December 15, 2008

NIÑO Interview by LatinoHiphop.Org

We had the pleasure of sitting down with NIÑO and talking with him about his career, plans for the immediate future, and his advice to other artist's.

Wishing you continued success!

Cristopolis Dieguez

December 12, 2008

Indie Musician Advice from Derek Sivers

Derek Sivers is the founder of CD Baby, and an icon within the independent music community. In this video he gives us a gem on something that we can do immediately to push our music careers forward.

Wishing you continued success!

Cristopolis Dieguez

December 11, 2008

Shift Happens 2008

This amazing video captures within 5 mins. the core of the technological revolution we are currently experiencing around the world.

Wishing you continued success!

Cristopolis Dieguez

December 8, 2008

The Difference Between Leadership & Management

What is the difference between leadership and management?

How do these differences apply to your career?

A few key differences are that management involves planning, organizing, and achieving the results you have set out in your mission.

Leadership on the other hand involves having a vision that becomes the overarching inspiration and driving force behind the mission.

As an independent artist you are very likely wearing both of these hats or at least one.

In leading you will find that imagination is needed in order to develop a vision for your career. It will be your belief and constant work towards your vision that will inspire others to follow you.

But in managing yourself you will need to cultivate a completely different skill set. You will face the challenge of dividing your vision into smaller achievable goals which through consistent work you accomplish. As you move forward in accomplishing the goals you've set for yourself you will be able to measure results, capitalizing on what is working.

Leading and managing, are related, intertwined, and perhaps inseparable, yet they remain fundamentally different disciplines.

Each of which you must master.

Wishing you continued success!

Cristopolis Dieguez

December 6, 2008

The Cool, the Niche, and the Ugly

Cool the ability of remaining cutting edge, relevant, trendy. Continually being at the forefront of the next big thing. Having confidence, calmness, and composure.

Honestly, who doesn't want to be cool?

Niche, a segment marginalized or overlooked by the masses. As an independent artist one of the fundamental keys of long term success is to identify a niche you can build a community around. By doing this you gain the opportunity of cultivating a meaningful dialogue with them. The relationship you develop with them allows you to contribute, facilitate, and lead. If you successfully achieve this your community will grow with you, inspire you, and more importantly support you.

The ugly in this title refers to only achieving cool or niche but not both.

Without cool your niche will sooner than later move on to the next person that manages to give them cool and simultaneously satisfies their niche interest.

Without a niche you will have no one to follow your trendsetting.

With this in mind I present to you the magic formula:


Wishing you continued success!

Cristopolis Dieguez

December 4, 2008

The True Meaning of Grind

Are you on your grind?


Well what does that mean for you?

Define it?

Too often independent artist's are just busy, going to networking event after networking event. From free shows, to benefits, to showcases you have to sell ten tickets for (or dish out the money yourself). This is done in the ever elusive pursuit of "getting out there'.

But this is not the true grind.

I will share with you the true grind, but I'm sure you're not going to like it. It's not as easy as being busy. It's not shiney, it does'nt sparkle, and you have to be much more humble, persistent, and intelligent.

The true grind is having a steady income, so that your bills and responsibilities are taken care of. In turn you will have money to invest in yourself, and in your music. This is challenging because you only have so many hours in a day, and only so much energy.

This is where the grind happens.

After work you have to come home and work on your craft, everyday.

Every single day!

Even if it is only for one hour. The more time you can dedicate the better, but you have to develop a routine of productivity. You have to master your craft. Then you take that hard earned money and invest it in yourself, intelligently. Find a great studio, work with a great producer, get great pictures taken, go to important conferences, join professional music organizations, and only book important or well paid gigs.

Learn. Grow. Polish. Persist. Re-imagine. Then repeat. Do this over and over again with an unrelenting spirit of enthusiasm and optimism and you will go far. This is not work harder, this is work smarter. This is not 2 years in NY or LA trying to make it, this is a life journey.

Are you ready.

Wishing you continued success!

Cristopolis Dieguez

December 3, 2008

Get a Website Today

For the last 3 years I have used a company named Dynamod for my personal website.

They provide hosting and a wide variety of flash CMS (content management system) templates. Which basically means that with little to no knowledge on how to build a website you can fully manage and maintain your very own.

