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24kGoldn is a chart-topping hip-hop artist and songwriter who was born and raised in San Francisco. In this episode, he talks about the opportunities he has gotten since “Mood” shot to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the middle of the pandemic. He shares how he leveraged Tiktok to stay relevant and what innovations he has done with his music. He also dives into his current investments and the business aspect of his brand.
Get to know the genius behind the TikTok hit “Mood” and see what other options artists have when it comes to making money.
[02:32] What it has been like for 24kGoldn since the pandemic began
[05:25] The pros and cons of going virtual or working remotely
[08:55] How much work went into making “Mood” a hit through TikTok
[10:25] About the #BlackTikTokStrike
[12:25] The different ways you can get your music heard
[18:52] 24kGoldn’s musical inspirations and aspirations
[22:00] His investment portfolio
[24:42] The opportunities in getting artists to endorse and invest in consumer products
[31:28] On playlisting and signing with record labels
Link: Public.com (Code: trapital)
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Dan: Hey, welcome to the Trapital podcast. I’m the host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. Today’s episode is with 24kGoldn, who is a chart-topping hip-hop artist behind big hits like “Valentino” and “Mood.” “Mood” was one of the biggest hits of 2020. That song was everywhere and one of the biggest reasons is because of TikTok. We talked about how Goldn leveraged TikTok and how the platform continues to change but how he’s been able to help stay ahead of the curve.
We also talked about what it’s been like to blow up in the middle of a pandemic. Goldn obviously was successful with this given the success he had on TikTok, but when you blow up in the middle of the pandemic, you can’t hear your music outside, you can’t tour and some of those other things, but Goldn was still able to take advantage of it. We talked about some of the brand deals and features he was able to do to keep that going. And we also talked about how 24kGoldn structures things from a business perspective. How does he look at his investments? How does he look at the record deals that he wants to sign? And who is he modeling his career after and how does he wanna look back on the business opportunities and the platform that he’s built for himself years down the road?
This is a special episode because this was actually the first Trapital podcast episode that I’ve recorded in person since the pandemic started. Goldn is born and raised in San Francisco so it’s great to talk with him when he was back at his hometown visiting his family. Here’s my conversation with 24kGoldn.
Today’s partner is public.com, an investing app that’s part investing, part social network, so you can discuss new trends with other investors in the community and get smarter while you build your portfolio. Get started on Public today with a free $10 slice of stock using my code, Trapital, when you sign up for an account, and then make sure you follow me on the app, @RuncieDan. This is a paid endorsement for open to the public, member of FINRA and SIPC, investing involves risk of loss, regulatory and firm fees apply, offer valid in the US for residents 18 and up subject to account approval, new accounts only.
Dan: All right, we got 24kGoldn here, San Francisco born and raised. How does it feel to be back, man?
24kGoldn: Feels good. You know, I always come back every couple months just to get some clarity and see the family and everything like that.
Dan: That’s what’s up. And I feel for you, especially the past year has just been so huge, right? Like “Mood” blows up, your platform blows up, but there’s also been this pandemic and there’s so much uncertainty with everything.
Dan: How’s it been?
24kGoldn: Weird. I mean, it’s just like, I think I’ve said this before but like going through a global pandemic is very life-changing and getting a number one song for eight weeks is life-changing but to have both happen at the same time and kind of play off of each other is just like the most bizarre, best worst, worst best thing that could ever happen to you, I think.
Dan: And, in that moment, you’re also trying to — like you have your own life and everything that you’re doing there and then people are hitting you up on this like superstar-type status because of everything you’ve achieved and it must be like this like jolt, right? Because so much happens instantaneously, so much happens now, like how is it being able to just navigate all of those types of changes?
24kGoldn: I mean, it just felt like I was getting a lot busier because I guess, yeah, people would treat me with a higher regard or it’s more just like people will stop you more when you’re up, especially in LA, for better or for worse, but I didn’t really like — I didn’t get to fully reap the benefits of having that number one song or not even fully reap the benefits but fully understand like what that meant because of it happening in a vacuum.
