It’s not surprising that Chris Franco ‘10 would make his career in the hip-hop industry–after all, during his time on the hill, he had a weekly hip-hop show on the Doobie and deejayed for the likes of Wiz Khalifa, who performed a free show at Denison last January. He also started a blog, Hiptics.com, to combine his interests in hip hop and politics. A change, however, is coming to the site: the debut of a new feature called the Hip-Ticker, which Franco currently is developing with the $2,000 he won from the Regional Entrepreneurship Education Consortium IdeaLab Competition in April.
The Hip-Ticker is an audio stream player that displays the usual album artwork and production details of a song while it is playing, but has the added element of social and political relevancy in the form of links to news articles. The news items–published in the year preceeding the song’s debut–are selected based on the song’s lyrics. “Essentially,” Franco wrote in a statement for the EEC competition, “[Hip-Ticker shows] what was going on in the world when the artist made this song.” Franco also will create a visual experience for the site that will include images of the artist and album, and possibly, Google Street Views to highlight locations in song lyrics. The idea is to showcase, “the social context that influences our favorite music,” says Franco. If all goes to according to plan, he hopes to have the technology on Hiptics.com before 2011.
Along with developing the Hip-Ticker, the last two years have been what Franco calls, “a business crash course in music industry knowledge,” during which time he has been managingandconsultingup- and-coming hip-hop artists from L.A. to Atlanta, where he lives. He also hopes to turn it into one of the premier hip hop sites. “It is already in the upper bracket of hip hop blogs,” he says, “but I’m trying to turn it into one of the top five.” Hip-Ticker technology may just get him there.