Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Lil Uzi Vert vs. the World

Posted by Drake Kizer on April 17, 2017

Today’s selection covered pages 229-258 in our Spreadable Media textbook. The reading continued our look into chapter six, or “Courting Supporters for Independent Media”. We are back at it again with the textbook today, and the weekly swapping between platforms has really been quite beneficial to my overall understanding of the content. At the beginning, I was always so lost and confused, but the fact that the essays we read are actually mentioned in the book too has aided me a lot.

This excerpt covered a lot of material, but a lengthy discussion about Animator Nina Paley’s newfound perspective on giving away content for “free” was definitely the one that stood out the most to me when I was reading. The book corrected my idea that creators actually give away their content for no value at all, because these artists actually imply that they want some “form of reciprocity” from their audience when they share their media pieces. According to the text, Paley encourages her audience to “remix and recirculate [her] content in ways that spark discussions”, and after a period of time, her content will become popular if it is worthy.

The book’s discussion of independent content creators made me think about the artists that I interact with, and one specifically: Lil Uzi Vert. Lil Uzi posts his entire music catalog on to SoundCloud for fans to stream without paying a single dime. While he also makes his albums available to purchase on iTunes with higher quality, it is very important that he makes all of his content available for free if that’s how fans want to consume it. In this way, Uzi is able to ensure his content reaches a wider audience, “and, if they value [it]”, then they will eventually pay for another portion of his content. Since he has to “split [his] revenue with an outside distributor”, or Atlantic Records, Uzi ends up netting more from his creations in the long run because he not only makes money from record sales, but he also makes money from the fans who end up paying for his content in some other manner later on. Clearly, Uzi and Paley have a profitable mindset.


3 Responses to “Lil Uzi Vert vs. the World”

  1. kaufmansw said

    I really like how you mentioned Lil Uzi making his music open for free to everyone. He wants to make his music popular so he is opening it up to everyone to hear. He knows if it’s good he will make his money back anyways.

  2. nathanpowers22 said

    Lil Uzi Vert is actually signed to Atlantic Records, but I understand your point. Promotion through streaming on Soundcloud is such a popular method of promotion, it’s inspired the label of “Soundcloud rapper,” applied to many rising stars that have taken advantage of the platform (e.g. Playboi Carti, Ugly God, XXXTENTACION, Lil Pump, Smokepurpp, etc.).

  3. emilyjones232 said

    This also made me think of Chance the Rapper, who only makes his music available through digital platforms and doesn’t release any physical copies of his songs.

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