Music Video of the Week : Justin Timberlake’s ‘Tunnel Vision’

Music :

While this song is not the hit single of JT’s the 20/20 experience album, it definitely stands out as a quality track. It was written and produced by Timberlake, Timbaland, James Fauntleroy, and Jerome Harmon. It features audible content from Timbaland who lent his signature beat-making and beat-boxing skills for the creation of this track.

The instrumental strikes as quite sinister right from the start. It builds off an overdriven vocal sample, what sounds like a vacuous trumpet-like melodic line and a high pitched arpeggio. After a few bars they give into into a bass-heavy beat with clear-cut side stick hits and some of Timbaland’s infamous ad-libs and vocal scratch sounds. On the vocal front JT taps into both his lower and higher vocal ranges throughout and shows he is comfortable in either of the two, adding to the dramatic effect of the song.  His arpeggiated backing vocals echo the layered soundscape created by Timbaland. This indubitably allows them to feed off one another as far as creative techniques and arrangement go.

With regards to the lyrical content, JT talks about this ‘Tunnel Vision’ he has for his love interest, describing his infatuation in almost voyeuristic terms. His writing echoes his previous works in some ways; lyrical themes from ‘Cry Me a River’ or ‘My Love’ appear throughout this track.

Video :

The suave grey texture of the video matches the sinister vibe of the track. JT shows off his sweet moves that he is already quite known for and uses the syncopated beats to the advantage of his choreography. The ‘cool’ factor of the video is Timbaland appearance – or more accurately his mouth – beat-boxing along to the song. The more controversial element of the song comes in then. Timberlake decided to venture in the nude-art territory when he decided to have topless women feature in this music video. Not only are these women topless, but he dances fully clothed alongside them via projector montage. The video had to be taken off Youtube a few hours after its release and re-submitted with a content warning page to filter the traffic to the video. Now this may not be unpleasant to the majority of the male population viewing this video, however it feels a bit ‘déja-vu’ to have a playboy-looking type artist dancing alongside topless models.

Robin Thicke and Pharrell used this concept over the summer to release the video for their song ‘Blurred Lines’. It feels like the video to their song acts more as a sales tool than anything else though. The women casted for the part – very attractive albeit – are more there for show it feels. Thicke played off of the summer vibe and used this as a marketing technique; the ladies are walking around, topless, and randomly-timed hashtag words flash up on the screen in the hopes of brainwashing the audience. This is where JT differentiates his approach. The models are not striking random poses like they’re part of the furniture, they’re supplely dancing with a more ‘artsy’ feel to it. Kaleidoscopic patterns are projected overtop of them all the while and lyrics appear on the backdrop in a blended and non-aggressive, non-promotional way. Once again, the male population watching the video might not be complaining. But unfortunately, because of the length of the track the concept loses impact a good minute or two before the video ends.

Tunnel Vision :

Executive Producer: Jeff Nicholas
Produced by Jonathan Craven and Nathan Scherrer
Directed by Jonathan Craven, Simon McLoughlin and Jeff Nicholas for The Uprising Creative
Director Of Photography: Sing Howe Yam
Editor: Jacqueline London

 

Why Twitter is Necessary in Today’s Music Industry

Twitter

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… a completely irrelevant thought that sounds like a diary entry!  Yes, that’s Twitter to the common eye.  Believe me, for the longest time I thought that Twitter was the one of the lamest things to ever hit the music industry.  I couldn’t wrap my head around it.  Why?

Well for one, I always thought that Facebook was a more varied version of it.  Why should you be limited to 140 characters to post, not have thumbnail displayed photo previews, why not have extra pages like downloads or band pages, and why not just freakin’ have some privacy?  I mean, what ever happened to the mysterious rock star?  The icon that was either so DIY or so busy that the only time you could see them and hear them talk was that magical hour and a half on stage?  That was a rock and roll icon to me.  They were a mystery until you had to go out to their live show.

