Prison can prove a fruitful ground for creating art. In Gucci Mane’s case, it’s not just about creating, it’s about releasing.
In late 2013, Gucci Mane was facing a 20-year sentence for two counts of possession of a firearm by a felon. In August of 2014, after already serving 11 months, he was sentenced to 39 months behind bars. He is scheduled to be released in early 2017. Despite being incarcerated, Gucci Mane has managed to keep the new music coming.
A lot has been written about how much material Gucci Mane is releasing from prison, and it’s true, it’s absolutely insane. But what makes Gucci unique is not just that he’s on pace to release potentially thousands of songs by the time his 39-month sentence is complete, but how much of that output will be standing proud on iTunes, waiting to be purchased for a respectable $9.99 per album.
Gucci isn’t just vomiting a set of free mixtapes out into the ether (although most of them are available for free in some form), he’s making the assertion that these songs and albums are worth your money.
Let’s put it this way: if you bought every album and single officially released on iTunes with Gucci on it, you would have spent almost $225 dollars already and would be on pace to drop over $750 by the time Gucci is a free man.
Just how much music has Gucci put up on iTunes since his current prison term began on September 13 of last year? Let’s put it this way: if you bought every album and single officially released on iTunes with Gucci on it, you would have spent almost $225 dollars already and would be on pace to drop over $750 by the time Gucci is a free man. Your Gucci budget would be around $20 per month, and you would also be on your way to enjoying over 1,000 tracks.
Which all begs the question, do people like this exist? Lil B has built a rabid fan base of those who will consume practically his entire, unfathomably large catalog. But he isn’t asking people to buy it off iTunes. And neither is Gucci, really. You can get most of this music in some form or another (you might have to stream it) for free. But the sheer fact that it’s on iTunes tells you something. But what?
Is this iTunes output just an afterthought, a way to milk suckers who are too lazy to find the music another way? Or is this, perhaps, a true indication that music consumption isn’t evolving as quickly as some of the most active music consumers may think?
Consider the case of Trinidad James’ “All Gold Everything.” The song was included on Trinidad’s free mixtape, Don’t Be S.A.F.E in 2012. After the song blew up, it went up for sale on iTunes and went on to be certified Gold by the RIAA, selling over 500,000 copies by May of 2013.
The way we interact with free and paid music is constantly evolving, and there is still a gap between fans who download mixtapes and those who buy singles on iTunes. It may seem crazy, but the fact remains—people will still pay for free music. But will they pay for music released at the pace of an Olympic sprinter? That’s something I’m sure artists like Lil B are dying to know, and something that Gucci Mane is, presumably, in the process of finding out.
How much money have you spent on Gucci Mane songs?