The rappers featured in a new mini-documentary make a minimum of $150 trading their own CDs for cash in Times Square, according to the film.
"I made $150 selling 10 CDs," a rapper who calls himself Sunny Smack says of his first experience hawking music on the sidewalk in the documentary "Street Dreams," produced by the music site Pigeons and Planes. "After that I was like, cool."
"There are times I've made $300, $400" a day, says Sean Hunter, a rapper who has been selling CDs for three years. "There are guys I know out here who make $800, $900. So it all depends on your drive and your hustle."
The guerilla marketing strategy reminds Hunter of "the bad boy days when Puff Daddy was handing out tapes with street promotion teams,” he said on film.
Of physical album sales, rapper Jadon Woodard says, "It's just not going to die, no matter how much the digital game grows... I just feel like I'll move way more units physically than someone trying to pump you to buy an album online for $5.99."
And rappers like Woodard aren't just working the streets; they're pushing their records on the subways, too.
"A lot of guys, and just people in general, are scared to promote their stuff on the subways, because one, you could get arrested, two, you have a higher level of rejection... and you have to perform your work," says Woodard, who freestyles and collects donations for his CDs on the subway.
Artists-turned-entrepreneurs like Woodard have a contentious relationship with the NYPD, who arrest and ticket them for failing to have a license, soliciting, loitering, panhandling and "blocking space," they say.
The First Amendment permits vendors without a license only to sell products that fall under the labels free speech and free expression, like works of art and writing.
Our question is, does anyone still have that antiquated piece of technology called a "CD player"?