How Do Rappers Make Money [2024] 15 Ways to Get Paid

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I was born and raised in the Bronx, the birthplace of rap and hip-hop. I went to underground rap battles. I spit bars. I watched some rap artists blow up to make lots of money, while others never did.

I’ll explain: how do rappers make money, how to make money as a rapper, and exactly how much do rappers make.

You might think rappers make money from streams. But rappers only earn about $4 per 1000 streams on Spotify1.

There are other ways how rappers make money such as:

  • Merchandise on Shopify
  • Touring / Live Shows (biggest money) 
  • Selling beats / freelance producing
  • Brand partnerships 
  • YouTube
  • Crowdfunding

And much more!

How Do Rappers Make Money

You already know about billionaire rappers like Jay-Z and other commercially successful rappers like Drake, Lil Wayne, Eminem, and more. So let’s take a look at how an independent rapper makes money.

Russ AKA Russell James Vitale is an indie rapper. He started independent, secured a record deal with Columbia, but went back to being an independent rapper.

His song, “Best on Earth” with Bia hit number 46 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The single is certified 2x Multi-Platinum. Here’s how Russ and other rappers make money.

YouTube Ads

Russ makes money when you see ads on his YouTube videos.

His YouTube video “Best on Earth” has made Russ over a million dollars. Russ makes money whenever people see the ads that YouTube shows on his channel.

When you allow YouTube to show ads on your videos, you get paid. How much you get paid by YouTube as a rapper varies. Rappers earn between $5 to $30 per 1,000 views from those advertisements.

So if you make a rap video with a million views, you could make $30,000 dollars.

Make money on your rap videos using these methods as well:

  • Ask fans for their email addresses for your email newsletter
  • sell merchandise
  • promote your touring schedule
  • promote your Cameo
  • promote your Patreon

How do rappers make money? They diversify their income!

Here are other ways how to make 10k a month (and for those of you that like to think BIG: How to make 50k a month).

On your YouTube, be sure to direct people to your website. Use the best small business website design to treat your music like the real business that it is!

Teach Others to Rap and Write Rhymes

Wonder how do rappers make money? Here’s an unusual way how to make money as a rapper: upload videos teaching people how to rap and write lyrics!

Screenshot of a rap masterclass where you can learn how to rap
Teachable has online classes for how to rap. Rappers are making money online!

As a rapper, you know your fans respect your game. You have fans who want to learn how to write raps, freestyle rap, or produce their own beats. So you can teach them for money.

Post your tutorial videos on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.

Tell your social media followers that you’re selling a video course on Skool or Teachable

These online learning platforms make it easy to promote your rap class, accept money, and create a community. 

You can also host free webinars to answer questions live. Encourage these aspiring rappers to sign-up for your paid course. Here is the best webinar software to use.

Sync Deals / Licensing / Broadcasts 

How do rappers make money without leaving home? Sync deals! 

Synchronized licensing is when the rapper gets paid for allowing his or her song to be played in a movie, or television show, or video game.

How do rappers get sync deals?

  • Some rappers go through a music publisher with connections, or
  • Submit songs to music libraries like and Epidemic Sound, Songtradr, Artlist, Music Vine, MusicBed, Soundstripe, and AudioJungle, or
  • Directly reach out to the people who would want to license it 

Here’s a way to get sync deals as an unsigned rapper:

  1. Find your favorite YouTubers 
  2. Email asking if they want to use your rap songs for free if they link to your channel.
  3. Now email other YouTubers using that as an example of your rapping ability. Except this time you’ll be charging so you get paid.
  4. Email independent filmmakers. Offer them your raps for a fee.
  5. Then contact the big dogs like TV show producers and streaming services like Netflix and Hulu

Create a Newsletter 

Gaining followers for your rap music on Instagram, TikTok, etc., is a terrific way to find new fans. But boom! The social media platform changes its algorithm and now they hide your posts. Or they shadow ban your account or block you for whatever reason. 

Protect ya neck (Wu-Tang Forever!) from changing social media algorithms with an email newsletter. 

This is how you’ll be sure your rap fans get all your new tour dates, new merchandise for sale, and new songs.

Use ConvertKit for your email newsletter. It’s the best and it’s affordable. 

2 Chainz has an email list and so should you:

A screenshot of 2Chainz’ email newsletter sign up form
How do rappers make money with a newsletter? Easy. They send special offers for merchandise, links to buy concert tickets, and more

Here’s the best email marketing software.

Sell Shout Outs to Rap Fans on Cameo 

How do rappers make money the easy way? Cameo

For example, fans of Afroman pay $135 for a personalized video. It only takes Afroman 90 seconds to make that money!

