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The economics of guest verses


From an old article on Lil Wayne:

Wayne works quickly — he writes nothing down, records rhymes as soon as they pop into his head, and completes up to five songs a day. He can also knock out a verse for someone else within a half-hour of hearing the beat. That has served him well financially: Wayne charges $100,000 for the average cameo — or $75,000 if he likes the beat or the song. "But nothing less!" Wayne says. "I wouldn't do a song for my sister for less than $75,000."

I'm just saying: If anyone wants to pay me $75,000 to write a paragraph of your blog post, I'm down for it. In fact, I'll drop it to $50,000 if you're making a good point.

Photo credit: Mike Blake/Reuters.

By Ezra Klein  |  February 5, 2010; 11:07 AM ET
Categories:  Economics  
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"I wouldn't do a song for my sister for less than $75,000."

for people who think, the world is a comedy.
for people who feel, the world is a tragedy.

Posted by: jkaren | February 5, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

you italicized your whole blog...just thought you should know

and thanks for all the lil wayne lately...i always thought this blog was great but now it's on a whole other level of greatness

Posted by: DropItLikeItsHot | February 5, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Having read your work, $5.00 tops and then only if it gets some serious responses.

Posted by: WoodbridgeVa1 | February 5, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

"for people who think, the world is a comedy.
for people who feel, the world is a tragedy."

That's why I choose to split the difference and go tragicomedy. Although I don't think Lil Wayne's statement is necessarily the best exemplar of the great tragicomedy. For that, I give it up to everyone who directly and indirectly honors and supports Lil Wayne's attitude.

Hey--If the market can garner Lil Wayne $75,000 for a song, why should he give one to his sister for free? Think about the harm he would be doing his sister by giving her a song rather than simply letting her learn to sing one herself. He'd just be making her dependent on him for her entertainment. And then there are all the moral hazard implications to consider...

Posted by: slag | February 5, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

slag, remember, the $75,000 is for him to appear on someone else's song, not to make a whole song for them. Actually, that's just for a song that he likes, otherwise it's $100k. He's not allowing his sister to learn to sing so much as allowing her to choose, as a rational actor, whether the appearance of her famous brother on her song is necessary for it to succeed in the market place or if she's better off letting the market determine the song's worth without him and investing the $75,000 in a conservatively managed hedge fund.

Posted by: MosBen | February 5, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse


You're such a capitalist.

$50,000 for a blog cameo. For shame, you greedy new-media industrialist. I'll do 'em for $15.00 a pop. Whole paragraph.

Free market competition at work, baby.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 5, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Kevin Willis, I don't know, you and I are just two dudes that post in comment sections and can put together a good sentence. Ezra's internet-famous and has appeared on the TV. Ezra's appearance would probably get on the jacket cover while we'd be stuck in the liner notes.

Posted by: MosBen | February 5, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Are you THE Kevin Willis? If so, you might have a job.

Posted by: you-dont | February 5, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

lil wayne bloggin
supposin dat?

Posted by: bdballard | February 5, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

This is brilliant for another reason: that money is money Lil Wayne actually gets paid, rather than an advance against royalties for recordings sold at full price after deduction of promotional expenses, production fees, accounting fees, extraordinary label charges, transportation allowances...

Posted by: paul314 | February 8, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

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