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DJ Neil Armstrong – Mixtape Crackdown

DJ NEIL ARMSTRONG MAKES GREAT MUSIC that the current system says is illegal. He creates clever and listenable mixtapes, most famously the Original series, where he connects the dots between modern hip hop songs and the soul and R & B that they sample from. Is sampling about sampling legal? Meta-legal? The major labels certainly don’t care, and stores that sell mixtapes are afraid. As he says in our new interview:

Don’t get me wrong; people still sell [mixtapes] out here, but it’s different. They don’t display them out in the open. If you call a store, and ask them, “Do you sell mix tapes?” they will always say no, even if they do.
Read the interview with Neil

This crackdown on mixtapes is devastating small hip hop record stores. Just this past week we were contacted by Alan Berry, whose Indianapolis record store was raided by the RIAA last fall.

We have since lost both of our stores. 14 years of blood sweat and hip-hop gone. Have to sell everything for legal defense. Even my home is on the market. I can’t get a job with 13 felonies hanging on my resume. My court date is less than a month away. So please anyone that knows someone that can help me, pass this info to them. I BEG for myself and my family. I don’t think anyone should go to jail for selling mix cds. To my brothers in the industry, please help get the word out. My time is short. Thanks.
Read more about the raid

Berry’s store was not involved with selling pirate copies–just mix CDs. The same mix CDs that the majors themselves use as a promotional channel and as a pipeline for discovering new artists. It is an established industry practice to use the underground mixtape scene to generate buzz for a new artist or album (see this trailer for a new documentary). Cracking down on the mixtape scene is clearly counterproductive for the majors, but they’re willing to shoot themselves in the foot in their desperate fight to maintain control. Alan told ballerstatus “You will see a lot of urban music stores closing without mixes.” Yeah, and a 50-cent fan will feel really cool picking up the clean version of the latest G-Unit album here.

We’d be fine with the major labels destroying their last shreds of credibility in the hip hop community, except that family businesses who actually care about music are getting stepped on. If you live in the Indianapolis area, Alan Berry’s court date is approaching, and he needs help. Contact us if you’re down to help.

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[…] holding together the art of turntablism, party deejaying and hip-hop mixtape culture. Neil even spoke against the RIAA pressure on the mixtape industry some years […]