A screenshot of rapper Afroman on Cameo
Rapper Afroman has made over $20,000 from Cameo.

Rappers are using Cameo to make money online.

Here are other ways how to make money fast.

Sponsorships / Brand Partnerships 

How do rappers make money with brand partnerships? Check out which rappers already have sponsorships. Then contact those companies to let them know you’re open to doing a similar deal.

Another way for rappers to make money is to submit UGC (User Generated Content) to brands. 

See if brands you like take UGC submissions. As a rapper you’ll be making money like an influencer or micro-influencer. 

Mega influencer is one of those dream jobs that pay 1 million dollars a month. You can also learn more in this guide on how to make $20,000 dollars a week.

Merchandise 

If you want to know how to make money as a rapper, sell merchandise! 

Rappers can sell merchandise on Shopify.

Screenshot of some of the merch rapper Russ sells, including shirts and socks.
Rapper Russ makes money with merchandise in his online store.

Get your Shopify store going and create your website with the best blogging platform.

Here are more ideas if you want to know: what can I sell to make money.

Selling merchandise as a rapper can become one of the best jobs that pay over 1 million a year.

Patreon memberships

Rappers have fan clubs on Patreon. Rappers can get paid from membership fees.

Check out consciousness rapper Jake Emlyn as an example:

Screenshot of rapper Jake Emlyn’s Patreon page
Jake Emlyn raps about living on a higher level of spirituality. He uses Patreon for his paid fan club.

From the numbers above, it appears Jake Emlyn is making between $140 and $420 per month on Patreon as a rapper.

Another way rappers make money is on OnlyFans. In fact, the biggest earners on OnlyFans are rappers Cardi B and Tyga. Learn how to make money on OnlyFans.

Paypal Tips and In-Person Tips

When thinking about how do rappers make money, you might forget about tips. But especially for unsigned rappers, your fans feel your struggle. They want to support your rap career.

During your live performances ask people to tip you cash in your tip bucket. And another way how to make more money: accept tips on CashApp, Venmo, and PayPal.

If rapping is more of a hobby for you, check out other hobbies to make money for money making ideas.

College Tours 

Rappers can get paid between $1,000 to $4,000 per college gig.

Here’s how to make money as a rapper: secure an audition on a NACA showcase2.

Live Performances / Tours 

The way to make the most money as a rapper is by selling concert tickets. Rappers usually earn about 85% of each ticket sold.

Rapper J Cole makes about $2 million dollars per concert. 

When 21 Savage first made it big, he was making $25,000 dollars for each performance. Now 21 Savage can make a million dollars per show or more.

Rappers with enough fans should look for a tour manager and booking agent to help set up a tour. 

On tour you’ll sell merch like t-shirts, hats, and hardcore gangsta coffee mugs.

Voiceovers

Here’s a good side hustle for rappers: Post a profile on Fiverr or Upwork or Voice123. Offer your talents as a voiceover artist.

Businesses that need a unique or nice voice to read their scripts will pay you. Voiceovers are a great gig for male rappers and it’s one of the best business ideas for women

Freelance Producing and Mixing

You can mix songs for other rappers for about $300 a piece. Post your profile on UpWork or Fiverr.

Use audio editing software to help other rappers and get paid for it.

This is one of the best low-cost business ideas with high profit.

Rewards Credit Cards

You're an independent rapper making money. That means you have a business. Even if you don’t use an LLC service, you’re actually already what’s called a “sole proprietor.”

That means you can qualify for the best business credit cards. Some business credit cards award a $1,000 sign-up bonus. I’ve earned thousands of dollars from business credit card bonuses in the form of cash back and travel points.

Rappers can use credit card travel points for free hotel stays and flights to gigs. 

For example, I’ve used credit card points to travel in Business Class to Europe. I looked rich because I got free champagne and a bed to sleep in on the plane. But really I just used business credit card points!

I most often use my Chase Ink business cards to earn money and free travel.

Warning: Do NOT open credit cards for the bonus money if you don’t trust yourself with credit. But if you can use the credit cards for what you were going to buy anyway, it’s free money to help your rap career.

Also check out the best credit cards for young adults

On that list I really like my Chase Freedom card to get cash back everywhere.

Crowdfunding Campaigns 

To raise money for your rapping career, you can make your case on crowdfunding sites like 

  • Kickstarter
  • Indiegogo, 
  • GoFundMe

I’ve found that it helps if you have a worthwhile angle. Crowdfunding supporters tend to appreciate a good story and cause.

For example:

Rapper Colby is crowdfunding on GoFundMe to help raise money for a rap album
Rapper Colby Jeffers is crowdfunding money to support his new rap album.

Common Questions About How to Make Money as a Rapper

How Do Rappers Get So Rich? 

