There is no shortage of discouraging statistics about album sales, as physical sales decreased another 12.8% last year, bottoming out at 236.2 million units. According to Nielsen SoundScan, this is the fourth consecutive year sales have dropped. But in a recent interview with “The Come Up Show,” Pharoahe Monch looked for a positive spin on what seems to be another sign that physical albums are slowly dying out.
“It’s beautiful because, from a consumer’s perspective, the shit got way out of hand,” Monch explained. “The consumers were just like, ‘That’s not hot.’ You’ve got artists from the upper echelon all the way down to the underground doing their best right now because the shit ain’t selling. They’re grinding. Because of what’s going on, everybody’s putting in work. That’s dope for Hip Hop.”
Pharoahe said he’s still a Hip Hop fan, and shouted out artists such as Blu, The Roots and Sean Price. While many inside the industry are privy to free albums, Monch says he buys material from the artists he likes and gives his free, promotional copies to fans.
Monch said the change also impacted the way he put together his W.A.R. album, as he specifically chose more underground beats, even if they were made by producers who weren’t necessarily underground themselves. From a business perspective, Pharoahe changed his approach by changing some of his more complex rhyme patterns and aligning with Duck Down Records. He said the changes naturally shifted some of the pressures and rewards of being a professional artist.
“It’s on you,” Monch added. “What you put into it is what you get out of it. Going from coporate—I’ve always been on a major [label], and now I’m independent. It’s up to me…what I get out of it.”