Friday, August 22, 2008

Hip-Hip-Hop You Don't Stop

Rappers Earn Top Dollar as True 360 Businesses Evolve

50 Cent
Photo: AP
The perception that linking with brands was "selling out" has long vanished from the hip hop-world, and entertainers now have morphed into "enter-preneurs" that create new brands, businesses and revenues streams from the base of their core entertainment brand.

While Jay-Z has had significant press from his $150 million Live Nation deal, 50 cent has been accumulating his own pool of hip-hop cash. According to a recent Forbes hip-hop package, Fiddy has raked in over $150 million in the last 12 months, with at least $100 million of it coming from his stake in Glacéau, the parent company of Vitamin Water, which was sold to to Coca-Cola. He also has the G-Unit clothing line and record label, films, videogames and a stack of platinum albums, but perhaps most intriguing is a rumored partnership with South African mining billionaire Patrice Motsepe, who has been in discussions with 50 about a JV that will create 50-branded platinum for the necks and fingers of the bling crowd.

Whatever one thinks about the real value of these properties, the fact of the matter is that these types of 360 degree business models are ones that play to the strengths of the artist-brand and deliver products, services and content that is bang-on what the target audience wants. Whilst many traditional labels are talking a good 360 game, none have really managed to move beyond record sales, concert tickets and merchandising as a way of generating more revenue.

To quote from Paul Resnikoff's recent "Parting Shot" in Digital Music News, "the moneymaking possibilities are only limited by the creativity of the entrepreneurs involved."

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