So, really, the only people that I was interacting with on a daily basis was my friends that I lived with, who also produced the song, so we’re all kind of in that together, which was nice, but it was that and my managers, like Paperboy and like my family who I talked to on the phone but I didn’t even really go see them that much during that time just because every day was so jam-packed busy, but I think it probably would have felt a lot different if it was a regular time of the world when that happened.
Dan: Right, because then you get to see what it was like for your music to be outside. You couldn’t see without going live.
24kGoldn: Yeah, and that’s what really matters because I think when it’s just numbers on a screen or stats and I got this many streams today that I don’t really know how to comprehend that. The brain doesn’t know what 3 million looks like or 3 million people looks like if you put them all into a room, right? But going outside to the park or whatever, hearing kids listening to your song or doing a show and having people sing the words back to you, that’s just — those are the things that really impact and like make you feel like you’re doing something that’s adding value to the world, but I didn’t get that so it was kind of weird, yeah.
Dan: Right, but it’s like you and your team still tried to find some ways to capitalize on that momentum —
24kGoldn: Oh, yeah. Oh, of course.
Dan: — brand partnerships and all of that.
24kGoldn: Yeah, so I did a bunch of brand partnerships. I just did some with Levi’s recently, Starface, which kind of ties more into, I think, probably a later topic of just like investing in consumer products and stuff like that, but, yeah, I did a lot of brand partnerships and virtual concerts like virtual performances, college kids, like colleges would like book me on Zoom to do a show sometimes, stuff like that, so that was pretty cool.
Dan: Did you like a lot of that stuff or were there some of that stuff you liked more than others?
24kGoldn: I liked the fact that I could go do, for example, 10 interviews in an hour versus having to go to every single city and like meet with the radio station or something like that, so it allowed me to get a lot more done in less time but, at the same time, it’s like I didn’t get into this game to be on my laptop for three hours every day just answering the same questions in 10-minute segments over and over again. I really want to go and see the world and travel, even if it’s not the most efficient thing to do at the time, so it had its pros and cons, for sure.
Dan: Yeah, I can see that. I can imagine it’s also pretty transactional too, to some extent, right? Like you’re in this because you wanna feel the music, you’re not just trying to like make money, you wanna be part of this —
Dan: — but so much of that online experience, even if you’re getting paid, can feel very transactional.
24kGoldn: Yeah, because you don’t get that — you don’t get to feel that energy, you know? So it’s like, well, I’m gonna perform and, for me, I know there’s people watching at home so I’m gonna give them my all regardless, but it’s like I’m gonna perform and I’m really just performing to this camera right here, it doesn’t feel like there’s 100, 1,000, 10,000 people on the other end and they’re gonna give me some money but it’s like you really miss out on that human connection, to a certain extent.
Dan: Right, and I also saw you did some paid features too, right?
Dan: How was that?
24kGoldn: That’s something I definitely wish — maybe not, I regret a little more just because there wasn’t a lot of ways to make money in independent besides virtual performances, brand partnerships, or paid features and I’m like, well, this is the biggest moment of my career, I probably should take advantage of my being so hot right now and make some money off of it, but looking back now, I think I used the money correctly, you know, and put it into the right places but just like doing music, that not doing it — like the main reason why I’m doing it isn’t because I fucked with this song or I fucked with this artist but it is because I’m getting paid, even if I do a good job and people like the songs, I’m not gonna feel like — like when I look back, like, did I really have to do that, you know? I would have rather just not gotten the money or gotten money doing something else.
Dan: Yeah, no, I hear you on that. So, are you one of those like you set your rate? Because I know that a lot of rappers, they’ll like put like, “This is the rate out there,” and I saw a rate quoted for you —
24kGoldn: What are the rates?
Dan: I saw 175.
24kGoldn: Oh, yeah, that’s pretty accurate. Yeah, I’ve gotten that, yeah.
Dan: Okay, yeah. It’s funny, though, because I feel like you have some of the rates out there, some of your peers do and I think sometimes people hear these things and it can be a headline and sometimes it lines up with what you may expect for that artist but sometimes it doesn’t but I think, at the core, we do remember like there’s feeling behind this and some of your features you’re most proud of may not even be those that cost —
24kGoldn: The most money, yeah. I mean, it’s crazy. I never put that out there on camera before my rate, and I think if people knew I’ve gotten 175 before, they’d be like mind blown ’cause you have like Polo G and Lil Tjay who are very big and well respected rappers in their own right, in their own sense, say 100 and people go crazy, but I think people kind of underestimate like the global impact I have because “Mood” was a way bigger song globally than it was in the US so I think that’s what people get for that extra 75 or something like that.