Unfortunately, I got slapped in the face with reality when I found out that this is 2012, and the Backstreet Boys are way past the Backstreet Men phase, making me one old bastard for the times.  It came time that I had to embrace this fancy new technology of the youth, and I fumbled for a while until I figured out it’s pure gold in today’s industry

You could say I have no clue what the @#$% I'm doing.

You could say I have no clue what the @#$% I’m doing.

1)  Twitter maintains your relevance in every day.  We live in a generation of instant-gratification.  If you can’t appease your blood thirsty shirt-ripping music-pillaging hounds of fans, you can sure bet they’re going to go and feast on the next target they see since you’re clearly not putting out.  Before you know it, your fans forget about who you are just because you’re not updating them on a day to day basis.  You’d be surprised how true it is.

2) You can create a short statement swift to the point that’ll be immediately received by all.  While 140 characters seems constricting, it actually aids you, the reader, or your fans.  How often will your fans stop what they’re doing to read that giant Shakespearean essay you posted on Facebook?  Most likely, they’ll just skip through it; in fact they probably won’t even see it.  Twitter guarantees your tweets will appear in the streams of your followers (Unless they’re following an insane amount of tweeters), whereas Facebook posts actually have never reached more than an average of 15% of their fans.

Don't worry, we're not "liking" your photo of breakfast because we hate you, we just don't give a shit about you enough to show up in our feed.

Don’t worry, it’s not that we’re not “liking” your photo of breakfast because we hate you, we just don’t give a shit about you enough to have you show up in our feed.

3)  Searching buzzes on Twitter is more effective than using Google.  Please re-read that so you don’t assume I just said Twitter is better than Google for information.  I said searching for buzzes: do you know how many people tweet about the silliest things you can’t find on Google?  When Facebook was down, Google wasn’t telling me anything.  But all I had to do was search “Facebook” on Twitter; and I’ll tell you, Twitter exploded about it.  It’s not that Google fails or anything of the sort, it’s just that the way the search engine is configured, Twitter sifts through much less  and more relevant information to produce its Tweet results as opposed to Google.

4) In addition to #3, you can create the buzz yourself.  Trends and re-tweets are very helpful in that the fans do some of the promotion for you.  Let’s say you’ve got 900 followers, and one of them re-tweets your post to their 300 separate followers.  You’ve opened your chances of getting seen from 1/3 more of your own followers, and from one fan.  It’s extremely helpful, not to mention if your fan base is loyal enough, you can even trend your product locally for everyone to see on their home page.  Remember, this is ALL free.

So, to wrap this up, I found that Twitter isn’t the enemy.  It’s helped me keep up very closely with the DIY bands that I really like without having to go through an intense effort to get updates from them.  At the same time, it’s helped me stay in contact with a lot of people.  Of course there’s people on Twitter that tweet 100% bull-shit or re-tweet philosophy because they think they’re the next Confucious to their 2 followers.  Stuff like that exists on every platform: there’s really no escaping that one person eventually, but hey, you can always un-follow them.  Personal Twitters can be great when you want to establish that artist-to-fan relationship.

Oh dang!  Eric had eggs for breakfast again! BIG @#!$#ING SURPRISE.

Oh dang! Eric had eggs for breakfast again! BIG @#!$#ING SURPRISE.

So start now: You don’t even need to start tweeting or anything of the sort.  It’s just very helpful to get your domain set so that you can use it any time in the future.  Just remember that it just could be that helpful edge you get down the road.  And hey, as far as that mysterious rockstar thing goes, most professional Twitters of the big stars aren’t even running their Twitters: it’s usually just a social media promotions guy taking control of it.

If you haven’t noticed yet, I’ve always signed off with my name, so don’t think this is some advertising, it’s just habitual.  Til next time

– @NishadGeorge

An Album of Sheet Music: Beck’s Latest Collaboration

“Art begins in imitation and ends in innovation.”- Mason Cooley

Back in the day, people used to buy music.  Waaaay back.  Sheet music.  If I told you that an artist sold 54 million copies of a single song in 1937, would you believe me?  Well, this is a real thing, and it puts the notion of success and popularity into perspective.

