Jim Jones has enough experience in the music industry to offer some educated opinions on the subject. During a recent interview with The Breakfast Club, the Dipset vet was talking about his history in the music business when he lamented the way labels these days reward analytics — not talent.
“What’s so sad about what’s going on in the music industry [is] they don’t look for talent anymore, they look for numbers,” Jones said. “That’s scary because you can have the most bullshit talent and make the most bullshit record, and as long as that record go viral and click a number, there’s a label that’s gon’ give you a shitload of money just because of your analytics and your numbers. And they will skip over all the people that got talent that could be the next Michael Jackson or the next Drake or the next Dipset.”
He continued, “They skippin’ over all that if you don’t have your numbers and I know that whole-heartedly,” he continued. “That’s one of the things that I definitely would get back to changing in the game if I had the opportunity to get into the music industry as an executive again. ‘Cause we missin’ the talent and I’m not takin’ nothin’ away from no music that’s out there ’cause I like being lit, I like goin’ outside.
“All this music gives you different feelings, but I’m talking about when it comes to making different music and real music and giving people the opportunities that should be in the right spot when it comes to being successful, that’s what I want to dig into.”
Jones’ sentiments are essentially reflected weekly in the Billboard numbers. Analytics are the reason Lil Nas X is a superstar — not to say he isn’t talented, but he had one song (“Old Town Road”) go viral then suddenly he was performing the remix at the Grammy Awards next to country star Billy Ray Cyrus and charging over $1,000 for a pair of his customized “Satan Shoes.”
Why? Because that song was so popular it stayed at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart for a record-breaking 19 weeks and became the fastest single to receive a diamond certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) when it crossed the 10 million mark in October 2019.
An artist’s social media presence can also lead to record deals — just look at Bhad Bhabie. The 17-year-old rapper, who was formerly known as the “Cash Me Ousside” girl after her viral appearance on The Dr. Phil Show in 2016, landed a contract with Atlantic Records partly thanks to her massive online following, which she explained in an interview with HipHopDX in 2017.
“What would you do if you were put in the situation I was?” she said at the time. “And your mom put you on a TV show and you came home from a program, and you didn’t even know the latest music that was out — didn’t know anything. Your mom gives you your phone and you look on the Instagram explore page, and there’s a million pictures of you?
“Every other picture is a picture of you with something saying, ‘Cash me ousside’ on it and you don’t even remember that you said that. Then all of sudden somebody calls you and they’re like, ‘Hey do you rap, do you sing?’ And you say no, but they wanna manage you and say, ‘I think we can make something out of you.’”
Elsewhere in the interview, Jones was confident his rapping abilities are still top tier and is willing to go up against anyone. Speaking to DX earlier this month, Jones talked about his latest release The Fraud Department, which was only made possible after he reconciled with his longtime rival French Montana.
“We wanted to do an album after me and French settled our differences,” he said. “Me and Harry Fraud had been in touch, and we were able to have a real conversation where he was telling me about how he’d been following my career for so long and what Dipset and everything did for him, it was just pretty dope. I, in turn, had to tell him how fire his beats is and shit like that. So it was mutual respect, and mutual that we both wanted to work with each other, so we just started working.”