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How To Make Money As An Upcoming Hip-Hop Artist

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Aside from questions related to music promotion and artist development, “How do I make money as an upcoming hip-hop artist?” is one of the most popular music business questions I get asked. And, for good reason.

As an upcoming rapper, you’re days probably consist of working a job that you don’t like for little money. Then, once you get off work, you get to work on your “second job” – music. This could mean that you’re spending tons of time and money (especially on things like trademarking your rap name) to make your dream a reality, so the quicker you can recoup your investment, the more confident you’ll be about your investment.

So, in this post, we’re going to talk about how to make money as an upcoming hip-hop artist, the first step you should take, what you shouldn’t be doing, and examples of ways to make money.

dont sell your music

1.) Don’t Sell Music

This might sound backward, but hear me out. Music is an artist’s biggest tool. It’s the main tool you’ll use to build your fan base and audience. So, why would you want to limit the reach and impact of your music by trying to sell it to your small fan base as an upcoming hip-hop artist? Use your music to expand your reach and grow your fanbase in the early stages of your career

grow your audience

2.) Grow Your Audience

The bigger your fan base, the more potential you have to make a lot more money. Use your music and any other interesting areas in your life to grow your fan base and audience. For example, if you’re funny – hop on SnapChat, Instagram, YouTube, or any other video platform and utilize the funny side of you. Depending on how funny your current audience thinks you are and the amount of shares you get on your videos, you may see your fan base grow with people who have never heard your music before.

Here’s a short list of niches that you could use to build your fan base, in addition to your music:

  • Fashion
  • Business
  • Photography
  • Fitness
  • Food
  • and more

Create businesses that serve your audience

3.) Create Businesses That Serve Your Audience

Once you’ve built your audience and is confident that you can handle starting a business, you’re going to have to research your audience and figure out what their interest are and how the business you’re going to create can better serve them.

Here’s a short list of businesses that you can create:

  • Clothing Line / Merch
  • Blog
  • Jewelry
  • Energy Drinks
  • Subscription box service
  • and more

One of the best aspects of starting a business that aligns with your audience’s interest is that it’s easier to grow because you’ll have thousands of people that support you, supporting your business. And, once your business grows, it will begin to affect people outside of your audience, regardless if they’re a fan of you or not.

And yes, once your audience has grown to a level where it makes sense to sell your music, feel free to do so.

Side Note

There are other things you can do to bring in money as an upcoming hip-hop artist. Although this article was mainly focused on B2C (business *you* to consumer *fans*), you could focus on B2B (business to business) methods as well. For example, licensing your music & songwriting can be very lucrative. However, you’re going to need to network and build connections before good opportunities come rolling in.

Things Worth Tweeting

Things Worth Tweeting:

  • This is great information I miss the knowledge a brother name Jazzy from Jazzy Mgmt he used to give us so much educational advice on Instagram. About how to properly register your music, BDS, SoundExchange, The importance of BMI & ASCAP, How to monetize your YouTube channel to generate revenue, How to properly Copyright your music , The importance of publishing, How to properly fill out a music split sheet and how to trade mark your stage name. There was absolutely no one on the “West Coast” that was willing to share this much information with us up incoming Artists. Now I am a student at UCLA majoring in music and I would like to salute Jazzy he’s taught a lot of rappers so much about this crooked business and said it’s extremely important to know what we were getting ourselves into, that man truly inspired me to chase my dreams. So whatever he is I would like to thank him Wow he still on the face of this earth because people have the tendency to acknowledge people like this man when they’re gone. I was an up-and-coming artist and I had no idea some of the extremely valuable information he shared on social media Because he honestly wanted us to be in the business of music and succeed. And I truly feel people do not know how much of a valuable inspiration and asset he is to the west coast. He helped a lot of us whether some may not want to admit it. From Charles Sutter I appreciate you you changed my life.

    Thanks 🙏🏾 to Jazzy from Jazzy Mgmt

    • Jazzy from Jazzy mgmt is a good person to network with on the west coast. All rappers should get to know that wonderful man. A lot of us rappers put out music but our managers don’t really know the business side of the music game and we really don’t have the help

  • I’ll keep this mind ,because I’m still young but that is not an excuse to making money at a young age…thanks for the tips I really appreciate it

  • If you have a personal social media account should you make a new one as an artist account or just utilize the followers you already have?
    would appreciate any replies

  • If you have a personal social media account should you make a new one as an artist account or just utilize the followers you already have?

  • Dam that was more helpful than i thought
    Much appreciated thank you God bless you and every one you love real talk ight peace

  • I REALLY WANT TO BE A GOOD RAPPER. AND I WANT TO BE FAMOUS I NEED A GOOD ADVICE FROM SOMEONE WHO KNOWS MUCH ABOUT BEING A RAPPER

    • Ay man, so I’m a SoundCloud rapper atm so I can give you some advice. SoundCloud is not the main way to make it big I have found out. You can start out there and get a good fan base but Youtube is where it’s at. Make music videos and your name will get out there more and you will get more feedback. And don’t break the bank when getting your stuff recorded. Keep it simple, good luck. And my soundcloud is F!ow btw.

  • I wanna help a friend become more popular with his music and to go perform. I want his fan base to grow and actually start making money off his music because he is good, but he also has his “haters” which are just little kids who are idiots and no longer friends with him in the area. I want to reach the crowd and bring them to him but I’m not sure where to start. I wanna start this and my goal is set I just need a little help on what to do and the ship is sailing. His name is Sparrow and his group is 810boys. If anybody wants to put input in going ahead

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