Dan: And let’s talk about “Mood” because I think one of the reasons it blew up the way it did and was global was because of TikTok and a lot of it was organic, just given your talents, but there’s a lot of work that was put into it as well.
Dan: Can you talk about some of that partnership with TikTok and what that looked like?
24kGoldn: I mean, I’ve been benefiting and using and advocating for the TikTok platform since like summer 2019 because that’s when “Valentino” first blew up so once — then that happened on accident. I didn’t really have any part in that or pushing anything or making videos really at that point. So I was like, if this can happen on accident, this can happen on purpose, so that’s when I did my thing with “City of Angels” and, you know, met up with influencers and paid people and had them do a dance and make a remix of the song to blow that song up but “Mood” was kind of — like I would call it like a hybrid effort because I was working on it and my peoples, like, you know, BrandMan Sean, Michael Uy, they were working on it, two people that I directly had connections with but the label was like, TikTok team also really helped a lot in starting this one out by finding the person and telling them like how to make the dance and stuff like that and it kind of started with that dance but, from there, it just took off because people liked the song so much that you can use it for anything, not just that one trend necessarily.
Dan: Yeah, and I think you saw that too, just with how much it was able to capture and everything and I think after you’ve blown up, people now understand the mechanics of how TikTok works in general and I think we’ve seen the other side of it too with artists on TikTok or TikTok creators, rather, that are like, “No, we’re not doing this, we don’t want our stuff to be copied by the other people,” and that’s a whole ecosystem —
24kGoldn: Wait, what’s that?
Dan: So, there was this thing where I think it was Addison Rae, she was on Jimmy Fallon and she was like doing a bunch of these dances, right? And a bunch of those dances were dances that people like first seen created by black —
24kGoldn: Oh, yeah, yeah.
Dan: — then they were just like, “What the hell? How does she get on Jimmy Fallon and we don’t?”
Dan: So then Megan thee Stallion had one of her songs that she put out and Meg was expecting the TikTok machine of black creators to put —
24kGoldn: Make the dances —
Dan: — but the thing is they put it on and then the white creators see what they do and then follow —
Dan: — and they were like, “No, we’re not doing that anymore. We’re going on strike” —
Dan: — this news thing maybe like a month or two ago.
24kGoldn: I feel like I saw something about that. That’s mad interesting because I remember that’s not the first time that happened too, there was like the girl who made the Renegade dance or whatever. She was like an eight-year-old black girl or something like that and nobody gave her any sign and then someone else got big for doing that and then they eventually like collabed with her and brought her out to NBA All-Star weekend and stuff like that but it’s like, can’t they just get the credit from the beginning? So I get that, yeah.
24kGoldn: But TikTok’s definitely changed. I mean, it gets harder and harder to blow up just off that every day because, when I first was doing it, it was like a five-lane freeway with eight cars on it, there was only like eight other people that was really hip to how much power you could have pushing music on there. So, whenever we tried to get somewhere, we get there way faster, way easier, way more direct.
But now, all the labels and management and everybody caught on so they’ll make these watered-down trends and just spend money trying, hoping and thinking that that’s gonna make it work but now — so now it’s like a freeway that’s all traffic jammed up and you can’t really get to where you need to go at all maybe or, if you can, it’s gonna take way longer and a lot more gas, a lot more money.
Dan: Right, right. Yeah, and I think that’s kind of the way for a lot of these platforms. We saw that with SoundCloud. We’re seeing that now with TikTok.
Dan: And how does that change things for you? Because you obviously benefited from seeing what it was like for “Valentino” and “Mood.” Now, everyone’s caught on, how are you approaching it differently?
