People get caught up in the way they think the music business works as opposed to how it actually works. These Forbes lists get a lot of hoopla, but I have some serious questions about the realities of the numbers Forbes comes up with. First let’s take a look at how Forbes calculated these numbers:
The Hip-Hop Cash Kings charts pretax earnings for all living artists whose work is primarily classified as hip-hop or rap. The estimates include income from record sales, touring, digital downloads, films, merchandise sales, endorsements, books and other entertainment ventures; management, agent and attorney fees are not deducted. Earnings are calculated for the period from May 2010 to May 2011 and based on data from Pollstar, Nielsen SoundScan, the Recording Industry Association of America, and individual record labels, as well as interviews with numerous lawyers, media buyers, managers and many of the artists themselves.
So pretty much this was all based on soundscan and institutionalized touring and merchandising. Let me first explain why these soundscan numbers mean nothing. These numbers are pretty much based on the amount of revenue an artist created. This has nothing to do with revenue an artist actually receives. We don’t know what types of deals these artists have. Did Wiz Khalifa get $11 Million dollars? Or did the guy who owns Rostrum Records get a big hunk of that money? Bid B.o.B. get $5 million dollars? Or did he get extorted by the A&R’s at Atlantic Records? The artist might be the name on that revenue. That doesn’t mean that artist got it. And that is not a shot at Rostrum or those A&R’s because without Rostrum there is no Wiz Khalifa, and without those A&R’s B.o.B is not B.o.B. That’s part of the game. A part of the game I will acknowlege if Forbes won’t.
My next point is on institutionalized touring/merch which is a term I’m pretty sure I just made up. Let’s be honest, a lot of rappers are getting money off the books. Ya Jay-Z gets paid a lot for the tours he does with the Live Nation Corporation. But there are rappers out there who are getting 20K in a duffle bag (unless it’s conterfeit) to do shows at clubs and sh*t. How do you think Yo Gotti can afford to fly private? I doubt those guys are reporting that money to anyone. Plus you want to talk touring and merch? How the f*ck is Tech N9ne not on this list? That alone compleltey invalidates Forbes. The guy has a factory/complex that has marble floors with the Strange Music logo on them for godsake. Rick Ross is sitting somewhere saying bawse. But I doubt Rick Ross is going on tour with three 16 wheelers of merch that will be completley sold out before the tour is over. Tech N9ne has done that and will countinue to. Rick Ross is on the list, and Tech N9ne isn’t? Does not make sense to me. Plus is Forbes considering the fact Diddy tricks Europeans into buying Sean John as “hip-hop” merchandise? Once again these are the question a f*ck boy hip hop blogger asks himself. I’m not saying I have the answers, but I definitly got some questions…
Sidebar: Gotta give it to Snoop for killing it in the endorsement deal department. I have never seen anyone get so much money from so many different companies so that they can be associated with him. The PR company he owns is always trying to trick me into giving companies free advertising since he is involved. I feel like this happens on a weekly basis with a new company. I have to respect anyone who so successfully monetizes being a pothead. #Salutes