If you haven’t noticed, the rap business has changed. You probably know this because you and all your friends likely haven’t paid for an artist’s music in a minute. Due to torrenting, streaming, and music sharing (basically the Internet), records just don’t sell like they used to. So, with record purchases more or less going the way of Blockbuster rentals, those who make their living through music have had to find another way to make money. The answer? Touring.
Currently, everyone from struggle rappers to superstars are touring more often, hitting more cities, and generally, getting more money. As touring becomes more crucial, the amount that artists get paid for a show, a.k.a. their quote, becomes more interesting and more important. Rap fans geeked out over sales numbers to see how their favorite and least favorite rappers' careers are fairing. Now, you’re much better off checking how much they get for a show. Remember when 50 Cent and Kanye West had their sales competition? That was 2008, but in 2014, they should be seeing whose quote is higher (Answer: 'Ye by a million).
Another major development is how massively important booking agencies, a.k.a. the companies whose agents book artists’ tours, have become. As record deals mean less and less, who your booking agent is can count for everything. A few major companies—William Morris Endeavor, CAA, the Agency Group, and ICM—represent nearly all your favorite rappers, and a few agents, major players like Cara Lewis or Peter Schwartz, have taken on the behind-the-scenes roles of tastemakers. For up-and-comers, getting signed to a powerful booking agency can be a bigger cosign than signing your first deal. Chance the Rapper has yet to link up with a label, but in 2013 inking a contract with Cara Lewis and CAA was more than enough to verify his hype.
Because of how important touring has become, we compiled a list letting you know how much your favorite rapper gets paid for a show. All these numbers are ballpark estimates gathered by scouring the Internet for details on tours posted by industry sites or speaking with agencies and third party dealers and asking for their artists’ quotes. However, there are interesting quirks that can twist some of these figures. For example, you get paid exponentially more for a “one-off” (a random show at a festival, college, or private party) than you would for stops on an extended tour.
For anyone interested in which rappers are really getting the most money and who is dominating in the most important area in the music industry today, this list has all you need. Study up.