Why You Can't Find Early De La Soul Albums on iTunes

More

Most people are familiar with the sad state of affairs that the Beatles' catalog is not available on iTunes, but there's another missing swath of music from the store: a lot of early hip hop. Hip hop historian Jeff Chang and Guardian journalist Angus Batey posted a great email
exchange in which they discuss the reasons that old hip hop is being left out of the digital music transition.

Jeff: I find it infuriating that right now it is impossible to find De La Soul's first 6 albums for legal download on iTunes in the U.S. The last one came out in 2001! Yet major labels would never let a Jackson Browne album or an obscure new wave band with primarily local appeal, like Translator, go out of print. That's not to diss Jackson Browne or Translator, both of whom I've liked, it's to make the provocative argument that major labels place a low value on Black music not currently on the pop charts.

Angus: Why, do you think, hip hop history has been so neglected by the same music business institutions that are so very alive to the commercial up-side of exploiting their catalogues in other genres?

...

Jeff: What we are left with is not quite a racist conspiracy. But the accumulated devaluing of Black music works like institutional racism-all of the little things add up to a vast and widening hole in the American memory about the cultural legacy of Black artists.

Read the full story at Why You Can't Get Early De La Soul on iTunes.

Via Geeta Dayal

Jump to comments
Presented by

Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Technology

Just In