Why Artist Should Ask for 5 Million Dollars

By way of my guy Wildstyle, I came across this post by way of EJazz

“If someone offered you a deal , and you DO NOT have to RECOUP – how much would you need to take yourself to the next level?”

I seen a lot of extremely low numbers. One was extremely low 5 figures. It made me think and my response was

“I’m no artist…but I feel no artist should say LESS than 5 MILLION…”

So far it’s been no response or reaction to it, but I definitely want to speak in depth about why I say no less than 5 million. First thing to recognize that “next level” to me is making “Recording Artist” a full time job. So my elaboration is fueled solely by that goal.


Image by Chris Sansbury from Pixabay

Word to Neighborhood Nip, you got to see the marathon of what “taking your career to the next level means”. Too many artist think, “all I need to do is record one song and push it” and that’s the wrong mentality. You need one song to hit and connect with the people who will support and buy into you and that song. There’s a pretty good chance that won’t be song 1. It may also not be song 10, 50 or 100. No matter what song number it is, you want to sustain recording consistency and efficiency. With that you will also need something called quality. Consistent, quality music recording cost. And it cost a lot when you trying to make “Recording artist” a full time job. Honestly, for a calendar year, in house or visiting a studio. I would say 250K is a fair recording budget. You save time when you come with written rhymes. Great engineers aren’t cheap and they shouldn’t be. That annual number have have just doubled for some. DJ, Producers, Sample clearance, musicians, whatever your vibe is 250K or more would need to cover it.

Next thing you got to do is promote your song. The days of organic growth are pretty much over. Facebook runs the social media game and the exposure on the free internet cost. So off top thinking you going to upload your link and get 1,000 shares cause it’s good, is dead. You need to have a real social media marketing campaign in place in 2019 and beyond. If you’re depending on people to support your latest song cause it’s you and you worked hard and put a lot of time into it; You might as well depend on a hail storm of quarters and dimes falling from the sky. Your biggest supporters will be the people that have no idea who you are in real life. Let’s put a value of a great social media marketing campaign for a year at $25,000 That’s a little more than 2 grand a month. You can still get a lot accomplished with that.

We covered music quality and how to make it visible. Now, let’s talk about the new element of the game that every artist will need in the future or at least until they are established with nothing else to prove; Content. Every budding artist and rising star will need content. It helps promote the brand and helps with staying power in a world that’s moving faster than ever. Cameras, Camera phones, freelance photographers and videographers, social media managers, graphic designers; All of that cost. And like everything in life, you spend on quality. Personal opinion, a good content budget is 125K. Unless you got friends that have these skills and are willing to do it for dirt cheap or free, expect to come up off at least low 6 figures to keep consistent weekly content out on the e-streets. Yes music counts too, but that music needs artwork, imagery and or graphics. All of that falls under the umbrella of content now. 10K a month or more seems like a lot, but remember you could be paying for the skill and time of at least 5 other people. Which means they got maybe 2 grand to make you look like A million. Just saying.

You’ve done all this work and guess what you haven’t done yet? Booked a show. And shows are still the best way to get your music out to the people. Whether it’s open mics, festivals or booking your own clubs, a show or 12 will cost you money. Plane, train or automobile. Hotel or Air BnB. Either way it’s going to be some money involved. Even if you got a homey or a chick house you can stay at, what about the rest of your team? You got to take care of them or you rolling solo. This is why you only travel with the people of purpose. Everybody else buys a ticket. Don’t forget, if you’re booking independently and a club hates hip-hop, you’ll also have to book your own DJ and security and they still may cheat you at the door. Then of course only 10 people may show up and everybody involved could take a loss. You would want to do way more than 12 shows a month, but lets say you can make all that and more happen with 50K. That’s for you and the people that matter most to your process. Some people may actually tell you more than that and they honestly wouldn’t be wrong.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Cam, you asking for all that money and didn’t even spend close to half of it. How you need 5 million if you didn’t even spend 2.5 million in the first year? The answer is real simple. I want to do this for a career, not a summer. You must think long term in the music industry. If all you want is the song of the summer than cool, problem solved. But if you want music as a full time career and afford to put out quality product, tour and create for the next 3-5 than you want 5 million or more. We all know somebody right now that’s not in the studio, not buying equipment or not making it to a show because the rent due, they phone off, the show is free but this job is paid. Don’t struggle on purpose. Pay that rent and utilities for the first year in case that first hit don’t come as fast as you expected. Live within your same means and keep investing in yourself. Some of your favorite artist are still chasing a number 1 song and a number 1 song doesn’t automatically equal a number 1 album. Deal with the reality of music success not the desired result. You want 5 million just in case they game don’t love you. You don’t want to be a homeless failed rapper right? Plan for 2025 not 4th quarter of 2019. And if you don’t got to recoup as the original statement says, why would you not ask for 7 figures or better?

Bottom line, your goal should be longevity in the music industry, not “getting by until I get this hit”. And if you can play with house money, play to win. I totally understand that the scenario is “dream ish” and no company will throw money at you without the want to recoup, but Bruh; If they did, you better grab an amount that can change your life, even if you brick, have 3 kids and develop a drug habit.

Too many artist and people in general believe in all these “overnight success” stories to be the process and not the anomaly. The “we was just playing around in the studio one day” or “Somebody heard me spitting and invited to the studio and boom” stories are few and far between and to be real, they’re lies. There are very successful legends in the music industry that haven’t had that experience and have seen those same people come and go. It’s going to take way more than “a few thousand” and 1 song to make a music career. If you don’t believe that, I recommend visiting indeed.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s