Tag: Beats Music

The Forbes Five: Hip-Hop’s Wealthiest Artists in 2015

Last May, shortly after word began to spread that Dr. Dre had sold his eponymous headphone line to Apple, the superproducer made a proclamation: rap’s first billionaire was about to be crowned, and he hailed from Los Angeles.

“The first billionaire in hip-hop, right here on the [expletive] West Coast,” exclaimed Dre in a video clip that went viral almost instantly. But the deal, whose value was initially reported at $3.2 billion, ended up at an even $3 billion in cash. After taxes, Dre’s 25% stake left him with a $500 million windfall–$100 million more than FORBES estimated his stake to be worth last April–and a net worth of $700 million.

Amazingly enough, Dre is not the richest man in hip-hop; that honor goes to Diddy, who clocks in at $735 million. The news may come as a surprise to many, but while Dre’s wealth derived from a single jackpot idea, Diddy’s is the product of his interests in a slew of companies, a handful of which could one day give him a Beats-esque exit.

Diddy has a deal with Diageo’s Ciroc vodka that guarantees him a split of the proceeds if the brand is ever sold, an event that would surely land him a nine-figure check. He also owns a controlling stake, or close to it, in clothing lines Sean John and Enyce, alkaline water brand Aquahydrate, new tequila DeLeon and multimedia network Revolt. Diddy founded the latter as a sort of next generation MTV with a renewed focus on music.

“Revolt got built out of the frustration Sean was having with music media being able to get his albums out there,” says Revolt chief executive Keith Clinkscales. “Sean has been aggressive in being sure that we put the power of the platform in the hands of musicians to be able to create with fans in their authentic voice.”

2015 Top 5 Hip-Hop Artists By Wealth:

  1. Diddy        $730 Million
  2. Dr. Dre      $700 Million
  3. Jay Z        $550 Million
  4. 50 Cent    $155 Million
  5. Birdman   $150 Million

Diddy isn’t the only hip-hop mogul with that aim. Jay Z, who ranks third with a fortune of $550 million, purchased and relaunched Scandinavian streaming service Tidal this year with promises of creating an artist-owned Spotify competitor set apart by exclusive content.

Though the star-studded rollout struck some as tonedeaf—prompting a flurry of rich-getting-richer criticism, and perhaps a change in strategy for Jay Z—Tidal is still early in its life as a company, and may yet prove to be an increasingly valuable asset to Jay Z and to the whole industry.

“It’s alerting people that streaming is a viable option for them to listen to music,” says Jay Frank, chief of digital marketing outfit DigMark, of Tidal. “The more that we have positive conversations on that, the more opposition we have to grow the business.”

50 Cent and Birdman round out the list of five, with fortunes of $155 million and $150 million, respectively. The latter’s total dipped slightly due to uncertainty surrounding Cash Money Records, by far his biggest asset, which has been dogged by rumors of the departure of big acts including superstar Lil Wayne. Continue reading “The Forbes Five: Hip-Hop’s Wealthiest Artists in 2015”

Jay Z Launches Tidal, the First Artist-Owned Streaming-Music Service

Jay Z Kanye Rihanna Madonna Tidal
(JAMIE MCCARTHY/GETTY IMAGES)

Music impresario Jay Z has launched Tidal — positioned as an ad-free, high-quality streaming-music subscription service priced starting at $10 per month — with the participation of numerous big-name artists including Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, Chris Martin of Coldplay, Usher, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Kanye West and Madonna.

In January, Jay Z acquired Sweden-based Aspiro for $56 million. The artists announced onstage at the New York event Monday were introduced as co-owners of the company, representing the first artist-owned digital-music service — as opposed to companies like Spotify and Pandora.

“Our goal is simple: We want to create a better service and a better experience for both fans and artitsts,” Alicia Keys said at the event. “We believe that it is in everyone’s interests — fans, artists and the industry as a whole — to preserve the value of music, and to ensure a healthy and robust industry for years to come.”

Tidal’s mobile launch partner is Sprint. Other artists participating in the service include Arcade Fire, Calvin Harris, Daft PunkJack White (formerly of the White Stripes) and Deadmau5. Tidal was launched with the hashtag “#TIDALforALL” — although, obviously, it’s only for those able or willing to pay at least $120 annually for audio and video content.

The Tidal service will compete with other subscription-music services including Spotify and Apple’s forthcoming music-streaming service, based on its acquisition of Beats Music, which is expected to launch this summer.

Tidal will not offer a free version of the service; the standard-audio version (Tidal Premium) will be $9.99 per month and the high-def audio version (Tidal HiFi) will be $19.99 per month. Both tiers are free to try out for 30 days, according to the company.

Tidal says it provides a library of more than 25 million tracks, 75,000 music videos and curated editorial articles. The service is available across iOS and Android devices, as well as in Web browsers and desktop players, available in the U.S. and 30 other countries at launch. Tidal provides streaming quality at more than four times the bit rate of competitive services, according to the startup.

article by Todd Spangler via Variety.com

It’s Official: Apple Adds Dr. Dre With $3 Billion Beats Deal

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Rap is coming to Cupertino in a big way.

After weeks of rumor, Apple finally announced it has acquired headphone maker Beats Electronic for $3 billion, including $2.6 billion cash up front and approximately $400 million in stock that will vest over time. As part of the deal, Beats co-founders Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine will join Apple (AAPL -0.26%) in undisclosed roles.

“Music is such an important part of all of our lives and holds a special place within our hearts at Apple,” CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. “That’s why we have kept investing in music and are bringing together these extraordinary teams so we can continue to create the most innovative music products and services in the world.”

RELATED: Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine Donate $70M for New Arts and Technology Center at USC

This acquisition is Apple’s biggest ever, and largest since it brought back Steve Jobs in 1997 though a $400 million purchase of NeXT. However, the $3 billion price is still just a tiny fraction of the company’s $150 billion cash reserves, and Beats’ estimated annual sales of $2 billion represents barely over 1% of Apple’s $171 billion revenue last year.

Continue reading “It’s Official: Apple Adds Dr. Dre With $3 Billion Beats Deal”