SITE SPECIFIC: Where Indie Hip-Hop Lives

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Entire article: Rolling Stone: 3/31/08, 1:45 pm EST by Evan Serpick:

New sites cater to the discriminating consumer of online rap

Hip-hop singles are top sellers at iTunes, but the genre’s albums sell poorly online — only seven percent of hip-hop full-lengths sold are downloaded, versus ten percent of albums overall. Still, indie-rap fans are a different breed. “They’re buying complete albums — they have favorites, they can name the classics,” says Jay Andreozzi, general manager of Amalgam Digital. Below, a few new sites catering to indie-rap consumers.

Amalgam Digital

This indie label/retailer, which sells unprotected MP3s, makes deals with artists to offer albums with exclusive bonus tracks and videos. They recently signed ex-Def Jam MC Joe Budden (above) and released his digital-only album, Mood Muzik 3.5, with a cappella versions of all the songs. The site is also packed with intel for hip-hop heads, including interviews with artists such as Wale and Ill Bill.


When Las Vegas record store HipHopSite closed last year, the operation moved online, building an impressive digital-download outlet. The exclusive stock includes singles and digi-LPs and -EPs from the likes of Talib Kweli and J Dilla, and digital-only mixtapes, including the “Preemptive Hype” series, featuring and KRS-One, Common and Method Man.

Definitive Jux

This iconic label’s site is home to a wealth of downloads from the biggest names in indie rap: and Aesop Rock, El-P, RJD2 and more. Though it already hosts exclusive tracks and EPs by these artists, the site will expand to include releases from other indie labels later this year.


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