Dynamod has alot of features aside from their sleek designs and ease of use such as their analytics module. The analytics module allows you to see where people visiting your site are from, down to the city, country, and flag. Additionally there is a complete mail manager which allows you to manage your email list and to design newsletters. They also make it easy for you to add a favicon, to add podcasts to your homepage, and an RSS feed for your community to follow your updates.

The best part about it is that they are very affordable with plans starting as low as $10.99 a month.

Wishing you continued success!

Cristopolis Dieguez

December 2, 2008

The End of the Album

The dawn of the album era began in the early 1960's.

This was primarily due to technological advancements in recording music to vinyl, namely the creation of the long play record.

Record companies developed a business model around 'albums' which we have become familiar with; a lead single, followed by an album, and a tour to promote the album. A band would repeat this cycle about every 2 years.

But now the album era has come to an end, again primarily due to technological advancements.

The ability to instantly distribute music worldwide over the internet and for consumers to pick and choose what songs they will purchase (for .99¢) has turned the old business model on it's head.

While major labels will try to hold on to the old business model for the next few years, it will increasingly continue to diminish.

This is because the old business model is not in the best interest of consumers, artist's, and independent record labels.

The new music business model will focus on artist's releasing increasingly niche specific music on a very regular basis, to a community that follows them.

The new model will revolve around movements, with songs as anthems that unite the participants.

It will be about endless streams of creativity.

As an independent artist you have the opportunity to capitalize on the new music business model immediately, why wait for the majors to catch up?

Wishing you continued success!

Cristopolis Dieguez

December 1, 2008

Digital Life

The future is here.

It's digital.

Over the next few years we will all increasingly be living digital lives.

Online dating, social networking, music streaming, email forwarding, video embedding, is the not so new language of today's world.

In turn our current technological advancements have empowered us to dramatically increase our creative output and the number of people that we can share it with. But it also gives us the opportunity to become better organized, eliminate clutter, and to drastically reduce the amount of waste we produce, therefore helping the environment.

Personally I find that the better organized I am the more effective I become in every area of my life. This includes my creativity.

If you're looking to take your artistic career to the next level, you may want to think outside of the box and adopt some of these ideas to help you streamline your lifestyle, get rid of clutter, save money, and inspire your imagination:

The Roku is a device that allows you to access Netflix and instantly watch movies and TV shows (over 12,000) from your living room television. You will never have to rent or buy another DVD again. (Movies not available in the 'Watch Instantly' section can simply be ordered via Netflix's mail service).

The Kindle gives you instant access to over 190,000 thousand books, anywhere at anytime. It also has a wide selection of newspapers, magazines, and blogs to choose from, not to mention free access to Wikipedia. It was created by Amazon, and is without a doubt the future of books. The best part about it is that every book you ever purchase is maintained for you by Amazon in a cloud. Bookshelves are now a thing of the past.

iTunes is well known, but recently I uploaded my entire CD collection to iTunes thus eliminating boxes and boxes of CD's saving myself space and ensuring that I would have the music safe and secure as digital files. Coverflow (a function in iTunes) helps in reproducing if not surpassing the feeling of album ownership and of enjoying the artistic image associated with albums.

The latest thing I have been doing is moving all of my pictures to Shutterfly, where I can store a limitless amount of pictures and create digital photo albums which can be shared through webpages that Shutterfly provides. Once I have completed the scanning of all of my pictures, the elimination of my 15 to 20 photo albums will save me additional space and ensure that my pictures are intact for posterity.

Please rememer to back up your digital life to an external hard drive which you can keep neatly hidden away in your closet.

Wishing you continued success!

Cristopolis Dieguez

November 30, 2008

Understanding Digital Distribution

This is a great video in which Orchard (the world's largest digital music distributor) Co-Founder Scott Cohen shares a great deal of knowledge and advice on the music industry, technology, and how they built there business from the ground up.

Wishing you continued success!

Cristopolis Dieguez

November 29, 2008

Nach - Efectos Vocales

Every now and then you stumble across a song that makes you say.....damn!

Efectos Vocales by Nach an artist from Alicante, Spain made me do just that.

In the interview below he talks about his inspiration for the song and directly below the interview you'll find a link to the music video.

Watch the video here.

Wishing you continued success!

Cristopolis Dieguez

November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is a special time of the year because it allows us to pause for a day and be grateful.

I have been reflecting today on all that I am grateful for and all of the people who are such a blessing in my life. So much of what I do is made possible by others and I would like to give credit where it's due.