There was a time when music was conceived, then notated, then interpreteted, then performed, and if it was really worth it, then recorded.  Bing Crosby wrote a song called “Sweet Leilani” in  ‘37, and everyone heard it.  Because half the nation owned it on paper.  They bought it, they went home and learned it, and when it was ready, they shared it.

The word ‘share’ has a different definition in this century.  It implies a certain dichotomy between autonomy and community; that an individual has made or discovered something that he feels compelled to ‘share’ with the world, or strangers, or his friends.  Back then, it happened in a living room.  Not impulsively, but after consideration, dedication and finally presentation.

Beck has done something pretty cool.  Instead of releasing an album, he went back to the basics.  This summer, his newest music became available.  As sheet music.  No interpretation, no recordings, no cheating.  This summer, it was announced that Beck’s new project Song Reader would be released in December 2012, featuring twenty songs as sheet music only, with full-color art for each song, in a hardcover carrying case.  On www.songreader.net you can find the tunes performed by normal people, real musicians, and Mac Miller.  YouTube is full of them, too.

beck image

The genius here is way more than a gimmicky retro homage to get people to create and be inspired.  He has somehow given birth to a viral situation that will only generate more material and interpretation.  It is a different kind of innovation; he is appealing to the new crop of consumers.  In his ‘Loser’ heyday, people actually bought CDs.  Now, he has still done most of the work, but he has invited the community to record the tunes themselves, which is appealing to this new user generated generation.

On the days of sheet music and it’s purpose of generating performance, Beck said, “That time is long gone, but the idea of it makes one wonder where that impulse went. As for these songs, they’re here to be brought to life—or at least to remind us that, not so long ago, a song was only a piece of paper until it was played by someone. Anyone. Even you.”

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Countdown Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012: #1 DR. DRE

The purpose of this blog is to inform the class of America’s “Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012” and the various business ventures in different industries that contributed to their individual successes.

Countdown Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012: #1 DR. DRE

Name: Andre Romelle Young

Stage Name(s): Dr. Dre

Age: 47

Forbes Hip Hop’s Top Earners List: #1 of 9

How Much??? $110 Million

Yes! If you haven’t guessed it already, topping Diddy (last year’s Forbe’s “Cash Kings” chart leader), Jay-Z and Kayne this year, the most successful hip hop entrepreneur of 2012 is Dr. Dre!

What’s really surprising is that compared to the other entrepreneurs who have multiple streams to increase their revenue, Dr. Dre really only had one this year, a source that generated more than double, almost triple, the amount of Diddy’s earnings (#2 on the list)! Now THAT’S impressive if you ask me!

Beats by Dr. Dre

In July 2008, Dr. Dre released his brand of headphones, Beats by Dre, which was made by Monster. Their marketing and PR team did an excellent job advertising and promoting their different headphone products. From sports athletes to artists to brands, Beats by Dre made sure that these influential figures in the society were rocking the company’s personally customized headphones – turning the brand into a must-get fashion accessory.

 Here are some examples of different celebrities rocking Dre headphones:

  1. Great Britian’s 2012 Olympic team customized Beats headphones – Cullen Jones Source:http://allhiphop.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/cullen-jones.jpg
  2. Lebron James.
  3. Lil Wayne with his own line of Beats by Dre Source:http://cdn.theversed.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Lil-Wayne-Beats-By-Dre.jpg
  4. Mr. Beiber got into the action also! Source:http://ryanseacrest.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/600-justbeatsjustin-120310.jpg
  5. Katie Holmes even!                                                   Source: http://media.onsugar.com/files/2010/04/14/4/192/1922507/65b4f5af083c695a_Katie.jpg

Hewlett Packard also saw this as a huge opportunity and decided to partner with Dr. Dre to make a new laptop called HP ENVY 15 Beats limited edition this year, which includes Beats Audio inside the laptop and a Beats by Dre headphone on the side. The commercial’s actually pretty hilarious:

It’s evident that Beats by Dre is more than just a headphone; it’s a brand that plays a huge role influencing all parts of the entertainment industry. Thus, recognizing this potential, a Taiwanese electronics company HTC paid $300 million for a 51 percent stake in Dr Dre’s headphones operation last year. Link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2199025/Dr-Dre-built-headphones-empire-paid-110million-year.html

Giving Dr. Dre an enormous payday…pocketing more than $110 million dollars.