24kGoldn: I mean, at this point, I don’t necessarily need TikTok anymore to still have a career and to still have big songs, you know? I’ve been able to build up a fan base of people that — they enjoy my music but also just me as a whole person and as an artist and I’m still gonna go in there because it’s like if it works, don’t turn your back on it and I still do have a big fan base on there and I’m gonna still push my songs on there but I think people forget that it’s not just TikTok that blows things up really to that level, it’s a combination of social media, of, you know, your cult fan base pushing a playlist, of, is the video fire, you know? Is there any other moments around it? What’s your live shows like?
So, at this point, it’s just like I’m just gonna make good music and I’m gonna give every song a chance on TikTok but if it doesn’t work there, I know that I could do this song at a festival and perform it so crazy that 100,000 people are gonna go home the next day and be like, “Yo, what was that? I didn’t even realize he had that song,” or, “I didn’t even realize that song could sound like that or sounded like that.”
Dan: And I think that’s key and relevant for things I’ve heard you say before. People have tried to label you as a TikTok rapper, TikTok artist —
Dan: People used to say the same thing about you when you’re on SoundCloud —
24kGoldn: Exactly, yeah.
Dan: — and you’re making it clear, like, no, I’m not just making music for this particular medium. I am an artist. It can span across so many of these.
Dan: Yeah. And I feel like that is how you can distinguish yourself because I’m sure you’re probably also keeping an eye on what is that next thing going to be, because, given where you are, you also wanna be early on that to some extent too. I feel like there’s only gonna be so many things.
24kGoldn: Yeah, I mean, whether it’s like a metaverse or wake up listening to music or I don’t know, whatever it’s gonna be next, I’m just trying to be one of the first on there.
Dan: I could definitely see you in a Fortnite or Roblox type of thing —
24kGoldn: Yeah, I mean, yo, that’s crazy, I don’t think anyone would have thought two years ago that Fortnite or Roblox would have a big part in music nowadays, or like — like I remember like the GTA V radio could blow up songs from back in the day, you know, like there was like that one game, Kendrick Lamar song that I feel like a lot of people got put onto by GTA radio, but like the new 2K soundtracks, for example, so there’s so many places and avenues and routes you could take to get your music heard nowadays.
Dan: Yeah. That’s a good point because I think about — that’s something I think gets overlooked even about the past too. I remember when I was younger, you had one of those GTA games, I think it was the Vice City one —
Dan: — they had all of that like 80s music —
Dan: — and then right around then, they had a whole bunch of like Scarface anniversary stuff that was happening on pop culture and this was also the time of Cribs when every rapper was like, “Oh, I got the bottle of Cristal, I got the Scarface —
Dan: — so it all came together in this moment so that’s a really good point about how video games have always been influential and now we’re really just starting to tap into it.
24kGoldn: Exactly, yeah, yeah, and like the type of kids that’s gonna listen to underground music or up-and-coming music or hip-hop, pop, whatever it is, those are the same kids that are playing these Fortnite thing so the more you could just kind of be involved in that ecosystem, in that world, I think the better.
Dan: And I think the good thing for you, too, is that you are expanding genres with the type of music that you create too. I think, especially with El Dorado, you’re mixing in rock in there and you had interest in that but I think, with that, that gives you more flexibility to be able to have the type of partnerships in different platforms as opposed to someone that’s a bit more focused in a clear way.
24kGoldn: Yeah, I mean, just — I just like making good music. I think back before like when you probably were growing up and you wanted to buy a CD, it was like, “All right, I’m gonna go out to buy one CD. Do I wanna buy the rock CD? Do I wanna buy the rap CD? Do I wanna buy the R&B CD?” You kinda really had to choose a side, whereas nowadays, kids can go on YouTube, they can go on Spotify, SoundCloud, whatever, Apple Music, and they can listen to any type of music they want so people are — their tastes are more broad, their horizons are wider so if you like good music and if you grew up the way I did listening to everything, you’re gonna resonate with the artists that can make all these different types of music more because it’s like, they’re like, “Oh, this person is multi-dimensional, he’s not just a one-trick pony,” and I think that keeps people constantly interested because it’s like, “Well, what is he gonna do next? Is it — maybe he’ll do a reggae song next, who knows?”
Dan: Right. And I think, especially for you, there are a few big monumental artists that we saw be much more creative, whether we’re seeing what Young Thug is doing or we’re seeing what Cardi or Kanye or Lil Wayne, like so much experimentation is there so, in some ways, there is a roadmap but you also gotta have your own spin on it. They’re not doing it how you did it with El Dorado.
