Most people are by now aware that Jay-Z is not just a rap artist but a bona fide business mogul with many very well performing businesses. But it’s easy to escape just how many different businesses he’s into. If you count those he started, those he licenses his image or IP to and those he advises, it’s very impressive, especially given how many sectors he’s into.
Jay-Z created this company with Live Nation in a $150 million, 10-year deal. In the internet age, the company makes money not just on music sales but on music publishing, artist management and touring.
Live Nation put up $25 million up front and $5 million every year for overhead for this new venture, and will get a share of the revenues, which is going to come not just from Jay-Z's own work but from new talent he's planning on incubating there.
The company hasn't put out one artist since it was founded two years ago and yet is profitable, says Jay-Z, precisely because of its diversified revenue streams. Smart.
Jay-Z founded the 40/40 club, a chain of sports bars with a club atmosphere. The club now has eight locations, including Tokyo and Macao.
After investing in the semi-famous chic New York bistro in the West Village, Jay-Z bought the entire building. The place is Michelin-starred and doesn't empty.
Jay-Z founded Rocawear back in 1995 and has promoted the hell out of it since, and it's worked. He sold the company for $204 million in 2007, but retains creative and operational control.
We've got to admit this one surprised us: Jay-Z co-owns the Carol's Daughter line of perfumes and beauty products. The line has been featured on shows like the Tyra Banks Show and Oprah.
Jay-Z is is publishing a book called Decoded, built around his lyrics and that is, according to the WSJ, 'a hybrid of music history, social commentary and memoir.'
What's interesting here from a business perspective is the innovative promotion: Jay-Z got Microsoft to put up $1 million to promote the book as part of an initiative with Bing. Pretty cool.
Bonus: The WSJ tells us Jay-Z has been friendly with Bill Gates ever since they met at a 2006 conference on the future of entertainment. We're not surprised the two hit it off.
In a four-year partnership, Jay-Z became the first non-athlete to have a line of Reebok shoes named after himself, the S.Carter line, which was popular.
Typically for how Jay-Z works, in 2006 he didn't just star in ads for Budweiser Select, but he also helped craft them.
Interestingly, one of the reasons why he chose to go with Budweiser was in response to the image of rappers as drinking champagne constantly.
Coca-Cola, the world's greatest brand, brought in Jay-Z to advise on the redesign and relaunch of Cherry Coke.
Most of these brand partnerships (Budweiser, Coke, HP) go through the ad agency Jay-Z cofounded with Steve Stoute, a serial entrepreneur who had sold his previous company to Interpublic, the third largest ad agency conglomerate.
Oh, we almost forgot! Jay-Z also makes a little music once in a while. He's had more Billboard 200 albums than any solo artist (and anyone except the Beatles), he's won 10 Grammy awards and sold 45 million albums overall. His last album, 'The Blueprint 3,' debuted at number one and was his first album to have 3 Top 10 singles.
Because his early tracks were rejected by most labels, Jay-Z made one of the smartest moves ever and started his own label, Roc-A-Fella Records, which had a distribution deal with Def Jam Records, where he was President and CEO from 2004 to 2008.