Rap beats pop in at least one category. Last month, rapper Eminem accumulated more “Likes” on his Facebook page than pop star Lady Gaga. As of this writing, Eminem has about 29.7 million Facebook fans, compared to Gaga’s 29.4 million Facebook followers. In comparison, pop king Michael Jackson has about 29.6 million Facebook fans.
Here’s a look at the Facebook popularity of some other famous rappers. The numbers are rounded because they change all the time:
Lil Wayne: 20,800,000
Chris Brown: 8,800,000
Nicki Minaj: 7,700,000
Snoop Dogg: 6,900,000
Kanye West: 6,000.000
Wiz Khalifa: 3,800,000
Waka Flocka Flame: 3,100,000
Dr. Dre: 1,100,000
Busta Rhymes: 457,000
Lil Kim: 404,000
Biggie Smalls: 413,000
Rick Ross: 289,000
There’s no doubt that Facebook is just one measure of a rapper’s popularity, and Facebook numbers don’t necessarily convert into sales – a truer measure of how much fans really “like” a rap musician. However, it’s also hard to diminish the importance of social media when it comes to building a rapper’s career.
Eminem probably doesn’t need Facebook for career-building purposes, but having a fan page is a great way to engage those people who are truly interested in a new musician’s career. Monetarily, we that Jay-Z is the most successful rapper. Much of his income comes not from his rap music, but from other businesses related to rap, his nightclubs, product endorsements, and his work as a producer for other rap musicians. Because his income stream is diverse, he probably doesn’t need to worry much about his music sales, or contact with music fans.
Eminem is the most successful vendor of rap beats in terms of album sales, but he ranks well below other rappers in income because he doesn’t build many other income streams. He needs to have much more contact with his fan base because his fans are his income. If you look at the rappers highest on the list, you see that the vast majority of their income is fan-driven. Rappers farther down on the list may make more income, but do so from diverse sources (e.g., Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, etc.)
For new rappers who have not yet made a name, getting a good Facebook following is a way to earn name recognition. This name recognition can lead to other income streams. Facebook is also a great way to distribute self-produced music and mixtapes, which can also drive recognition and grow your fanbase. If you’re producing your own rap beats and you want a good way to take off, create a fan page and push your best stuff to it. You may find that you’re “giving away” your music, but if that helps you build a loyal fan base and earn name recognition, you can promote new material more easily to a fan base who already knows and “likes” you.
Photo Credit: marcopako, via Flickr