Jay-Z makes a million dollars per show: Here’s what everyone else earns


Some of us wonder why so many young black men trade in their educational opportunities for a chance to drop rhymes on the microphone. Hip-hop has become the most marketed lottery ticket in the black community, next to the false dreams of the NBA and NFL. Sure, a small percentage of kids get a chance to eventually make money as entertainers, but the odds are one in a zillion (or something like that).

These are the numbers and success stories most likely to be sold to our kids through mainstream media, which is why black people must work to ensure that the stories of doctors, lawyers and entrepreneurs are told just as regularly. It’s much easier to become a surgeon than it is to become the next LeBron James, and you don’t even have to grow to be nearly seven feet tall.

For those who are curious, this article by our blogger, Liku Zelleke gives a breakdown of what your favorite (or least favorite) artists earn for a night on the job. The money sounds good at first, until you realize that only an incredibly small number of artists ever get to live this life, and the big money is typically short-lived.

If you hear a black child say he wants to be a professional athlete or entertainer, tell him to keep going with his hobby, but to make sports and entertainment his plan B, not his plan A. If you don’t intervene, it could be disasterous. For every Kanye West or Kevin Durant, there are a thousand others who tried and failed and ended up broke in the process. It undermines our ability to form strong black families when young black men do not get a good education and learn how to build their own wealth.

Reported by Liku Zelleke

Before the advent of the internet, artists and musicians could rely on incomes that were generated from the direct sales of their work. Although cassettes, and later CDs, were copied and bootlegged, there was still enough left for the stars to make money.

As internet usage spread torrent and peer-to-peer sharing sites appeared and anyone could download any kind of music and not pay a single cent for it. This obviously hit the artists’ pocket hard and they needed to find a better way to make sure that their incomes didn’t diminish.

And so, the tour was born. Well, artists have always toured, but it has now become the primary*****way of earning money*. Whereas in the past, concerts were held to support album sales and widen the fan base in the hopes that it would increase album sales, it has now become the opposite: artists release albums to generate interest for new tours. Of course, ticket prices are hiked up with the intention of widening profit margins.

Today, anyone from a newbie that can grab a mike and hold an audience’s attention to superstars who have millions of fans are going on the road as often as possible – and they are earning big money.

Another important player in the rappers’ money-making process, that didn’t really factor-in until not too long ago, is the booking agency. These agencies take over the booking of their client artists’ tours. While record deals once drove the aspirations of artists, today it is being able to find a wizard of an agency that really counts.

There are stars out there that are free agents and yet have millions to their names just because they were able to sign up with a booking agency that could put them in front of a crowd over and over again, guaranteeing money in everyone’s pockets. What is quite interesting is the fact that almost all the stars that have millions of fans across the globe are actually represented by just a handful of agencies. Prominent among them are William Morris Endeavor, CAA, the Agency Group and ICM.

New names in the rap game now make it their career goal to get themselves signed to one of these powerful money-makers instead of trying to land recording deals like the generations of artists before them did.

One such artist is Chance the Rapper. A natural talent and deep interest in music brought the Chicagoan to the fore of music. In 2011 he started with a single “Windows” and then followed it with a mixtape titled “10 Day” in 2012. His work was warmly accepted and he became an overnight sensation – so much so that he was featured in Forbes magazine’s Cheap Tunes column.

A few months later, Chance, whose real name is Chancellor Bennett, was asked by Childish Gambino to appear on the latter’s mix tape. This in turn led to him being asked to be the opening act when Gambino went on tour of North America.

So far, Chance hasn’t stopped touring. He did make one change though – he signed a contract with Cara Lewis and CAA. His cash flow has been rising ever since he joined the bookers and agents.

Below is a list of how much rappers get paid for a show. Although the figures are ballpark, it gives a hint as to how well they are fairing in comparison to one another.

No.ArtistAsking Price per Show

49 Isaiah Rashad $7,500

48 Vic Mensa $10,000

47 Trinidad Jame$ $12,500

46 Travi$ Scott $15,000

45 Action Bronson $20,000

44 Curren$y $20,000

43 Danny Brown $20,000

42 Asher Roth $20,000

41 Rakim $20,000

40 Ab-Soul $20,000

39 A$AP Ferg $25,000

38 Bow Wow $25,000

37 Earl Sweatshirt $25,000

36 Chance the Rapper $35,000

35 RiFF RAFF $35,000

34 De La Soul $40,000

33 Busta Rhymes $40,000

32 Game $40,000-$50,000

31 Big Boi $50,000

30 Soulja Boy $50,000+

29 Tyler, The Creator $60,000

28 Juicy J $60,000

27 Nelly $65,000

26 Lupe Fiasco $65,000-$70,000

25 Wale $70,000

24 B.o.B $70,000

23 Jeezy $70,000

22 Big Sean $75,000

21 Common $75,000

20 Mac Miller $75,000

19 Ludacris $80,000+

18 2 Chainz $85,000

17 Childish Gambino $85,000

16 A$AP Rocky $90,000-$120,000

15 Rick Ross $100,000

14 Lauryn HIll $100,000

13 Snoop Dogg $100,000

12 The Roots $100,000+

11 Kid Cudi $110,000+

10 Wiz Khalifa $115,000

9 J. Cole $125,000

8 Kendrick Lamar $125,000+

7 50 Cent $150,000+

6 Nicki Minaj $250,000+

5 Lil Wayne $300,000+

4 Drake $350,000-$600,000

3 Macklemore $350,000-$700,000

2 Kanye West $500,000+

1 Jay Z $1,000,000+


Love & Money