Fast Company

More Fun Than iTunes

To buck declining music sales, some hip-hop artists turn new albums into elaborate products.

//Beeper-shaped USB with album MP3s, videos, & extras
APATHY, HONKEY KONG
(Dirty Version Records)
Why: "Kids aren't programmed to buy tangible products--CDs are cumbersome to them," Apathy says. "Selling through iTunes doesn't work because they can download it for free [elsewhere]. You need to give them something they can't otherwise get."

 

//Lunch box with playing cards and music inside
MF DOOM, OPERATION: DOOMSDAY
(Metal Face Records)
Why: "Doom is kind of like a comic-book character, and always has a lot of food references. Plus the metallic lunch box speaks to his whole mask thing," says project designer and manager Trevor Gendron.

 

//12" vinyl record shaped like a saw blade
GANGRENE, SAWBLADE
(Decon Records)
Why: "Limited-edition vinyl has always been big in hip-hop, so this was a crucial item for the fans," says Decon Records owner Peter Bittenbender. "The online buzz--pun intended--pushed this one a lot further than past vinyl releases."

 

//Money clip with fake cash
FREEWAY & JAKE ONE, HE STIMULUS PACKAGE
(Rhymesayers Entertainment)
Why: "We always try to push the boundaries of manufacturing," says Rhymesayers Entertainment cofounder Siddiq. "If you pre-ordered the album from us, you also got a replica government stimulus check that can be placed in the wallet."

Follow Jason Feifer @heyfeifer and @fastcompany on Twitter.

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We Are All T-Pain

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