24kGoldn: Yeah, I feel like with those artists, they kinda took a bunch of different sounds and combined them whereas I was like attacking different sounds like fully kind of like committed to them but, now, I think with that EP, Dropped Outta College, and with El Dorado, that was very experimental in a non-experimental way and now that I feel like I’ve kind of gotten a grip on all these different types of music, now, lately, with the new music I’ve been making is experimenting, trying to throw in these different sounds and blend them together even more and more and more and go left where people are going right.
Dan: Let’s take a quick break to hear a word from this week’s sponsor.
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Dan: Who are your inspirations right now?
24kGoldn: I mean, I don’t know. I got like the most eclectic music taste in the world. Like if you look at my playlist, you’ll see like the Commodores and then like Pooh Sheisty right after and then like Kid Cudi, like deep cut of like “Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven” or something like that so I just really listen to everything and just whatever life puts in front of me.
Dan: Right. And I feel like I’ve noticed that too just even outside of music, what inspires you from a business perspective, right? Like you said, no, I’m looking out what Will Smith is doing, I’m looking out what Steve Jobs is doing.
Dan: That’s dope.
24kGoldn: Yeah, I mean, it’s like you gotta constantly innovate to be in — to make it in this game nowadays. I think back in the days, there were so many less artists, right? So if you got put on in the mainstream, you was basically guaranteed a couple years at least if you didn’t like quit or go to jail or have some other unfortunate situation.
So, now, it’s just like so many artists to pick from that you can easily get tired if something stops becoming interesting and the way I came into the game was innovating, you know? Making music that didn’t sound like my peers, you know? Helping to define a new sound, taking non-traditional marketing approaches so I feel like I gotta kinda keep doing that and always be on the tip of what’s coming next to stay relevant and stay at the top.
Dan: So, in terms of that, I’m glad you mentioned the non-traditional marketing approaches because, obviously, I know we both know BrandMan Sean —
Dan: — he is big on that stuff. He’s really good at it. How are you keeping on lock of that? How do you stay on top of everything?
24kGoldn: I mean, once you kind of break through, it’s a lot easier to I think keep people engaged because you don’t have to hook as many people, you already got their attention so you just gotta be consistent and show some sort of growth, right?
So before, like when I was in college, I used to have these stickers, right? That looked like a pop-up ad on a porn website. It said, “This ugly son of a bitch is respecting super hot chicks. How? Just listen,” and then there’s my SoundCloud like — and I would put a picture of my face on there and I’d throw them up everywhere and that was a real good hook because people were like, “Wait, is this a pop-up ad in real life? Is this a real person right here but it’s a SoundCloud ad?” So it was like it will fuck people’s heads up and get them interested but, now, I think I’ve already got a lot of eyes on me, a lot of attention, so what people really wanna see is, “Okay, well, we like you already, so what are you doing every day?” So one thing I’ve been doing lately is vlogs that just are kind of clips and moments from performances, studios, just hanging out, traveling and letting people get a look at the life so it’s not to get them to notice me now, it’s to get them to really feel me and feel what my energy is and what I’m about and what I bring to the table more than just musically.
Dan: Yeah, the video thing is key because, I mean, you have an engaging personality. People wanna connect with that. You’ve given them so much visually through being able to rise on something like TikTok and there’s just so many platforms to be able to do that.
24kGoldn: Yeah, I think you just gotta keep it going and spread it as much as you can, just be consistent.
Dan: Yeah, definitely. Let’s talk about your investing because I know we’re gonna get into that —
Dan: — and you’ve been big open talking about crypto, Bitcoin, and how early you were in terms of just hearing about a lot of that, which I always thought was impressive —
Dan: — I mean, just being able to get in on it early. What does that look like now?
24kGoldn: I mean, now, it’s like it’s cool because I feel like I know what to do with my money in a certain sense. I’m not the type to go out and buy an expensive car unless I can write it off on my taxes or just blow all my money on jewelry, like you see me right now, I got something from Etsy, some opals from Etsy, a beaded necklace my cousin made me, and like —
24kGoldn: — two small, small chains, one was given to me. So, I’m putting my money instead of here, I’m putting it in consumer product companies, into index funds, into cryptocurrency, into just regular stocks as well too, into sports cards and like I got like a LeBron James rookie card I’m probably gonna hold on to for 20 years —
Dan: That’s what’s up.