Special thank you's to:

Heather Renee for being my greatest supporter. Not only are you my muse but your own career is an incredible and consistent inspiration to me. I love you.

DJ Boom your incredible engineering and production skills are a crucial part of my sound. Your talent has truly taken my music to another level.

DJ Eboogie your musical knowledge has helped me out on so many songs over the years, for which I am truly thankful. And your talent behind the mic and behind the turntables is unparalleled. I am blessed to have you in my corner.

DJ Wanako & DJ Pelon of 97.5 FM for regularly spinning my music and for making it your own personal mission to support local Latino Hip-Hop artist's.

Cici Carmen you are truly a talented and motivated individual. Thank you for sharing the stage with me and for inspiring me with your own relentless pursuit of your dreams.

Josh Papreck you are a prodigy. Thank you for playing with me live and in the studio. You truly take my music to a higher level.

WMS for being a consistent source of hot production over the years. Thank you for top notch production time and time again.

Sabio Mero for being a good friend, an inspiration, and for hooking me up with cutting edge production. Your truly have magnificent talent champ.

Wishing you continued success!

Cristopolis Dieguez

November 26, 2008

The Benefits of Being Straight Edge

There is a growing community of people who are Straight Edge.

I am part of that community and have been so for the past 2 years, it's been undoubtedly one of the best decisions of my life.

For most people straight edge means;

No alcohol.

No cigarettes.

No recreational drugs.

For me it additionally means;

No sugar.

No caffeine.

Why Straight Edge?

Well, because it's good for me. In the last 2 years I have lost weight effortlessly, I sleep better and deeper, I never have hangovers, I never have nights where I regret what I've said or done due to a drunken stupor, and my thoughts and perspective are clearer than they have ever been.

I have also found myself forced to develop dormant qualities like the long lost art of conversation, because I no longer hide behind social lubricants like alcohol. I recommend you giving it a try for a month, it'll change your life.

And your skin will look great too.

Wishing you continued success!

Cristopolis Dieguez

November 25, 2008

Are CD's Dead?

My new album will be a digital release only.


Well for starters it's alot less expensive. $55 to release my album on iTunes versus $1,500 in order to manufacture 1,000 physical copies.

Also there is the issue of how much space CD's take up. Having 1,000 copies of your album delivered to your door step is a great feeling but it takes up a small closet's worth of space.

Another major concern is the environment. You truly leave a much smaller footprint on our planet when all of the plastic and paper that would have been used on your release is now conveniently turned into binary code and magically stored in cyberspace.

If money, space, and the environment still do not completely persuade you perhaps being on the cutting edge of the music industry will;

There is no doubt that CD's will completely give way to MP3's in the future. Some say that it could be as soon as 2014. Meaning you will not be able to buy CD's at physical stores any more. CD's will be dead. As an independent Latino Hip-Hop artist you have the freedom to be vanguard, an early adopter, and to leaverage every technological innovation to your benefit. DiscMakers and Oasis (cd manufacturers) will continue to rave as to the benefits of still printing up CD's, but that's because they only have about 5 more years to make money off of their duplication plants before they too go the way of the dinosaur.

Wishing you continued success!

Cristopolis Dieguez

November 24, 2008

Myspace Vs. Facebook

I have a Myspace account and a Facebook account.

I use my Myspace account religiously, all day, every day (I even have it open as I write this blog).

I rarely use my Facebook account. I might check it once every six months, just out of curiousity.

Why am I such a big fan of Myspace and not of Facebook?

While both are incredible social networking tools, they are quite different from each other. Myspace has developed a culture that allows you to effortlessly connect with everyone within the community, never making it awkward to friend anyone who happens to catch your attention. Facebook on the other hand has developed a culture in which you only connect with people that you already know. Can you say....boring?

For alot of people this seems to be great, this is exactly what they are looking for, it is why Facebook is popular.

But the reason I believe that Myspace is still king of the hill is because not only can you connect with people that you 'really know' and make your page as private as you desire, you also have the option of meeting limitless new people and of cultivating new online relationships. As a Latino Hip-Hop artist I find this extremely important because it allows me to connect with people from around the world, creatively, as friends or as fans of what I do.

Another huge plus is that Myspace actually provides you a website with it's own unique url, accessible by anyone whether or not they are on Myspace. Facebook on the other hand keeps it's community closed, and the band pages they do offer are lame and the url's are terrible.

