Rappers Don't Make Money, Businessmen Do: Beats By Dre, Apple $3.2 Billion

May 16, 2014

The first question I ask clients who come to me for branding services is "Why do you do what you do?" Most often people entering into music are focused on making an income from something that appears to be simple. Besides my love for Hip-Hop and respecting it enough to know not everyone is good at it, I have to let them know that rappers don't make money, businessmen do.


Album sales won't cut it

I asked myself who is the last person in Hip-Hop to go Diamond so I did a bit of research aka GoogleSearch and came across a post by XXL Assistant Editor, Emmaunal C. M. called 26 Hip-Hop Albums That Went 5x Platinum Or Higher. The lists consists of artists mostly from the late 90's and early 2000's who are now pastors; actors; groups who are broken up; individuals no longer in the business; and even those who have transitioned from earth. With the digital society we live in album sales won't cut it.


When you get into the music industry or any business for that matter , you have to have a plan. It doesn't have to be a twenty page business plan mapping out your entire career. You need a vision that extends further than making an album and shooting a video. Entering the entertainment business should be about music plus the opportunity to expand your brand. Taking a look at Jay Z, Diddy, and 50 cent shows the opportunities music provides for something greater than 12 tracks and an award show.


Sports Agency. Water Company. Television Networks. I'm not sure if these guys were thinking about this in 1995, perhaps they were. Either way, it definitely gives today's budding stars something to ponder.


Don't forget about Dre

Forbes recently reported that Beats Electronics may be bought by Apple for $3.2 billion. $3.2 billion. Now Dre was number 11 on that list of 26 Hip-Hop artists to go 5x platinum or better for his 2001 album selling 7.6 million units. He was also featured as one of the artists in Branding tips from The Forbes Five: Hip-Hop's Wealthiest Artists of 2014.


Being a businessman got Dre to this historic acquisition (and of course the universe conspired in his favor). Having the right mindset and vision has him potentially being Hip-Hop Culture's first billionaire.Businessmen don't always wear suits and ties but they aren't afraid to do so. They are not always the smartest in the bunch but they know how to surround themselves with those who are.


Businessmen build brands and create wealth from who they are and what they love. In searching for your next break be sure you are prepared for its arrival; take time to explore ideas that are bigger than what you already envision. And then pursue them. 

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