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It’s Where You’re @: Hip Hop and the Internet
  • ISSN: 2632-6825
  • E-ISSN: 2632-6833

Abstract

As a large marketplace of royalty-free samples, the music platform Splice has worked to centralize and open up the process of hip hop production to over 4 million users, varying from beginning bedroom producers to established producers like Turbo (who has worked on tracks for artists including Young Thug, Gunna and Lil Baby). Founded by sound engineer Matt Aimonetti and GroupMe co-founder Steve Martocci in 2013, Splice experienced extreme growth during the COVID-19 pandemic as more aspiring producers took up beat-making from home. Hip hop producers have long used the internet to exchange and sell samples for beat production through direct messaging, sample blogs and sample marketplaces. While these digital exchanges have enabled quicker collaboration and accessibility for producers, they have also set the groundwork for companies like Splice to have an unprecedented influence in musical interactions and activity. Online platforms geared towards hip hop production and beat-making are becoming increasingly critical to the music industry, offering an important opportunity to examine digital creative economies and the platformization of cultural production. Splice incorporates features such as curation and algorithmic recommendation of samples to aid creators in their production process. Through interviews with producers who use Splice and a critical analysis of the platform’s user experience, this article demonstrates that producers can feel the need to strike a balance when engaging with the platform, finding ways to use automated tools that make their work more efficient while simultaneously striving to maintain high standards of individual creativity and technical skills. This suggests that it is necessary to have a nuanced understanding of Splice’s impact on music production and how it differs from streaming platforms because of its particular logics and functionalities geared towards music creators as a primary userbase.

This article is Open Access under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND), which allows users to copy, distribute and transmit the article as long as the author is attributed, the article is not used for commercial purposes, and the work is not modified or adapted in any way. To view a copy of the licence, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
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2023-01-25
2024-07-24
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