With new technology, specifically the internet, replacing traditional forms of music distribution, promotion and sales, 2008 became a year that seemingly everyone from Verizon to Def Jam reevaluated their digital strategies. Two top producers took the evaluation to another level by launching their own digital imprints — T-Pain and Rodney Jerkins: T-Pain Makes âNappyâ Dreams Come True BET Award winning artist/producer T-Pain took his auto-tune flexing muscles to the executive chair in 2008. Signing several artists to an imprint he calls Nappy Boy Digital in June, the self proclaimed âRingmasterâ said âNappy Boy Digital is a dream come true for me. Iâm excited about bringing music by new artists to people fresh out of the studio.â For T-Pain the deal is perfect. Clearly the king of re-inventing the use of auto-tune in 2008, moving into a digital formatted label seems like the perfect way to cap off his ring especially since all record labels are trying to adjust to the digital marketplace. In fact, the best part of T-Painâs label is that all music will be released via major digital download sites â no more CDâs ! Nappy Boy Digitalâs first artist to see results from the digital marketplace was Tay Dizm, a Miami-born emcee and friend of T-Pain. Dizmâs single âBeam Me Upâ was released via iTunes. Rodney Jerkins: Musical Second Life If youâre not familiar with the online or virtual world that is Second Life, thereâs no need to worry because Rodney Jerkins has created a musical version of the website. Announced in November of 2008, Musicmogul.com, the brain child of Jerkins and former Vivendi Games executive Nicholas Longano is slated to become a reality early 2009. Set to become the premier online music destination, MusicMogul.com, will feature social networking functions, online games and âliveâ performances that users can watch in streaming video. Access to the site and use of its social-networking features will be free, but users will have the option to purchase upgrades to their avatarâs clothes and living quarters. Jerkins says âWeâre creating something where labels can make money and artists can make more money through micro-transactions like fans wanting to wear a particular artistâs hat or clothes. They can click on that item and buy it.â
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