24kGoldn: — and just, you know, kind of believing that if I put my money in these places now and don’t really think about it and quell my desires to have an overly lavish lifestyle immediately, then I’ll be very, very happy in that time period and see how my money has grown and be able to provide for my family, my future generations hopefully indefinitely.
Dan: Yeah. The sports card thing is big, yeah.
24kGoldn: Which I actually didn’t get at first too but then I kinda — somebody explained it to me, like, “Well, think about it like stamps or something like that.” It’s a piece of history, you know? It really represents a specific time period and what we found important in that time period and it’s like — the card I have is a LeBron James rookie card fresh out of high school, he didn’t even have his first NBA season on there yet so it was just like this card represents the potential of LeBron James and after everything he’s accomplished, you know, let’s say 50 years down the line, that card is gonna be worth a lot of money because it represents like a time period, we’re probably not even gonna make trading cards anymore and that would just be like a historical relic.
Dan: Yeah. And with him too, especially, given everything that he’s been doing in business, I mean, there’s rumors of his SpringHill being valued at $750 million —
Dan: — if he continues to succeed, that just pegs to the overall value of that card. It reminds me of something I heard in the interview, Alexis Ohanian, Serena Williams’s husband, he was, I guess, convincing her, he’d be like, “Hey, we need to buy this rookie card of yours,” and she was just like, “What? Like what —
Dan: “Please just trust me. Do it,” and he’s like this is the kind of thing we can like set aside, that can be our thing that, you know, our children’s children can reap the rewards of because we’re gonna —
24kGoldn: That could pay their college tuition, you know, two generations down the line or something like that, yeah, facts.
Dan: Yeah. So you mentioned consumer products and I know that a lot of rappers themselves have been getting on cap tables, they have been making angel investments too.
Dan: I feel like it’s only a matter of time until we see your name come up in a lot of those —
24kGoldn: I might be in a couple decks, you know? We’ll see, but, really, I think that there’s a gap doesn’t really make sense, right? Because foreigners have these influence, right? And you’re trying to start a product and it’s a quality product that can genuinely help people, why would you not give the artists some equity in exchange for promoting the product? Because most artists, when they get paid to do something, it’s like, “I don’t even really give a fuck about this, I’m just doing this for the bag, I’m gonna make my Instagram posts and delete them and that’ll be it,” but if you give the artist equity, they have a vested interest in the long-term success of this brand or this company because, now, the better it does, the more money they’re gonna make over time and most of these things are a couple of years period so they’re gonna be more incentivized to promote the product regularly and organically and put other people onto it in their real life because it’s something they actually enjoy, they actually use, and if it does well, they win.
So, my management kinda introduced me to that new business model and through them, I’ve invested in a couple different companies like Poppi, the probiotic, prebiotic sodas that are like five calories, 3 grams of sugar, like this plant company called Neverland which is like a tech company that hopes to be like the Amazon but just for plants specifically, Starface which does those stickers for your acne with the stars on them, like — and a couple other ones too but it’s all things I genuinely like and believe in and I have no problem promoting them or performing an event because it’s like, “Yo, if this goes well for you, this goes well for me so let’s do it.”
Dan: Right, that makes sense, like, one, you wanna be able to have the things that, from your fans’ perspective, they would feel like, “Is Goldn actually going to wear this or rep this even if he wasn’t being paid?”
Dan: Like you wanna feel like there’s that connection and then if it’s there and people have that feeling, it’s even better for you, it’s better for the brand —
Dan: — but, yeah, I hear you. It’s like so much of it can be transactional. No, build with this company long term and I think, especially now in the social media era, we’ve seen the power of what people like yourself could have if they’re growing their following and all the things that you can do, I still don’t feel like people have like tapped into that aspect of what influence can look like.
24kGoldn: Yeah. What does that look like to you being used to the fullest extent?
