Atlanta, GA – JAY-Z, Yo Gotti and Russ aren’t the only rappers who own their masters. 21 Savage is also part of that elite club of shrewd MCs — and as a result he’s making bank from his music.
During a recent appearance on Gillie Da King and Wallo’s Million Dollaz Worth Of Game podcast, the Slaughter Gang rapper explained the importance of his owning his masters, revealing he earns more money from album sales than he does from touring — an anomaly in today’s streaming era.
For the uninitiated, an artist owning their own masters means they control where their music is licensed (in TV, film and advertisements, for example) and, as a result, reap the financial rewards. Typically, record labels seek to negotiate ownership of an artist’s masters.
“I had a platinum album before I signed my [first] deal,” 21 said at the 28:50-minute mark. “I own my masters right now. Every song you’ve ever I heard me on, I own it. I got a 70/30 split with my label; I get 70, they get 30. I make more money off my album sales than I do off touring. A lot of rappers, most of their money comes from touring.”
21 Savage went onto explain how studying other rappers made him aware of the pitfalls of the music business and helped him navigate the industry smartly.
“We learned from all the OGs who fucked up, who ain’t do it the right way,” he said. “It was [my whole crew] just seeing shit, watching interviews, watching n-ggas speak on how they can’t get their music in this movie because somebody else on it.
“I done been around other rappers and we was at the same spot at the same time and they jumped the gun and went and signed a deal for $200,000, because they didn’t have enough leverage. I waited ’til I had enough leverage to go in there and say, ‘Ay, I want this much money for this album, I’m giving y’all this much and I’m keeping all this.’”
When asked by Gillie Da King if he’ll ever sell his masters, 21 replied, “I don’t know. I feel like that’s some shit you pass down for generations type shit. But then again, if a muthafucka come and say, ‘Ay Savage, I got a billion for your masters,’ that muthafucka’s gone.”
21 Savage struck his 70/30 agreement back in January 2017, when he inked a deal with Epic Records that granted him 100 percent ownership of his master recordings.
Since then, he’s released four hugely successful projects under the label, including the platinum-certified Issa Album, the chart-topping I Am > I Was and 2020’s Savage Mode II with Metro Boomin, which also hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
Watch 21 Savage’s full Million Dollaz Worth Of Game interview below.