How Do Rap Artists Get Paid? 5 Ways To Make Money In The Game
For an industry built around gassing up how much you make, there’s a surprising lack of facts about how to make money in hip hop. It makes sense though. Rapping about hitting a lick or dealing is a lot more interesting than talking about how your label breaks down album sales revenue.
The question still stands though. how do rap artists get paid? More than any other genre, the people at the top of hip hop don’t make their money in one way. Almost every hip hop artist came up looking for ways to make money, here’s how they do it.
Between Spotify, YouTube, Soundcloud and other services, there are enough platforms to get people listening to your music. Each one has a different rate of how much money you’ll take home from each stream but it’s usually not a hell of a lot.
So how do rap artists get paid from streaming? Youtube, for example, pays out around $7.50 per 1,000 views. For Bad and Boujee, clocking in 223 Million views would translate to around $1.6 Million. Youtube won’t pay out for everything though, you need to earn over $100 before you can cash in. Getting to $100 means getting over 13,000 views on any one video.
The classic way to make money is to just sell your music. While piracy and streaming have taken a dent from the market, traditional record sales still account for a huge fraction of this income. This covers digital and physical sales. iTunes and Amazon have made it much easier to sell your music by albums or individual tracks.
Before the internet albums were a lot more expensive than they are now. This is what’s kept album sales alive in the era of streaming. Cheaper albums that sell more tend to work out to the same profit for artists and labels.
Hip hop has blurred the line between merchandise and clothing. Almost everyone in the game either has their own label or has collaborated on a fashion line. Pop up shops and midnight releases pull out fans for one off pieces and it isn’t hard to see why. Merchandise lately, and clothing in particular, has developed to look good while repping your favourite artists.
Hypebeasts will make an audience for anything so merchandise is a decent way to get a steady stream of income if you’ve built up a following.
Back in 2013 the average concert attendance in the U.S was over 9,000 people. Take Vince Staples’s upcoming Life Aquatic tour for example. 24 nights with tickets at a minimum of $25 a pop would bring in nearly $3,000,000 even if the average attendance was only 4,500. Even with a costly tour, that’s still clean over a million for dates from February 24th to April 4th.
When it comes to international tours for someone like Drake you can imagine how big those numbers get.
You don’t have to be Snoop Dogg to make money off of endorsements. While Snoop will take a check for anything, there are plenty of artists who make endorsement money without so much shilling. Lil Yachty managed to become the face of Sprite, Nautica and Target all within a six month period but he’s kept all his endorsements similar to his music.
So how do rap artists get paid through endorsements? There are a few different ways to do this. Yachty likely got paid for his Target commercial role but isn’t dealing with Target much outside of it. Things can get a lot more lucrative than that though. P Diddy signed a deal with Diageo for a 50% stake in their Ciroc vodka brand in exchange for him pushing the brand. Which he did to a 131% increase in sales.