For example:

My Myspace url;

My Facebook url;

Which do you like better?

Wishing you continued success!

Cristopolis Dieguez

November 21, 2008

How to get your Music on iTunes

iTunes has without a doubt become the leader in the field of digital downloads currently controlling approximately 70% of the market, surpassing Wal-Mart and Best Buy this year to become the #1 music retailer in the United States.

This has caused Latino Hip-Hop artist's everywhere to ask themselves 'how can I get my music on there and get a piece of the action'?

Well here are two companies that can get your music on iTunes quick and easy: and

Of these two companies I have used since 2002 and have been very happy with them. They have great customer service (they always answer the phone), their website is easy to use, and they are inexpensive. CDBaby charges a $35 album setup fee and if you do not have a UPC barcode (which you will need in order to have your music on iTunes) they can provide it for an additional $20. The main reason I choose CDBaby over TuneCore is because they only charge a one time fee to get your music on there site and sent to iTunes along with an additional 9% of each digital down load sale.

TuneCore on the other hand charges a yearly maintenance fee of $19.98 per album, and 99 cents per song, but they take no percentage of sales. I personally prefer to pay the one time CDBaby album setup fee and 9% per download charge in order to never have to worry about yearly fees for each album I have on iTunes. But if your moving serious amounts of digital albums and song downloads (over 500 song downloads per album, per year), TuneCore would be a better option in regards to your bottom line.

Regardless of which company you choose to use, the times have changed and iTunes is today's equivalent of Tower Records. But unlike Tower Records the digital revolution has empowered independent artist's to get their music on the shelves of digital stores all by themselves.

So what are you waiting for?

Wishing you continued success!

Cristopolis Dieguez

November 20, 2008

DC Latino Hip-Hop

As a tribute to DC Latino Hip-Hop I have created a website at that focuses on bringing increased recognition to a few of the most outstanding and talented Latino Hip-Hop Artist's representing the District of Columbia.

This site will be updated on a regular basis so please stop by often. If there is anyone not currently featured that you think should be added, please email me about them at, I greatly appreciate your input.

Wishing you continued success!

Cristopolis Dieguez

October 31, 2008

Marketing Ideas from the Best in the World

No one has even come close to giving me more direction in the field of marketing than Tom Peters & Seth Godin.

As Latino Hip-Hop artist's we are our own businesses. For many of us we do it all ourselves; from managing our budgets, and delving deep within ourselves during the creative process to deciding on how to best market our investment and labor of love.

The ideas, speeches, and books of these two marketers have changed my world and I hope they have the same impact on you!

Tom Peters on Innovation:

Seth Godin on Social Networking:

Wishing you continued success!

Cristopolis Dieguez

October 29, 2008

How To Make A Music Video

It has been said that video killed the radio star.

Although musical short films have been in existence since the 1920's it was not until the 1980's that the term 'music video' began to become popularized. The biggest single factor in music videos going mainstream was undoubtedly the birth of MTV on August 1, 1981.

Now three decades later, music videos have become a cultural mainstay and a must have for musicians. So how do you make a music video?

To help get you started, I recommend that you watch the videos below, and read the article here and the one here. These articles and videos contain valuable information that will jumpstart the process for you. But remember your own creativity is your greatest asset, so get out there and create!

Wishing you continued success!

Cristopolis Dieguez

October 5, 2008

Why Hip-Hop Should 'DIY'

DIY or Do-It-Yourself is an artistic movement that transcends genres and mediums, which has become a state of mind increasingly adopted by creative types from around the world. The DIY acronym was first used by Punk Bands in the late 70's, which out of the necessity to overcome a music industry that would not support their counter-culture began to organize themselves, creating their own record companies, concerts, and print media. This became known as the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) ethic. Now, nearly three decades later the DIY attitude has grown stronger than ever, embracing all forms of creative expression, in particular music, film and books.

A great resource for DIY information is the DIY Reporter which holds yearly DIY Conventions and Festivals around the nation.

