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It's Okay to Admit You like Rap, Karen

One of the target markets not being taken advantage of by the industry is the 'Cougar'. We have more money to spend and have been ignored by those before you.

By Virtuosity's NewVMusic Published 6 years ago 3 min read

I used to be a rarity. The oldest female in the audience of a show, and actually singing the lyrics, not just accompanying my underage daughter. I had come a long way from my late husband blaring Birdman and me nervously turning the volume dial down before someone looked over in disdain. I no longer felt the need to hide the fact I preferred Tupac, Biggie, and WuTang with my latte rather than Brantley Gilbert, Florida Georgia Line, or Andy Grammar. Times have changed.

Hip-hop/rap has become the highest grossing genre in the last decade, and with this cultural shift, it has created a shift in the dynamic of the consumer market. The audience isn’t just kids rebelling against their parents any longer. The last show I attended there was a small group of women who would look out of place in years prior, but they were very much where they wanted to be. They lined the VIP area and were less interested in standing up or sitting on someone’s shoulders. They were there to enjoy the live experience, in style and like grown-ups.

It wasn’t a huge group, but it was definitely a shift in the numbers worth paying attention to. With the modern hip-hop/rap scene being reminiscent of 90’s R&B genre, lyrically, the industry has opened the floodgates for the “Karens” of the world to feel comfortable opening up their wallets. Ironically, they had been buying it way before this change took place through the privacy of streaming, but only now is this generation’s love for hip-hop being demonstrated at the live shows, as well. We are coming out in full force, unapologetically. The industry may not even realize it, because their rosters aren’t reflecting the shift.

Most of the acts pulling this attention are independent and are gaining popularity without the aid of a label. The Karens bring money, so they should be. The Karens will spend money on experiences and if you want the ‘Kaitlyns’ (Karen’s daughters) to drop the most money for merchandise and to travel to shows, then you need to entice both. Gone are the days of "if mom likes it," it is no longer viable in social standards.

We are the generation who loved Bell Biv Devoe, Boyz II Men, and Jodeci. We all dreamed of dancing at our weddings to K-Ci and JoJo's "All My Life" (the love anthem of the 90's), and are mostly divorced or bordering mid-life crisis even if we don’t want to admit it. We are a niche the industry seems to miss, but the indie artists remain in sync with. Women don’t buy expensive cars or anything we get stuck with when we go through the inevitable freak out like men. We do things in little increments to make us feel young again… like dye our hair, buy a new wardrobe, or go to shows and sit in the VIP.

The artists revisiting the makeup of the love jams of our youth will make tons off of our middle age mental hiatus. Us, the sensible cougars of the world, with our own money, almost raised children, and a need to go a little crazy before menopause can be the next push for the music industry. The love songs, the breakup heartbreak ballads, and the socially aware songs with feeling are the ones that will get us through the potentially dark times ahead, and make the young, retro artist very rich. Male or female, if they can tap into this, the ‘Karens’ are waiting.

The Halseys, the Billie Eillishs, the Banks, and their male counterparts can remind us of our youth and the time before we forgot love wasn’t always enough and realized life wasn't always fair. We need that now after years of the hard work invested in marriages and relationships, and some of us left with nothing to show for it. We will stream your music and damn it, we may even buy a CD just to feel nostalgic again and a t-shirt to be ironic. We will buy your VIP tables for our girl’s night, divorce parties, or just to pretend we aren’t the end all, be all for other human’s survival for a few hours.

We are a target market. We are a generation "raised on Biggie and Nirvana," so of course, we will be the first generation of parents who by-pass the predisposition to hate everything coming from those half our age. We turn up the Post Malone without shame and know the words. I used to be a rarity, but oh how times have changed.


About the Creator

Virtuosity's NewVMusic

Virtuosity Agency is a Cleveland based booking, digital branding and event planning business with a penchant for pontification and a love for music (especially historical facts).

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