Hear from hip-hop scholar Scott Heath:
….The web has facilitated the entry of these less-heard voices. The Internet comes closer to democratizing production means and distribution means by allowing artists and audiences to circumvent the antiquated selection system, essentially scooting around some of the many middlemen, or at least by undercutting the influence of the other consolidated outlets. YouTube and MySpace—a couple of obvious examples—have contributed to the teetering state of the record industry as we have known it and to the scrappy celebrity of thousands of previously nameless individuals who have taken advantage of the technology at our disposal. I say “other outlets,” though, because, if there is some tension to be managed, it could lie in the fact that we haven’t seen all of the proprietary concerns regarding web content played out to their end. Even as current culture-sharing platforms present a serious alternative to the older models, it is important to remember that a lot of these outfits are ultimately controlled by corporate entities, too. So we have to carefully attend to the tough nuances if we want to sustain hip_hop’s “underground” possibilities.
…and many more!