How Do I ‘DIY’

1) Create a product to sell.
In our society, money is necessary for survival therefore artists need to find ways to generate income. Ideally, the first step in this process would be for artists to set up a legal entity (a company) to house their intellectual property. In order to reap the full protection and tax benefits of a company it is advisable to create a Corporation (Inc.) or Limited Liability Company (LLC). There are many online resources that will walk you through each step of this process and allow you to create your company without ever leaving your internet connection, my favorite being the Company Corporation. Next, your product needs to be prepared for sale. The creation of music whether it’s song writing, production or engineering is a very personal process and should be left to the discretion of the artist. I personally do a lot of my own recording on Logic Pro and for those based in D.C. I highly recommend the engineering of DJ Boom at Listen Vision. The presentation of your album should not be taken lightly, it is the one factor that can immediately let people know that you are serious, and even without ever having previously heard your music may entice someone to purchase it. A great resource for CD replication is Disc Makers, they will provide a top of the line, ready for retail album at reasonable rates in two weeks, start to finish.

2) Somewhere to sell your product.
Now that you have something to sell, you need somewhere to sell it. You will without a doubt sell your products at live performances but it is very necessary to create an online presence for yourself so people from all over the world can learn about you and yes, purchase your product. CDBaby was the first and is still the best at providing an online store. They give artists a place to sell their music online and still return 91% of the profits to the artist, they will sell your album and also help you place it on digital download sites like iTunes and Rhapsody. I also highly recommend that you create your own website. The process of creating your own website is three part; 1) purchasing a domain name 2) hosting the website 3) finding a design (template) that you manage or having someone design your website. GoDaddy is an excellent company for the first step of researching available domain names and purchasing and managing your address through them. The best company that I have found for hosting and allowing you to manage your own flash website without needing to have any knowledge of web design is Dynamod, I highly recommend their service.

3) Let the public know about your product.
In order for people to listen (and purchase) your music they need to know about it. Marketing, promotions and publicity are the cornerstone (along with hard work) of any successful business, without it, even the greatest song in the world would be lost to obscurity. There are many mediums through which you can let the world know about you, but there are three free resources that are great for promotions that I would like to refer you to; MySpace, YouTube and Email Lists. The popularity of Myspace has made it phenomenal for networking and making your music, shows and ideas available to a community of people that are highly receptive. YouTube is also an online community based site, which allows its users to upload short videos, giving it's users a virtual Television Channel through which they can promote their music. Email lists take more work to gather but once people sign up for you list, whether through your website or in person at a show or networking event, you have a direct line to them which can be a powerful tool in promoting your performances and to yes, purchase your product. There are a few pay services, Vertical Response and Constant Contact in particular, which allow you to create custom newsletters to reach your mailing list. These services can be very helpful in understanding your fans because not only do they give your mailings a professional look but they also have functions that allow you to track how many people actually open and read your email/newsletter.

The ‘DIY’ Challenge

Aritsts will need to ask themselves the difficult and introspective question of what it is that they are truly searching for through their artistic expression, to make a living off of it, to be famous, a little of both?

Hip-hop artists have the blessing of being part of a technological revolution, which enables them to become self-reliant, in a way that has never been seen at any other point in history. Life during this revolutionary era forces us to ask ourselves deeper questions, in relation to our motives and the intentions of our art. In the past the only avenue for multi-media entertainment was through major companies that controlled the distribution channels, but today there are many alternatives to this. When focusing on Hip-hop music and the surrounding business, it becomes necessary to ask oneself, what is it that I am trying to accomplish and at what cost. The reason that this is necessary is because it is more difficult if not nearly impossible to get where you are going, if you do not know where that is. Many Hip-hop artists want to get signed to a major label, others want to create their own label, what do these things mean?

The DIY mentality does not stand opposed to any path, instead it affirms that 'no matter what path you choose or stumble upon, the only person responsible at the end of the day is you'. The DIY ethic is a paradigm shift in the way we view ourselves and our role in our own careers. It is both empowering and intoxicating. I ask that you reflect on how you can use some of the resources that I have mentioned in this blog for your career, but first you must answer the personal question of what it is that you want out of your career.

Wishing you continued success!

Cristopolis Dieguez

October 2, 2008

Where to Find Great Graphic Design

Image, for better or for worse plays a disproportianate role within the entertainment industry. This is why we frequently like songs only after we've seen the music video. This is also why while walking down a store aisle we stop to pick up a magizine or DVD......due to sheer intrigue. Whether we end up paying for the item or not the image on the cover has lured us in to at a minumum pay attention.

In modern times every image that makes it on to a commodity is worked on by a graphic design artist. I would like to share with you the best company I have found and the one that I have been using for over the past 2 years for graphic design work; MEDIA 644.

