This article is the first of a series on how to make money if you are an upcoming rapper. So you know, as an upcoming hip-hop artist, you want to make money! Right! So you want to know how to take your hobby and turn it into something which will pay the bills, for you to sustain on. To become a full-time artist. You think you have to release your music on marketplaces (iTunes, Amazon, Spotify…). This might be your first mistake: focusing on marketplaces.
Many rappers are assuming it’s the first step. In fact you don’t need to sell your music. First, you need to build an audience. Because without an audience, no one will listen to your music. No one will care about you. Your number one goal should be to build an audience.
Once you have an audience, you can monetize it. You build a fanbase, increase the number of people interested in what you are doing. Then you sell them products or services to make their lives better. In the business world, how we would put it is: you don’t want to create a product without people who are interested. A product you are not feeling the need. So what you are doing by building your fanbase first is taking care of your marketing strategy. The money comes when your scale is already there. By scale I mean a good amount of people!
Once you have the marketing already handled, which consist of your fanbase, then you can go and create the product that revolves around them and their interests. If you take care of that, you’ll be able to make more than enough money. You can only sell your music to them if you can make it valuable enough for them to purchase it. So you need to know your audience. Interact with them. Make them a part of the creative process. Ask them what they want, what problem you can solve.
Somebody else could argue there are other ways that you can proceed. You can offer services like music licensing, and things of that nature. But licensing your music is a business to business strategy. B2b is about selling one product, at a time. You are a business and the company licensing your music will have to be a business. It is usually how it works. Your fans are your consumers so your business revolves around business to consumers. To make money as a rapper you have to sell your product to as many people as you can. You need to focus on building the audience first. Once you have that audience you can go and create different products and different services and why not different businesses which will help solve a problem for your audience. You can choose to sell music or you can choose to do whatever you want to do.
People feel like one of the easiest ways as for an artist to make money is to release tracks on marketplaces. But you have to consider factors like “being successful in the long term”. Because once your buzz dies down and your popularity isn’t there anymore, you might no longer be able to sell music on a higher volume. Like you would if you were Drake or Cardi B. Although, by creating businesses serving your audience, those businesses can then expand and grow outside of your current fan base. They don’t have to be a fan of your business to purchase items from your clothing line or your fragrance or even use your designer services. Your potential customers don’t have to like you as a rapper if your business providing solutions.
If you want to make money as a rapper, focus on creating your music to build an audience, don’t release it yet on marketplaces, and when you have that audience then you can monetize it.