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1. What's your name, where you from and what do you do?
Fillup Banks, born and raised in the county of Dade, Hialeah to be exact. I'm the founder and creator of 305HipHop.com, Miami's official Rap website.
2. What's this urban union venture all about and who's involved?
The Urban Union is a group of entities and individuals (Local business owners/ Independent entrepreneurs, Artists, Producers, DJ's, B-Boys, Photographers, Videographers, Promoters, etc.), that have come together in order to improve the qualities and conditions of the entertainment industry in the South Florida Region. In an effort to create outlets for our community, we have decided to combine forces and bring all others who are affiliated with us on board this vehicle as well. We strongly encourage all others who are not yet involved to come along for the ride and support the movement, too. We're raising the bar for upstarts and informing them as to exactly WHAT the industry standards are, so that the level of quality found WITHIN our market is drastically improved. At the end of the day, it's all about progress, and that is something beneficial to everyone down here. We're located at 7262 NW 66th St, Miami, Florida 33166. March 22nd is our grand opening where we will be giving away free studio time, free photo shoot, free video bio and more. Show kicks off at 3:05pm.
3. How long has 305hiphop.com been up, what's your traffic like and how have you seen the game and competition change since you started?
305HipHop.com was created back in 2003 when you actually had to know how to set up a website or pay someone to do so. Around 2004 the site really took off with the Miami Awards ( http://www.miaminewtimes.com/2004-12-16/music/basshead ). Since then the traffic has fluctuated. On average we receive millions of hits a month, pulling in an audience from all over the world, but mostly from Florida. With the new click-and-create Social Web websites with no user code configuring and freely-hosted blog services out there people have started they're own "online magazines" but when you get down to it there's really no competition for what we have a niche for and that's Miami's Hip Hop scene. Google "Miami Rap" and see who comes out on top.
4. How do you feel you're a part of the new dynamics of the music business, where do you see it going, and what do you see as your role?
I'm a part of which has changed the form of promotion and distribution. No longer do you need a big budget for advertising and production of a demo or album. You create, upload and share it with the world. Sites that resemble 305HipHop.com's purpose have been popping up lately and record companies are noticing we're the new mom and pop record shops / magazines / television & radio shows. As the technology gets easier to work with, more enthusiast will pop up with their websites on the ever growing internet. Soon the artists themselves will take back the music business, instead of the hands of executives where it's been for the past years.
5. Who are some local underground/independent artists to look out for?
Man, there's so many I would hate to leave anyone out. A recent favorite of mine that I always try to check for is Ball Greezy. I love his writing, he's definitely one to look out for. Other than him you got C.P. Hollywood on them beats, the underdog P.M., Triple C's GunPlay, Poe Boy's Billy Blue, of course T.H.C., Circle House's Lunch Money, Flo Rida's crew Da' Groundhoggz, the list goes on and on. We have a bunch of talent coming from the bottom and there's not enough space to write every name.
6. Is anybody really looking to book studio time in this economy?
Well to be honest just like every other industry, the recording industry has also taken a hit. It all trickles down, but thankfully, we've been blessed. With that in mind we have affordable rates and really low priced block rates to get anyone who wants to record in the studio. However, we offer our clients much more than just studio time. We've got all bases covered in terms of getting your project ready for mass consumption. From mass CD replication and album cover design to any type of printing required for any particular project, we offer it. The quality in our work is what keeps us busy.
7. What other music related business ventures are you part of?
Well, we always thought the whip game and music went together. Ever since we started in the internet business we been putting together car shows with CarShowKing.com where we would have local artist showcases. We just recently launch a weekly radio show on RapReport.com where you can listen to that classic non-commercial Hip Hop sound. Our online music catalog branched off to make MadeInDade.com which is a music download service that caters solely to Florida artists. FrontLine TV & Gas Face Films is a company we work with to cover events, music videos, artist biographies for EPKs, and more. We create EPKs, CD inserts, and artist websites with the help of TightDesigns.com. We have several other ventures in the works but those are some of the most known in the scene. We're always open to work with new people so if anyone has a unique idea they think we can make come into fruition holla at us and we'll listen.
8. How and why did you start 305hiphop.com and why do you feel it's relevant, would you ever sell it?
Before DJ Laz had Pitbull on his show or Khaled was shouting out Ross there was no love in the city. A deejay would only put a local artist song on the radio if he was paid a crazy amount of money. There was no avenue for Miami's Hip Hop scene to get noticed. There was a void that needed to be filled. In came 305HipHop.com only to promote awareness of the abundance of talent coming from South Florida. That's the niche we made and it separates us from any other established music website. This makes us valuable to record labels scouting the area to see who's hot, people who moved from Florida that want to stay in touch, and any underground music connoisseur that wants to keep up with upcoming artists that they won't find on the radio until years from now. Also, it's a great place for an artist to network with other artists and collaborate. We will always be relevant but only if we stay true to our initial purpose. I would have to be assured that 305HipHop.com will keep giving Miami an avenue to promote it's Hip Hop scene before I would ever consider selling.
9. What advice do you have for people using music to make money over the internet?
If you're a publisher, don't bite the hand that feeds you. If music content is bringing you an audience, don't charge an artist a fee to get on your website. Make money from advertisements or affiliate programs. If you're an artist, you will make more money off a single unit than an artist signed to a major record label with a CD in national store but you won't get rich. Also, look into selling ringtones.
10. Closing words, shout outs.
I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak to your audience. I appreciate the love. Shouts out to the Underboss and the whole crew who help me put 305HipHop.com together on a daily basis. All the artist in Florida, if it wasn't for y'all we wouldn't be here. DJ Mega Mix we miss you, Kastaway, Destinee, DJ AS One, DJ R&R, y'all ready know what it is. Remember to come out March 22nd to the grand opening of Urban Union Studios, no admission fee, free food, free recording sessions all day long. Lets get it in. Dale!