The last year has been a great one for Chicago-born Chance The Rapper. The good times started with his feature on Kanye West’s Grammy-nominated The Life of Pablo album, where he stole the show on the intro track, Ultralight Beam. The feature drew interest to his Coloring Book mixtape, which was a hit with critics. However, the crowning achievement was Chance The Rapper’s success at the Grammys last week, where he earned Best New Artist, Best Rap Performance, and Best Rap Album, beating out major names like Kanye West and Drake. Notably, he did this without a major label, and CelebrityNetWorth reports that the labels are now making major offers, with no success so far.
An insider told the New York Post that following Chance The Rapper’s Grammy wins, “Every label is still trying to get him. He’s making too much on his own… He was turning down $5 million advances before, and now it’s like $10 million.” While many believe that turning down this kind of money is a bad financial decision, these numbers don’t reflect the final money that goes into an artist’s pocket. An advance that record labels provide with a record deal isn’t money that the artist gets to keep. Consider this a loan that is repaid by the artist through touring and album sales. Even after the advance is repaid, the record label will still take percentages of all revenue that the artist’s music brings in afterward.
While this may sound like a raw deal, many artists need the benefits that working with a major record label provides. These deals allow for opportunities like radio airplay, chances for the general public to hear their music, and facilitating distribution in exchange for a piece of the profits. However, as is clear from his success, Chance The Rapper doesn’t need any help getting the public to listen to and purchase his music. In fact, there is a solid chance if he were to take one of these advances, it would be helping the record label more than it would be helping him. Does this mean that he will be working on his own forever? Not necessarily, but it is likely that if a major label is going to snag Chance The Rapper, they will need to create a special deal that appeals to him both financially and creatively.
By Ryan Velez for Financial Juneteenth