And you wonder why the most anticipated album of the decade “Detox” hasn’t been released yet… He was busy making $110 million!!!

Congratulations to Dr. Dre for his successful venture and coming in at #1 most successful and influential hip hop entrepreneur of 2012.

Please tune in again to my final blog, as I give my final thoughts of the entire wrap up the entire journey.

By: Aaron Kim (Duke)

Extra source: http://www.forbes.com/special-report/2012/0905_hip-hop-cash-kings.html

*Sources are provided within the post.

Countdown Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012: #6 DRAKE (RE-UPLOADED!)

NOTE: I apologize for this blog being out of order (accidentally skipped from #7 to #5). I just realized for some reason #6 was not uploaded/deleted. I’m sorry for the inconvenience!

The purpose of this blog is to inform the class of America’s “Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012” and the various business ventures in different industries that contributed to their individual successes.

(RE-UPLOADED!) Countdown Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012: #6 DRAKE

Name: Aubrey Drake Graham

Stage Name(s): Drake

Age: 26

Forbes Hip Hop’s Top Earners List: #6 of 9

How Much??? $20.5 Million

Drake is a very unique case. Unlike the other artists who ventured out into other industries to increase their revenue streams, he earned most of his income purely through touring and selling records in the music industry this year.

The few endeavors outside of the music industry:

  1. Sprite endorsement. Sprite wanted to have a campaign where teens had a platform where they can express their creativity through music and film and chose Drake to be the face of the “The Spark” project:  http://www.billboard.com/news/drake-teams-with-sprite-for-spark-campaign-1004067025.story#/news/drake-teams-with-sprite-for-spark-campaign-1004067025.story
  2. Kodak sponsorship deal with Drake with “Drake So Kodak” campaigns to sell their new camera product. Here is a clip of a “personal” commercial directly to his fans:
  3. Featured on NBA 2K12 video game commercial by 2K Sports (he was actually featured on the soundtrack for NBA 2K11). Here is the link to the commercial: . He actually reps the Miami Heat, which I’m not very fond of (Lakers!).

But the main source of his income comes from touring. More specifically, his Club Paradise tour, which was the most successful hip hop tour of 2012, grossed over $42 million dollars. It consisted of 60 shows all over the North America and Europe. Link: http://thatgrapejuice.net/2012/07/winning-drakes-club-paradise-tour-pulls-42-million-worldwide/

In addition to his touring success, his 2011 CD album “Take Care” was the 9th  most sold albums in 2012 according to Neilson (http://www.hiphopdx.com/index/news/id.20336/title.drakes-take-care-in-the-top-10-most-sold-albums-of-2012), selling over 500,000 copies mid year of 2012.

It’s always great to see an artist profiting from music-related sales, especially in this digital age/pirating music industry.

Drake is the 6th most influential and successful hip hop entrepreneur in 2012.

(#5 and #4 have been uploaded already! Thank you for tuning in!)

 By: Aaron Kim (Duke)

Other sources: http://www.forbes.com/special-report/2012/0905_hip-hop-cash-kings.html

*Sources are provided within the post.

Thinkband 5: A story to sell.

In ancient times when a plebeian tried to approach the king to ask for something he had to make an offering. This offerings could be slaves, state of the art weapons, land, or just gold. Despite that the plebeian had the opportunity to talk with the king, nothing was taken for granted, it was just a right to talk to the majesty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although it’d be interesting to have some lands for my own negotiation purposes, I’d prefer to talk about a similar story that might interest you as possible band managers: two weeks ago a couple of colleagues and me went to a venue we targeted to show the managers/owners a new startup band that we are promoting called Puerto Argento. We felt more than confident since this band has three conservatory members with undoubtedly quality in terms of musicianship, performance and charisma. I had a well prepared speech to talk about how good they are, the possible negotiation to set up the show, the benefits for the venue and even some small talk to break the ice. What could go wrong?

