by Carmen Van Kerckhove
Last week, the Atlanta police took a SWAT team to raid the offices of DJ Drama, one of the top mixtape producers in the industry. He and his partner Cannon were held without bail, and the police seized 81,000 CDs, as well as their recording equipment. The raid is speculated to have been prompted by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
What’s fascinating about this case is that while these mixtapes usually use beats without legal permission, in actuality, the record industry has always implicitly or sometimes even explicitly supported mixtapes, because of their ability to launch new artists. From 33jones, who has a great analysis of the story:
…record executives are just as implicit as Drama in the whole mixtape game. I receive numerous emails from label reps that mention the mixtapes that their artists are appearing on, and I have been sent leaked singles from upcoming albums from labels’ p.r. staffs. Where do you think these mixtape djs are getting all of their “exclusives” from? Yet you will never see a record label executive charged with what Drama is facing. Its ok for the execs to make some illicit money off of the underground market, but once someone outside of the system starts earning money off of it, its time to call in the SWAT team.
Also, check out Jay Smooth’s vlog entry below in which he breaks down the idiocy of the way this story has been handled in the mainstream media (though The New York Times seems to have gotten it right in the article they ran earlier this week):
[If you’re reading this in an RSS reader and can’t view the video, please click on the post title.]