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Friday, December 2, 2016

Chance the Rapper: A Capitalist Love Story

Chance's innovative business model is a perfect example of free enterprise in action.

Chance the Rapper (Chancellor Bennett), the 23-year-old wunderkind, has been creatively defying the music industry and producing some of the most innovative sounds of the decade. With three albums already on his resume, Chance has created a distinctive sound that young people love to identify with.

One of the reasons he is so popular is the fact that he claims to make his music for “free.” But before our free stuff-loving socialist friends start drooling, what you’re looking at is actually a great advertisement for capitalism.

Nothing is Free

Unlike most musical artists, Chance has not signed a deal with any record label. According to his multiple interviews, the majority of his income results from two credible sources: merchandising and touring.

The innovative nature of his business model is a monument to his creativity and the ability of entrepreneurs to find new ways to create value.

This strategy has worked out spectacularly well. The majority of his past and upcoming tours have been sold out. His high-priced merchandise ranges from t-shirts to lighters. Like most other artists today, Chance realizes the importance of his presence on streaming services. His most recent album “Coloring Book” was temporarily exclusive on apple music before a wide release on most other streaming platforms. A deal for which he likely received a respectable amount of money.

Although it’s technically not correct to say that Chance’s music is “free,” the innovative nature of his business model is a monument to his creativity and the ability of entrepreneurs to find new ways to create value. In an industry saturated with individuals singing about nothing, Chance’s music is ammunition for millennials who wish to show their grandparents that rap can actually deliver a message. As much as Chance should be celebrated for his entrepreneurship, the system in which he was able to achieve such heights should be get some recognition as well.

A Much Needed PR Campaign

There is no doubt that capitalism has a serious public relations issue. With most polls showing sympathy for collectivist ideas among millennials, along with the terrifying popularity of Bernie Sanders campaign, capitalism needs to be rebranded. It is doubtful that Chance would be willing to testify on capitalism’s behalf. In recent interviews he confessed his “connection” with Clinton. Being both a millennial and a celebrity, this information comes as no surprise. Fortunately, people who are fans of both Chance’s music and free enterprise system can make the connection.

Despite the ready availability of lessons from people like Milton Friedman, Henry Hazlitt, Ludwig Von Mises and Adam Smith, these academic arguments for capitalism are rarely taught. Most adults never even heard of their names, let alone their ideas.

Ayn Rand said that “we can ignore reality, but we cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.” If free market advocates cannot properly convey the morality and efficiency of capitalism, the ideal of free markets will continue to decline in popularity. If we’re going to find new ways of communicating the value of capitalism to a new generation, pointing out the radical capitalistic tendencies of people like Chance is a good place to a start.

  • Sean McBride is a student at DePaul University with a passion for free markets and property rights.