Five years ago, my lawyer said one simple sentence to me that I'll never forget, “Choose whether this is a business or hobby -- it can’t be both.”
From this time on, the powers that be in battle rap have been wracking their brains trying to figure out how to turn a hobby we are so passionate about into a successful business. For the record, I don’t necessarily agree with my lawyer’s statement, but I can see where it comes from. Maybe this is the psychology involved in preparing people to make tough business decisions, which brings me to an interesting question, is it right to turn battle rap into a business?
When I look at battle rap I see a gold mine, a potential multi-million dollar industry. I also see a bunch of individuals working hard creating leagues or micro managing business behind the scenes of this “industry” either not making money or barely breaking even. Then, I think about the fans. How would they feel if the videos they have been getting for free suddenly started costing money? Is there a compromise between the battle and business worlds outside of live events? Many people within the culture look to me for insight on this situation, but this is a topic that generally leaves me stumped. Then came Rap Grid.
At first, Rap Grid was a good idea, but lately its turned into a reality. After speaking with many excited leagues, we have decided to introduce the world of battle rap to On Demand and Pay Per View content. Think about the life cycle of movie distribution: theatres, dvd, media streaming services, paid cable subscriptions, and (maybe) basic cable. All these outlets exist to at least make sure primary investors see a return on the back end. Battle rap has no such structure. When I see people complaining about why millionaires don’t invest in battle rap, its because there is no guaranteed return on their investments; hence, we need a stronger business system. Of course, battle rap can’t have the same cycle as a movie (at least for now), but it has to grow from this non profitable system of “venue-to-youtube.”
On Demand and Pay Per View services will bring a better return to business investors and emcees not considered top tier will have an opportunity to be paid higher for their performances. This ultimately may mean a longer wait for free content, but would result in a raise in quality and faster turnaround times.
Lotta Zay vs Daylyt was the perfect battle to launch our On Demand service. It was close, the screenshot was intriguing, and fans are arguing over who rightfully won. We appreciate Logic and iBattle’s trust in our vision and all of the fan’s who have purchased the match. Both emcees are personal friends of mine that represent an entire wave of artists who don’t have the same opportunities as these “top tier” names. The result is top level performers being underpaid and the companies that struggle to fund these matches taking a loss. This is a chance for everything to change.