Rappers get rich by getting famous and selling lots of concert tickets. Tours pay rappers the most money compared to streams, downloads, or even merchandise.

Another way rappers get rich is by becoming influencers. Snoop Dogg is in lots of TV commercials because he effectively influences people to use those products.

How Do Unsigned Rappers Make Money? 

Unsigned rappers like Russ make millions of dollars. You don’t need a record deal as a rapper. Rappers make money in these ways:

  • Concerts – this is the most lucrative way how to make money as an unsigned rapper
  • College shows – apply to NACA – get paid up to $4,000 per show
  • Sell Merchandise – use Shopify 
  • Sync deals / placements on TV shows
  • Earn tips online and in person 
  • Patreon fan club membership fees
  • Sponsorships
  • Voiceover work
  • Teaching people how to rap and write lyrics. Upload videos to Skool or Teachable 
  • Freelance producing and mixing
  • Crowdfunding

How Do Rappers Get Paid? 

Rappers get paid from:

  • Tours
  • College gigs
  • Merchandise – use Shopify 
  • Tips online and in person 
  • Patreon fan club membership fees
  • Sync deals / TV show placements
  • Sponsorships
  • Voiceover work
  • Teaching rap classes online with Skool or Teachable 
  • Freelance producing and mixing

How Do Rappers Gain Popularity? / How Do Rappers Get Famous? 

Rapper Russ was unknown. Russ got famous by releasing 87 songs in 3 years without charging for them. ​​ Then he uploaded a new song each week to SoundCloud for another 3 years. Rap fans really liked those songs, especially “What They Want” and “Losin Control.” Rapper Russ gained popularity when those two songs became hits on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. 

Basically, Russ rapped for free and got better and better. He put his songs on the internet for free. Finally after many years people really like his music.

Other ways rappers gain popularity:

  • Post rap videos – Lil Nas X got popular on Twitter and then got famous on TikTok
  • Collaborate with famous artists – Lil Nas X got even more famous by collaborating with country music star Billy Ray Cyrus
  • Make a podcast and perform on it. Here’s the best podcast hosting.

How to Make Money as a Rapper Without Paying? 

You can make money as a rapper without paying by rapping and uploading it to YouTube. When YouTube shows ads on your video, you’ll make money

You can use free rap beats on sites like Pixabay3.

How to Make Money as a Rapper For Free? 

Make money as a rapper for free by recording an acapella rap (no beat) and uploading it to YouTube. Allow YouTube to show ads on your video. Then you’ll make money.

Or you can use free rap beats on sites like Free Music Archive4.

How Do Rappers Make Money on Spotify?

Rappers make money on Spotify from royalties5. Typically, rappers make money once a month from royalty payments that average out to about $4 per 1000 streams.

How Do Rappers Make Money From Streaming?

Rappers make money from streaming royalties when Spotify pays them. Expect to earn about $4 per 1000 streams.

How Much Do Rappers Get Paid Per Song? 

Rappers get paid about $4 per 1000 streams of their songs on Spotify. How much rappers get paid per song depends on if that song 

  • gets licensed to be in a movie, TV show, or video game (sync deal)
  • is shown on YouTube with ads
  • helps the rapper sell more concert tickets (this is where the millions of dollars are)

How Do Rappers Get Paid From YouTube? 

Rappers who allow YouTube to show ads on their videos get paid.

How Much Do Rappers Make Per Month? 

Rappers can make anywhere from $0 to over $1 millions dollars per month. Rapper isn’t a job that pays a salary like an NBA player or office worker. 

How much do rappers make in a year

Rappers make exactly enough money in a year to pay for their rent and tattoos, but not a dollar more. OK, really, it depends. Some rappers can make millions of dollars a year by touring. They get paid from concert ticket sales. Other rappers make $100 per performance because they’re not famous or they’re just starting out.

How much do rappers make / how much do rappers get paid

Rappers get paid about $4 per 1000 streams of their songs on Spotify. Rappers also get paid when they allow YouTube to show ads on their channel. YouTube can make these rappers a millionaire. Famous rappers can get paid $200,000 per concert. Rappers just starting out might make $100 per show.

Related:

Sources:

1 https://soundcamps.com/spotify-royalties-calculator 

2 – https://www.naca.org/

3 – https://pixabay.com/music/search/rap%20beat/

4 – https://freemusicarchive.org/genre/Hip-Hop_Beats/

5 – https://support.spotify.com/us/artists/article/royalties/

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About Scott Lieberman

Scott Lieberman is founder of Touchdown Money. Scott has been making money online for over 20 years. It's allowed him to travel the world while working remotely. Scott is an expert in online business, digital marketing, credit card reward programs, and content marketing strategies.

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