Dan: I think the fullest extent that we are seeing is, an example, honestly, like what LeBron is doing now, right? You’re having all of these deals and endorsements and you’re able to have equity in sports teams like the Boston Red Sox, you’re able to have feature-length blockbusters where you’re at the center of it —
Dan: — your association with something can maximize.
Dan: Not everything is gonna be a hit or a success but you being able to just do that and have that influence I think is key and that’s why I think they said, yeah, he was the first athlete, well, in sports to have generated a billion dollars, I think I saw that stat —
Dan: — but that’s impressive and if he continues, that’s only going to grow so I think that’s probably, at least right now, one of the highs and I think, you know, you could also throw in there what Rihanna’s doing right now. I mean —
24kGoldn: For real. It’s like a whole new generation, like Jay-Z, obviously, billionaire, Kanye billionaire, but like LeBron and Rihanna and — who else is coming up crazy right now?
Dan: Yeah, so I think right now —
24kGoldn: Travis Scott, probably soon.
Dan: Yeah, he did really well last year, especially with all those partnerships and, yeah, I mean, you still got like Diddy there. That’s —
Dan: — you know, not too far behind. I mean, Ciroc’s doing well but I think what I’ve realized is that, and I think you obviously see it too, is like music is a great and tremendous platform but if you become a billionaire off of music, you’re most likely gonna be someone like a David Geffen or something like that —
Dan: — that just owns the company selling these products, right?
Dan: Or you own the assets in some type of way. You doing it yourself, you need to have some type of business where you are selling some type of product that people are bought into. Yeezy, Fenty —
Dan: — Ace of Spades, you know, all of that.
24kGoldn: Yeah. I mean, I think I seen a statistic yesterday, T-Pain was talking about like the music industry made $17 billion and 12 percent went to the artists, which, okay, that’s about a little over a billion dollars but think how many artists are in total and think about the top 10 percent probably took like 80, 75 percent of that $1 billion, you know? So it’s hard to make it just off the music.
Dan: It’s wild, right? And I mean, I’m sure some of this too and even here is what you’ve done with some of your deals, how I know they wanted to assign you to the long-term deal when you first started out and you were like, no, less money upfront, let me build things up so I’m sure you’re probably thinking about this often when, you know, it’s time to re-up.
24kGoldn: Yeah, I mean, because if they wave a big number in your face, it can be hard to say no sometimes but it’s just like knowing that is what I’m giving up worth this amount of money? Because, hey, you could take a million dollars and, you know, through your business or investment or whatever other opportunities you get, turn that into 2, 3, 4 million dollars and that’d be great but, you know, you could also just kind of spend it and have it not work out and be locked into five more albums, for example, and now you’re like, “Well, I’m not gonna see another big check for maybe 10, 15 years with five more albums.”
Dan: Right. Yeah, that’s the thing, like betting on yourself has risks. I mean, like I know that, especially with the internet era, everyone wants to celebrate the no, you know, never do a deal, own everything, do this, do that, like I get it but there is nuance and trade-offs and, yeah, unless you have that check in front of you, you really don’t know what it feels like and you know what it feels like, you know?
24kGoldn: Yeah. But I’m definitely happy with the length of everything that I’ve set up for me now because the way things are now, in the next couple of years, I could be out of everything and once you’re out of everything, that gives you just the opportunity to go somewhere else and get a big, big check, especially after everything that I’ve proven I could do from the beginning of my career to now.
Dan: So, let’s say you’re in that situation, a few years from now, you get to call the shots, what is the ideal mix, not just within music but within everything else, like what are you doing?
24kGoldn: Ideally, I’ve leveraged everything else to up my investments, you know, my acting, my merch, everything else around that so it’s like I don’t even need the money from music so if you all want to have the rights to sell my music, the terms have to be so crazy or the money has to be so crazy that I can’t say no because, hey, I could just be independent at this point, you know?
And I already have a fan base that would be large enough by that time, ideally, so that I wouldn’t have to rely on crazy playlisting or something like that. Just know that if I tour, fans are gonna show up, know that if I drop music, somebody is gonna listen to it and I got all these other things going on at the same time.
Dan: I hear that. Quick note because you mentioned playlisting, do you still feel like now that’s something that you’re relying on a lot?
