considerable market share in recent years thanks to Bad Bunny, Ozuna, and many others.

But to be fair, Bad Bunny considers himself a rapper! It should still be categorized as hip-hop, even if it’s not from the U.S. Hip-hop culture is global, and genre categories should reflect that.

2. Early-mover advantages don’t last

Hip-hop artists and fans are often early to most new platforms. From MySpace Music to YouTube, from ringtones to streaming. The list goes on.

The high share of streams that hip-hop had in streaming’s rapid growth phase couldn’t last forever. Other genres have caught up.

3. The end of bundles and the limited vinyl supply

Let’s start with bundles first. In the late 2010s, artists bundled their albums with merch to place higher on the charts. It paved the way for artists like Travis Scott to have a full-on e-commerce bundle operation to boost sales for Astroworld in 2018. The short-lived sales tactic ended July 2020. It was the right call to end it (it was getting out of hand) but since rappers over-index on streaming revenue, the shift hurt hip-hop artists the most.

For vinyl, the legacy medium has been a bigger source of revenue for the music industry. But the supply chain issues have constricted supply, which alters demand. In 2022, several pop stars like Harry Styles and Taylor Swift have gotten vinyl releases on their initial release date, while hip-hop and R&B acts have waited months after their initial release for their vinyl debuts. This may be due to pop artists submitting their albums further in advance for the lead time required to press vinyl. It may also be due to labels prioritizing some artists over others given limited inventory. Either way, this leads to a huge sales swing that hurts hip-hop artists more than it helps.

Hope you enjoyed the preview! The full report has more insights on a few big topics:

– Who makes money in streaming?
– The power laws of music
– Music investing trends for both startups and catalogs
– The impact of TikTok, the monetization of Twitch, and a whole lot more

You can read The Culture Report here:

© Trapital LLC 2021