Their great designs are only matched by their professionalism, low prices and quick turn around time.

MEDIA 644 can be reached by phone at 703.463.9357 or by email at

Featured below are a few designs that MEDIA 644 has done for me and my wife, Heather Renee, just this year;

Wishing you continued success!

Cristopolis Dieguez

October 1, 2008

Reggaeton Vs. Hip-Hop [DJ Boom Remix]


'Reggaeton Vs. Hip-Hop' Remix Contest Winner .....

First and foremost thank you to everyone who has participated in this contest and to all those who have been following it.

With no further a do (drum roll please), the winner of the "Reggaeton Vs. Hip-Hop" Remix contest is DJ Boom from Listen Vision recording studio!

The grand prize for this contest was a Serato Scratch Live, and on top of receiving the prize the remix will also be included on the upcoming album release of "Reggaeton Vs. Hip-Hop".

The runner-up in the competition was Sabio Mero, who produced an incredible version of the song that will also be featured on the upcoming album.

Again, I thank you all for participating and for following the competition.

Wishing you continued success!

Cristopolis Dieguez

September 30, 2008

Is Rap Music Killing Hip-Hop Culture?

On a fairly consistent basis I am asked by people a simple yet slippery question, "what is the difference between Hip-hop and rap"?

I normally give this short answer; Hip-hop encompasses an entire culture where as rap is the act of rapping or making words rhyme in the Hip-hop form. I also go on to clarify that rap music and Hip-hop music are not necessarily the same thing. For example, a McDonald's TV commercial comes on and there are two kids with baseball caps tilted to the side rapping about french fries and chicken McNuggets, is this Hip-hop music? I would definitely say No. Is it rap? Well, yes....they're rapping. This is my short answer to the difference between Hip-hop and rap.

Going a bit deeper into the question "what is the difference between Hip-hop and rap", I find it important to define what I mean by Hip-hop. In recent years different organizations have added to and adjusted the traditional four pillars of Hip-hop, and you may find different definitions online as to what constitutes Hip-hop culture. But traditionally (and what I follow) Hip-hop is made up of four main pillars; DJing, Grafitti Art, Breakdancing and Hip-hop Music aka Rapping. When speaking about Hip-hop and its culture this is the foundation I adhere to and when speaking about Hip-hop music I am referring to the music that was born out of this culture.

Over the last decade a gray area between true Hip-hop based art and corporate America has come into play and it has become increasingly difficult to distinguish the creative growth of the culture from the appetite of corporate America and it's search for easy money off of hit song's and breakaway artist's. Corportate interest in Hip-hop has definitely aided the popularity of the culture, pushing it into living rooms across the nation and around the world, but it is also responsible for making everything on the radio sound the same and for a limited amount of major label artist to have full (exclusive) access to all mainstream media resources.

Has the infiltration of big business into Hip-hop culture wrestled control of the culture itself away from the Hip-hop community and into the hands of company CEO's? Do the decision's that these CEO's make in reference to the music that they release and push to the public non-stop through all mainstream media channels, actually control Hip-hop? Is rap music killing Hip-hop culture? Voice your opinion!

Cristopolis Dieguez

September 29, 2008

The 80/20 Rule in Hip-Hop

What is the 80/20 Rule?

The 80/20 rule is a management formula that is also known as Pareto's Principle. This principle is used everyday by managers and management teams around the world in every capacity imaginable. The idea can be applied to nearly anything and it's definition in short is that theoritically in any given situation, there is a dominant 20% that leads and molds the other 80%, or as the founder of this formula Dr. Joseph Juran put it there is "the vital few and the trivial many". In this bloq I would like to invite you to reflect on how this formula may apply to Hip-hop music and culture;

Let's start by saying that it would seem evident that 20% of the companies within the recording industry receive 80% percent of the profits (because they own the distribution channels),

and that 80% percent of the music that actually reaches the public is made by only 20% percent of the artists trying to get out there ,

of that music I can confidently say that only 20% is actually good while 80% is..............wack,

I will even go as far as saying that just during this summer it is arguable that 80% of the music that has come out will not be remembered a few years from now while 20% percent of it will,

of the songs that do stand the test of time only 20% percent of the money will ever go to the artist's who created them while 80% will go to...........others,

80% of those "others".....involved in selling Hip-hop music do not care about or understand it's culture while a faithful 20% are the core group vital for Hip-hop's survival,

The question that I now sit here asking myself and that I hope you are asking yourself is whether I'm going to be one of the vital few or of the trivial many?

