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Los Angeles-based rapper Nipsey Hussle has released his new album, “Mailbox Money,” online for free. So what’s in it for him?

The way Hussle plans on rustling up income from the album is by offering 100 physical copies for $1,000 each, a tactic similar to how he marketed his first album, “Crenshaw,” in 2013, making 1,000 hard copies available for $100 a pop.

The music industry has been in a downward spiral for many years when it comes to making money from record releases. Digital-savvy listeners increasingly tend to stream albums on platforms such as Spotify or illegally download them. Hussle came up with his new strategy after leaving Epic Records and has already sold 60 copies of the pricey version of “Mailbox Money.” The Guardian checked in on his progress:

And what has he learnt about that psychology? Who are these people spending a good portion of a month’s rent on an album?

Hussle doesn’t hesitate before answering. Not even for a second. “The highest human act is to inspire,” he says. “Money is a tool – it’s the means, not the end. [Inspiration is] the metric that dictates whether or not a project is a success. It’s more realistic than trying to aim for radio play, or trying to satisfy an A&R, or the other gatekeepers on these platforms. I don’t even know how to create with those things in mind. But if you tell me the goal is to inspire? That makes my job a lot easier.”

For the record, Hussle insists that he will always build a free component into his release plans, telling The Guardian that charging for “ubiquitous” digital music “would be like charging for air.” Lucky for him, at least 60 people are still willing to pay for it in a more solid state.

— Posted by Donald Kaufman.

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