Believe it or not, it is extremely hard for recording artists to make money off their music alone.
The way the business is set up is that a rapper gets an advance, which is rarely over $1 million, and has to be recouped by the label before they receive a single dime. Streaming requires rappers to have thousands of plays before making $10.
Orpheus Audio Academy states, “You can expect to make between $3 and $5 per 1,000 streams on Spotify. The average pay-out per stream on Spotify is $0.003. How much you get paid depends on what percentage of the total stream pie per month you own, which means your payout can fluctuate anywhere between $0.0033 – $0.0054 per stream.”
According to PerformerLife.com, the median of all rappers, and including the JAY-Zs, Drakes, the Nicki Minajs, or any of the Babies, make about $77,000. The stats presented show artists across the board make $22,000 per song if they are A-listers and C and D-listers, if they are lucky make about $10,000.
And then there is Mike Burton, 37. Never heard of him?
Welp… that’s possible.
But Burton has made a lucrative living for himself rapping on the global online marketplace for freelance services that connect people with certain gifts to people or businesses looking to hire them, Fiverr.
In 2016, after losing his job at Aon Hewitt, he started selling his rap-writing skills on the website.
He sold rhymes based on various increments, according to CNBC.
Here is Burton’s profile.
A package at one time he offered to write started at $5 for a 20- to 30-second verse. Now, he charges a minimum of $65 per 30-second verse. He also promises you will have your rap in three days with one day for revision if necessary.
Today. He clears between $7,000 and $8,000 per month, working 40-to-45-hour weeks full-time writing original raps for individuals and businesses.
Over the last six years, he was made almost $500,000.
Well, who is buying these raps?
Some of his customers are students in elementary to high school needing raps for their history projects, men needing rhymes for their love interests, a cheerleading DJ who wants to hype up the team or the audience and so many more.
He said in fact, he gets hired a lot by families in Norway who want English raps for their teenagers’ Christian confirmations. Burton says, “Shout out to Norway. I’ve done so many,” he says. “I’m like an honorary Norwegian.”
“With music and hip hop, it changes so much that you’ll turn somebody off if you sound dated,” he says about his service. “I’ve been writing every day and figuring out how I want to tell the story of how I come up with things and how you can do it.”
That will be his next move, creating tutorials and teaching people how to rhyme (after he figures out a way to monetize the classes).
Another group of rappers who are making money outside of music is battle rappers. According to many, some of the top male rappers can make anywhere between $20,000 and $40,000 each time they rap for 9 minutes. The emcees that are considered god-tier can possibly command over $100,000. Midtier and newer artists with some steam behind them can command anywhere between $1000 to $10,000, depending on the league.
Unfortunately, like most industries, these figures shift drastically for female battle rappers, who make substantially less than the men— tipping this scale downwardly.