Nipsey Hussle and the New 360 DealOctober 25th, 2013
By Jacob Rohn
Last week L.A. rapper and entrepreneur, Nipsey Hussle garnered national press when he released his latest mixtape, Crenshaw for the modest price of $100. The headline was strategically deceiving. Who would pay $100 for what is normally a free mixtape? Wait, Jay Z bought 100 of them?
People were so intrigued they had to check out the story even if they were not a fan of Nipsey Hussle. With the limited edition mixtape (only 1,000 were made available) mixtape, you also received access to a private show that would be held exclusively for those that paid the $100 sticker price. Not such a bad deal anymore is it? Nipsey sold out of the mixtapes in just one day. (That’s $100,000 for those counting). Did he just give the independent musician the greatest idea since the internet? Possibly.
Currently companies like Live Nation and AEG are signing artists to “360 deals.” which gives the artist an upfront singing bonus. Jay Z’s most recent deal with them was for $150 million. The company, however, gets a chunk of everything from merchandise, to album sales and of course, live shows and the ensuing live show DVDs. The rapper Game once said of the all-encompassing agreement, “If I find a dollar on the sidewalk I gotta give (the label) half.” So it’s not always as lucrative for the artist as it looks.
But if, Hussle, a moderately popular artist (though his name rings out in his native California), can make $100K in a day, what would happen if someone like Jay-Z or Kanye West followed suit? The press coverage wouldn’t cost a dime. Your marketing and advertising budget would be zero! The artist could actually lower the price of the CD/concert ticket and STILL make more money. That’s a win/win.
We gotta give it to Nipsey–he has always been ahead of the game from a business perspective. In addition to rapping, the 28 year-old also owns a successful cell phone store and clothing store in his LA neighborhood. On this one, he deserves some serious props. He just did what comedian Louis CK did for comedy when he released his standup special for $5 on his own website. Gave artists an avenue to make money without the corporate middleman and in a way that also benefits the fans.
Other rappers and musicians in general should applaud Nipsey Hussle for deciding not to allow himself to become another corporate victim.