للشعب – For The People (Music For Syrian and Iraqi Refugees)
The music industry, much like a boy lost in a new neighborhood or a band of laid off, vacationing businessmen, is evolving in real time- reaching with keener senses in the dark for any and all opportunities to find a positive way, reiterate relevance, and generate income in new and unknown territories. Free digital file sharing and streaming have been deeming traditional methods of music distribution and revenue dead for well over a decade. The push and pull of big labels now seems less effective and appealing, while the innovative minds inside smaller collectives and artist-run labels is where the fertile soil of the music industry’s most crucial junction is flourishing, fearlessly authoring the future’s most curious state.
Instrumental hip hop musicians have found a niche of fans and modest income with Soundcloud. The streaming and sharing platform, initially populated with techno, remixes and live electronic sets, has fortuitously paved connections between beat makers and rappers through the site’s easy posting, tagging and connecting features. Instrumental musician profiles often advertise “Beats for Sale” while rappers peruse recommended streams for collaborative material, creating a social music network with the potential to facilitate production as much as it provides audible entertainment.
Small-time German label Jakarta Records took a turn to direct the possibilities of music even further today, announcing a compilation album of unreleased instrumental hip hop to raise money for the immediate support of Syrian and Iraqi refugees. Artists and friends of Austrian producer and beatsmith Brenk contributed tracks for the cause, building a 16-track album titled For The People that features down-tempo tunes for Dilla lovers by Shuko, IAMNOBODY, House Shoes and several more. This isn’t the first charitable album concept fronted by Jakarta; Sawtuha is a compilation of female artists from Libya, Tunisia and Egypt exercising their rights to freedom of expression. These female artists worked with various Jakarta producers to release a truly beautiful musical journey through French pop, Arabic infused hip-hop and accordion-heavy production.
For The People is a grassroots shot at creating positive economic value with music that as digital listeners we have come to recognize as free. Jakarta Records has a modest but dedicated following, and although its hip hop-heavy roster doesn’t see luxurious profits through music production, the shift in concept value of music demonstrated by For The People is an exciting venture out of the industry’s financially bitter, dark and digital turn.
Preview and pre-order For The People for €9 or on vinyl for €16 on Bandcamp. Check out the 3-track sample stream below until the compilation is released on October 24th.