Cristopolis Dieguez

September 25, 2008

How to Find & Buy Great Beats

The beat.

It is the aspect of a song that is hit or miss. You know within moments of listening to a song whether or not it is dope or whether it is wack just by the first four bars before the lyrics! My intention in this blog is to go over a few things to look out for when looking for beats and to also give anyone looking for great production a few links to producers and websites that specialize in trafficking hot tracks!

It is difficult to talk about Hip-hop and beats without going over the topic of sample clearance. In 1991 the first ruling on sampling occured when Biz Markie was sued for sampling Gilbert O'Sullivan's hit song "Alone Again, Naturally". His album was barred from any further sale and this set the precedent by which business was to be conducted in regards to digital sampling. If you are looking to sample (legally) keep in mind that in order to clear a sample you will need to go through at least two copyright holders; the owners of the sound recording (the record label) and the owner of the composition (the publishing company). What they ask for in compensation for using the sample can vary from a simple flat fee to a more complicated royalty based agreement or a combination of both.

Due to the high cost and complicated nature of dealing with samples, many of todays most note worthy Hip-hop producers such as Timbaland, The Neptunes, and Scott Storch now produce principally by using synthesizers, drum machines, and libraries of royalty free loops.

Thanks to the popularity of Hip-hop and other genres of digital music there are now litteraly hundreds of royalty free loop products that can be purchased at relatively low prices. Two of the better and more extensive loop libraries are the Sony Acid library and the Apple Loop library each offering thousands of royalty free samples.

If you're not interested in dabbling with production but would rather connect with producers who earn there bread and butter from making head nodders then I have a site for you! PMP Worldwide Entertaintenment offers an online service that allows you to connect with A-List producers such as Clinton Sparks, Buckwild, and Domingo. Through this service you can also connect with lesser known producers who still pack a big punch. Another great resource for finding producers who take their craft seriously is the Connex List. This is a quarterly published Hip-hop version of the yellow pages, which includes a few pages of producers who have submitted their information (email, phone numbers, websites) so that you can hit them up for beats!

When negotiating terms for purchasing tracks there are two primary agreement types to keep in mind which are exclusive and non-exclusive ownership of the production. Exclusive ownership generally means that the producer agrees to no longer sell that particular track to anyone else again and may go as far as releasing the copyright to the buyer. A non-exclusive agreement generally means that the producer gives you permission to use the track but retains the right to continue to use the track for commercial purposes. When you begin to deal with major labels or major indies you may begin to also negotiate points on your album as partial compensation for a musical composition. Contractual agreement can quickly become complicated and it is always wise to get the opinion of a lawyer. I feel that it's important to note that these few sentences are nothing more than a brief overview of the primary 2 types of production agreements. For more extensive information on this topic I recommend that you reference the music industry book; All You Need to Know About the Music Business by Donald Passman.

Once you have found your track and negotiated the terms of agreement you get to one of the potentially slippery slopes of doing business, which is do you pay first or wait till you receive your track? This really depends and should be dealt with on a case by case basis. I personally like to receive the tracks first, so that in the case that I want adjustments in the arrangement of the track or the quality of the sound files I still have the leverage of the producers compensation. But if the producer has a track that you really want, or a name that you really want to be associated with then you may just be willing to shell out payment before receiving the files. This is just one of those gray areas that depends on how you want to do business. A compromise that you may find effective is to pay half up front and the second half of the payment once you have received all of the files of the track.

How do I get my beat?! When receiving your beat try to get it as seperated tracks in .wav file format. Now I'm not referring to the beat that you burn on CD to write your song too, that can be an MP3 or any other format. Instead I'm referring to the actual seperated files that the engineer will be manipulating when you are mixing it down. This is important because engineering and mixing songs is an art in and of itself, and the more you give the engineer to work with the better end product you'll get back. Tracks can be sent to you by the good old postal service on a CD or you can also use websites such as and These websites are quite convenient because the producer will simply upload each file and you will receive a url that you can use to access the file, instantly and all from the comfort of your computer!

I hope that this information helps you find that banger that your looking for, and feel free to contact with any questions!

Wishing you continued success!

Cristopolis Dieguez