On Sept. 28, 2022, the world was shocked when Coolio passed away.
The rapper — whose given name was Artis Leon Ivey, Jr. — went into cardiac arrest, and was found unresponsive on a friend’s bathroom floor. He was only 59-years-old.
Though Coolio was, perhaps, best known for the song “Gangsta’s Paradise” — a track which sampled Stevie Wonder’s “Pastime Paradise” from his super-smash legendary album, “Songs in the Key of Life” — he was also considered one of the pioneers of the West Coast subgenre of rap.
As might be expected, though, the “Fantastic Voyage” rapper’s legacy was all but immediately revisited upon his passing. According to Billboard, the rapper’s streams jumped by more than 260 percent during the week of Sept. 28th. What’s more, the outlet reported that this percentage jump translated to more than 19 million pure streams of his various songs. And finally, the aforementioned “Gangsta’s Paradise” received more than 14 million of these new streams in that week alone.
“After ‘Paradise,’ the rapper’s breakthrough hit, the No. 3-peaking ‘Fantastic Voyage,’ ranks second in the stream count, with 1.6 million clicks (up 809%). 1997’s ‘C U When U Get There,’ featuring 40 Thevz, comes in third (555,000; up 2,814%), with ‘1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin New)’ in fourth (471,000; up 1,361%) and ‘Too Hot’ rounding out the top five (178,000; up 2,445%),” reported the outlet.
But what does this mean, dollars and cents wise, for the estate of Coolio? How much is he worth, and what does this mean for his royalties now and in the future? Let’s take a look.
Editorial note: The net worth listed in this piece is a speculative estimate drawn from a variety of online sources.
Royalties, Publishing, & Other Streams of Income
Back in 2013, The Guardian reported that Coolio was selling his music catalog to fund his dreams of becoming a chef. At the time, the outlet reported that the catalog was going up on the auction block (via The Royalty Exchange, and the sale price was estimated to be between $134,000 to $224,000. Naturally, this was before the age of streaming, and the outlet estimated that the rapper’s “less popular” songs (such as 1996’s “1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New)” and 1997’s “C U When U Get There”) generated only about $23,000 in annual income.
Things, however, have changed significantly today.
“If Coolio still owned his publishing, a catalog that generated about $100,000 annually would be worth about $2 million at a 20-times multiple,” reported Billboard.
And according to the outlet, those numbers only go up when his recording royalties are taken into account.
“At a blended rate of a 25% royalty for both streaming and sales, minus distribution and productions fees, his recorded music royalties would be about $500,000,” reports the outlet. “At a 12-times multiple, they would be worth about $6 million. If Coolio gets a 50% royalty for streaming the estimated royalties of $893,000, so after a 14% deduction for distribution and production, a 12-times multiple would yield $9.2 million.”