clap clap blog: we have moved

Thursday, August 04, 2005
I had wanted to e-mail this to Sasha in response to his latest post, about why there are so few hip-hop best-ofs, but the address I have is not working, so I post it here instead.

Well, there are two possible reasons:

1) Some contractural thing that's standard for hip-hop acts involving the provisions for release of a best-of. Being utterly unfamiliar with the niceities of those particular contracts (do they all require the label to release at leat two mediocre albums by their hangers-on, no matter how well those albums actually do?), I can't tell you if this is the case.

2) The fact that they'd have to re-clear all the samples, and/or that the sideartist clearances they got for one or more of the guest shots explicitly excluded the track's inclusion on a best-of, which often happens. Now, you can re-clear the sample, and you can renegotiate with the guest artist's label to get clearance for the inclusion, but this all takes more time and money. As you say, there's no reason for the label NOT to release a best-of in terms of sales; they'd probably do pretty well. So near as I can figure, this probably means that the catalog is selling well enough that the additional expense (mainly legal / A&R admin, especially the cost of the new royalty advances to get the publishing and sideartist clearances, but also committed marketing, etc.--it's oodles cheaper to press more catalog than do a whole new release) makes releasing a best-of economically inefficient. This may be granting the labels too much credit, but I know they run a cost analysis before green-lighting any new release, and as you point out, there's just so many hip-hop acts that should have best-ofs that don't for it to be just an oversight.

Or, alternately, they are afraid that if they put out an album without any filler, people would stop buying the albums with filler. This seems ungenerous, though.

(Apologies if this seems to be turning into "clap clap blog: music industry news and gossip!")