It’s that name thing again

I Feel Love: Grimestoppers: “I have to endorse Matt’s comments about ‘grime’ being a rubbish name for a genre.”

Been meaning to write about this again (did it at length last year, d’accord).

I think you’ll find it’s called Rap.

The market size curve for dance music has been “flattening” (read: flatlining) for a couple of years now, with a noticeable reduction in young punters coming through the doors. It’s principally a demographic thing, not a piracy thing. (Can’t quote numbers — wasn’t able to nick the market reports!)

With a smaller overall market to play with, Matt’s right to suggest that the scope for further segmentation and “genre-level” product differentiation isn’t really there any more (not sure Kotler would recognise my languaga but we’ll let that pass). Instead, producers try to make records that attract a variety of different segments. Hence the slow down in the speed of garage to near hip hop speed, and the focus on hip-hop-style MCing — and also hence the cross-over of dancehall. It’s all about risk reduction.

Grime’s failure to translate its popularity into proper product — i.e. tracks with rapping on them — is a classic “CHasm” issue. The early market — DJs — want instrumentals. The late market — fans — want MC cuts. But the risk associated with deviating from the instrumentals-for-DJs market, given the small scale of the overall garage market, means that few producers risk doing MC tracks.

I would presume that post-Dizzee there will be a flood of MC tracks — Wiley has his album in the can for example. But the lack of airplay and availability of dubplates is a concern. If the market is real, they’ll be picking up on the early product samples. It doesn’t look to me like they are.

It’s possible the grime scene is about to fizzle out and that the albums will arrive six months too late. We need crossover MC tracks now — but who they’ll actually crossover to is a moot point. Personally I see no reason why the teen garage crowd won’t go for it, but they need a channel…