24kGoldn: Yeah, I think every big artist relies some part on playlisting because that’s how — that’s the new radio, in a sense, you know? If you’re not on the hottest playlists, you’re not gonna get new ears on your music and, in a way, it’s even better than radio because you can directly go from where you’re listening to the song to, “Oh, who is this? What other songs do they have that I like? Okay, I’m a fan now,” versus radio, you might just hear a song and not know who it is or be hard to discover from there so it’s like playlisting definitely helps everybody, if you’re prioritized on there.
Dan: And I think that’s still one of the things that does get, I think, a little bit missing from the narrative of who you’re gonna sign with —
Dan: — like are you not gonna sign because, you know, whether it’s that or even with music festivals, which I think is another aspect of this, that is one of the benefits where you do have that and obviously it’s a trade-off, people don’t have to, but that is one of the things that you can obviously get and it does make it — it’s not impossible but it does just make it a little more challenging if you don’t have it.
24kGoldn: Yeah, yeah, I mean, like the best the song did for me without playlisting was “City of Angels” which — because the label didn’t believe in it at all at first. They didn’t get it any playlisting and it got to a point where I ran it up on TikTok to doing like 962,000 streams a day on Spotify alone with zero — with not on a single editorial playlist so then I post it on my Instagram and then it made them look crazy because like, how do you have this song that’s doing dam near a million streams a day, y’all don’t have it on any playlist, and then they added it to all those playlists after and it definitely helped boost it up but, definitely, I agree with your point. You don’t need playlisting if you can get your music to pop into another source. But it definitely can help, especially if your music is popping through another source, the playlisting will just add on to that further.
Dan: Yeah, definitely. And touring too and, you know, with festivals and all that —
Dan: You must be excited. Now you get to capitalize on that, not only from a money perspective but you get to be outside and hear how your music rings.
24kGoldn: Yeah, I mean, we just did Lollapalooza a couple weeks ago, me, I popped up at my brother, Iann’s, set, and that was our first time doing “Mood” together, first time doing it live and it was just like looking out into the crowd and like seeing people smiling and like hearing them sing all the words back, I was like, “Oh, shit, we actually did something here,” you know? This feels real now. That was really cool.
Dan: Nice. And now you got — when does the tour officially start?
24kGoldn: November. November 2nd, yeah.
Dan: And then you got Outside Lands before that so you’ll be back here —
24kGoldn: Yeah, I’ll be back in the Bay. That’s gonna be a full circle ’cause I remember sneaking in to Outside Lands when I was like 16.
Dan: Yeah. Who performed that year that you snuck in?
24kGoldn: Who even performed? I think I just wanted to turn up with my friends but I was at home looking at Snap Maps, seeing everybody clustered there, I’m like, yeah, I need to go. I need to get in there.
24kGoldn: I can’t even remember.
Dan: It’s a good time. I think the first time I, when our lease was there, is the first year I moved here, Kanye —
24kGoldn: Oh, yeah.
Dan: — was that year.
24kGoldn: That was huge. Wow. What year was that?
Dan: I think it was 2014.
24kGoldn: Yeah, that’s about right.
24kGoldn: That was like the same year that — like apparently Macklemore performed there before he even had a big song or something like that, someone told me that. I don’t know.
Dan: Yeah, it was wild —
Dan: — but that’s what’s up, man. It’s good that you’ll be back here. I’m sure that must feel special too, being able to perform in the city in your hometown.
24kGoldn: Oh, yeah, probably have after-party after going crazy, like the city can be very dry but, at a time like Outside Lands, I feel like that’s when everybody energy comes out so I just fully wanna capitalize on that and just keep the spirits high and the vibes going as long as we can.
Dan: That’s what’s up. Well, Goldn, this is dope, man. I’m glad you could come through.
24kGoldn: Thank you, Dan. I appreciate your time.
Dan: Of course, man. All right, before we let you go, anything else you wanna plug? Let the Trapital audience know about?
24kGoldn: We got tour, TV show, festival. Buy some tickets, buy some more tickets to tour. Thanks. Love you, guys.
Dan: Got listeners everywhere so they’ll hear you, for sure.
Dan: Bet, man. Dope. Good stuff.
24kGoldn: All right.