It pays to have a solid dance move.
TMZ is reporting that “Watch Me” rapper Silentó has made $100,000 for his hit single through a deal with Capitol Records that he signed, which also includes provisions for four subsequent albums.
The song, which both solidified and pushed the “Whip/Nae Nae” dance craze to mainstream America, has racked up over 500 million views on YouTube since being released in June of this year. Proving just how much a dance craze can be worth, Silentó is slated to net $50,000 for his debut project and up to $500,000 for every subsequent release.
We don’t often get such a clear line from internet fame to cold hard cash, and while we don't know what exactly that $100,000 figure covers - is that money purely from YouTube streams? Publishing? What about live shows? - it’ll certainly more than enough to get the 17-year-old going.
On the other hand, considering that "Whip/Nae Nae" was the biggest craze and cultural phenomenon of 2015, everyone from elementary school students to cartoon characters were doing it, $100K alone doesn't seem like much, even with a larger record deal in tow. It appears he had this deal in place before the track was released, which raises the question of how much money the song actually netted overall as well. Someone's getting very rich off this song, it just might not be Silentó. Welcome to the music industry.
Regardless, “Watch Me” doesn’t appear to be losing steam anytime soon. The song has battled The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face” on the top of the charts for a good chunk of the last few months. Money is one thing, but dude certainly has cultural capital to boot. Now we’ll have to wait and see if he can do it again in 2016.