Impact Of Internet And Digitalization On Hip-Hop


Hip-Hop was developed in the United States in 1970. Basically, hip-hop has five elements that are MCing/rapping, Djing, Breakdance, Beatboxing and Graffiti with the universal element being Knowledge. As a matter of fact, the genre got its recognition when block parties became popular in New York city. Mainly because of the youth residing in the Bronx. Furthermore, the 80’s marked the diversification of hip-hop, as the genre developed more complex styles.


Additionally, mid-1980’s and 1990’s era was the golden period of hip-hop. Artists like Juice Crew, Public Enemy, Eric B, Rakim, Boogie Down Productions and KRS-One, EPMD, Slick Rick, Beastie Boys, Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane, Ultramagnetic MCs, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest to name a few contributed to the growth of the genre. It is this element which diluted with time but has resurrected. However, on this article, we will talk about the impact of internet and digitalization on hip-hop.

Hip-Hop Before The Internet

Before the internet, hip-hop artists were majorly dependent on the record labels which agreed to sell their music at a next level, under certain conditions which usually gave the record label more money from each sale than the artist. As a matter of fact, hip-hop artist was not able to make a big share on their albums. Whether it’s royalties or a percentage of profit, hip-hop artist always got suffered.

Record label(Image Source – Google)

Moreover, many artists were in debt as well because creating and producing an album is a not an easy task. That’s the main reason why most of the artists broke their deals with record labels as they put all their hard work and their money for an album and still, they were getting a small percentage of royalty on their music.

Hip-Hop After The Internet

In the 21st century, record sales saw a major dip because of the rise of peer-to-peer file sharing. Peer-To-Peer Sharing is distribution and sharing of digital media using peer-to-peer (P2P) networking technology. It allows users to access media files such as books, music, movies, and games using a P2P software program that searches for other connected computers on a P2P network to locate the desired content.


p2p(Image Source – Google)

Also, the record sales were heavily affected by the illegal downloading. All things considered, we know that hip-hop started out as an underground genre with no support from the general public. As the time passed, hip-hop saw some major success and again, most of the hip-hop artists began to depend on the record companies so that their music could reach a mass audience. Also, the internet provided each and every artist with a new way to sell music, without dealing with record companies.

Impact Of Digitalization On Hip-Hop

Every artist wants his music to be shared at a mass level. For this, many hip-hop artists started creating mixtapes and distributed it on the internet. Rapper Lil Wayne is the perfect example who rose to fame after he put his mixtape online for streaming and downloading. Accordingly, he did not get any kind of profit from the mixtapes but it helped him indirectly.

Also, Lil Wayne mentioned that “he wants to collect the feedback from the listeners by putting out his mixtape on the internet”. This helped him to create his best-selling commercial album “Tha Carter III”. As a result of this, “Tha Carter III” was the top-selling record of the year in the United States.

Lil wayne

It also won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album that year. Nowadays, many hip-hop artists across the globe are following the same path. Atlanta based rapper Russ also got famous when his tracks went viral on various social platforms. Platforms like SoundCloud and Reverbnation also play a crucial part in promoting the music of an upcoming artist and helped them to access a wider audience.

Impact Of Blogs

Blogs play a crucial role in the modern days of hip-hop. In western countries blog sites like XXL, help an amateur artist to post their music to audiences on their website. On the other hand, for South Asian countries like India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, is doing the same.

We at believe in “Unity Through Hip-Hop” and we try to bridge down the gap between the mainstream and the underground hip-hop scene. We always try to support the upcoming talent and we will continue to do this for the rest of our lives.

How Social Media Helped In The Growth Of Hip-Hop

Social Media is a very powerful medium. As a matter of fact, in a short period of time, social media software, apps, and sites have become another audience-building resource available to artists. Thus social media allowed them to release their music independently. These social platforms help to make them a master of their own brand on their own terms.

With the help of social media, the gap between the artist and the fans is now being bridged. Fans can interact with their favourite artist on their social media handles like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. In fact, through photos, videos, and tweets, you can see what your favourite artists are doing day to day and hear their opinions on a variety of topics.

But Wait, There Are Some Disadvantages Of The Internet As Well

As the technology got advanced, it led to some serious problems as well. With the increased use of social media and various sites, the independent musicians are finding it hard to survive in this business. There are few points which I want to shed some light on for our viewers:

  • Piracy

Nowadays, Piracy is becoming a threat to most of the artists. From big stars to independent artists, all are facing the same problem that is piracy.


Talking about the desi rappers, recently Badshah’s brand new track “Mercy” was leaked online just before the release. If the big stars are not safe from such things then what would the independent artist do. People always share some or the other shittiest things on their social media. But, they never share any work of an independent artist. A country like India is going through this problem where people are making shit tracks viral and no one is supporting good music.

As a matter of fact, they also never buy their favourite artist’s music legally. They always try to get the song for free or from the sites which offer them free downloads. This is going to kill the music industry in the coming years. If everyone starts buying the music or started streaming the music legally, piracy will automatically get demolished.

  • No Craze About The Live Concerts

In the yester-years, people used to go to watch their favourite artist on their live concerts. There is always a mad energy to see them live in front of your eyes. But, with the increase of social media and the artists going live on their respective social media handles, peoples have less craze about the live concerts of their favourite artist.

Live Concerts

Sites like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter have made it possible to reach hundreds of thousands of people all together under one roof. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube, the artist can go live and talk to their fans which was not possible in the previous years.

  • Social Media Hate

Social media is a platform where you can interact with the people of your own interest. But, there are some other people as well with who don’t get along very well. This is becoming a serious problem as most of the time people hate on each other, abusing and making nasty comments on the social media platforms.

Social Media Hate

Most of the time, these people are busy fighting with each other on their favourite artist’s fan page. If you don’t like his/her work, kindly unfollow them or don’t listen to them. But instead of this, they start abusing the artist on their social media. Likewise, we have always witnessed Bohemia’s fans abusing Yo!Yo! Honey Singh, Raftaar, and Badshah and vice-versa.

We hope this article was useful and gave you an insight about the world of Hip-Hop on Internet. Share your views with us!