Forbes occasionally presents curious takes on hip-hop culture, specifically at the cross-section of rap and personal finance. Last month, writer Shawn Setaro wrote about emerging Maryland rapper Jay IDK’s Empty Bank LP (Forbes' first-ever hip-hop album premiere), and his trials and tribulations with money as presented by the album.
Today (October 14), Forbes tackled another rising, independent rapper, Toronto native Jazz Cartier. Again, the focus was on how rap supports his livelihood. After slightly glossing over Cartier’s background, writer Ogden Payne gets into the nitty-gritty of Cartier’s finances, attributing his success in 2016 to headlining a 16-date tour in Europe, landing the opening spot for a 41-date fall tour with Post Malone, and merchandise sales. Payne wrote:
“Depending on where the merchandise table is placed in the venue, and whether or not he shamelessly plugs his products on stage, ‘Cuzzi sells an average of 60 t-shirts per night around $35 per. Using some quick back-of-the-envelope math, he stands to bring in just over $85,000 in merchandise sales from the 41-date tour he embarked on this fall. But Cartier admits this is small beer compared to his online store, which saw an over 2500% increase in revenue in the past year.”
Cartier’s method serves as a reminder that in 2016, non-music revenue streams like touring and merch can enormously supplement one’s income. It’s a tried-and-true business model, à la Chance The Rapper—and a standard that many artists, both indie and major, now employ.
Cartier, in particular, reaps bigger profits from his online store, rather than from tour merch, according to the article. He creates limited runs of his t-shirts, and once those sell out, the product no longer exists. While more rappers choose to go the independent route, they’re making basic economics, like supply and demand, work for them.