After waiting for 20 minutes we finally approached to this guy and start talking about business, I spent a few minutes introducing myself and my colleagues, describing the band and talking about how this band could be beneficial for both sides. Although he was paying attention and making eye contact, some problems appeared just when I was starting to describe the band’s musical style. His cellphone rings 3 times in a row, he answers them all, one of the waiters rush to give him a document and two people interrupt my speech with effusive smiles and handshakes. At the end of the conversation he had no idea how the band looked and sounded like, therefore no negotiation could be done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One week later we had our first EPK ready for Puerto Argento so we grabbed an iPad and approached to a similar venue and showed it to the owner. In just seconds he turned off the cellphone ring, called their 2 waitress and said “hey guys, check this out”, then 30 seconds later he whispers to himself “look at the singer, she has a beautiful voice”. He shown immediate interest in booking the band gave me his business card for the follow up coordinations. Now we are closing the deal with really good benefits for this promising band in the long term.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the EPK we used as today’s plebeians:

Countdown Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012: #4 Kanye West

The purpose of this blog is to inform the class of America’s “Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012” and the various business ventures in different industries that contributed to their individual successes.

Countdown Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012: #4 Kanye West

Name: Kanye Omari West

Stage Name(s): Kanye West

Age: 35

Forbes Hip Hop’s Top Earners List: #4 of 9

How Much??? $35 Million

As promised, we finally have an artist not affiliated with Cash Money Records (no offense).

Born in Atlanta but raised in Chicago, Kanye is an art college drop-out who teamed up with Jay-Z and Roc-A-Fella Records and eventually sold over 30 million digital songs in his career.  He is one of the most decorated artists (award-wise) of all time, and wherever he goes, people listen. But when he’s not stealing the microphone (get it?), he’s constantly looking for new business ventures to start.

Here are some of his past/present/future business ventures:

1. He created G.O.O.D. (Getting Out Our Dreams) Music record label in 2004. Couple artists under the label are: John Legend, Big Sean, Kid Cudi, Mos Def, Pusha T and Q-Tip.

2. Kanye plans to set up 10 Fat Burgers restaurant chains in the Chicago area under his holding company, KW Foods LLC, in 2008. So far, only two have been opened. (Here in the link: http://allhiphop.com/2010/11/22/kanye-west-goes-into-fast-food-with-10-fatburger-restaurants/)

3. In 2011, West partnered up with Parlux Fragrances to create his own cologne which will be in stores this year. (Here is the link: http://www.hiphopdx.com/index/news/id.12878/title.kanye-west-to-release-a-cologne-fragrance-in-2011)

4. Started a design company called DONDA (named after his deceased mother) that “will galvanize amazing thinkers and put them in a creative space to bounce there dreams and ideas… I am assembling a team of architects, graphic designers, directors musicians, producers, AnRs, writers, publicist, social media experts… app guys, managers, car designers, clothing designers, DJs, video game designers, publishers, tech guys, lawyers, bankers, nutritionist.” (Kanye on his Twitter account, Jan. 5, 2012). To learn more, here is the link of an article that explains his company more in detail: http://www.mtv.co.uk/news/kanye-west/341610-kanye-west-donda-twitter-mtv-vmas-yeezy)

5. The Fashion Industry: In 2009, Kanye introduced his first shoe line designed for Louis Vuitton at Paris Fashion Week. In 2011, he premiered his first women’s clothing line called DW at Paris Fashion Week with his Spring/Summer 2012 Collection. Then, about seven months later, he presented his Fall Collection 2012 at the same event. But after months of studying/interning in Japan and Italy (worked at Fendi, had a contract with Louis Vuittion, and turned down Versace offer), and even after creating a small design studio is Paris, Kanye was still heavily criticized and gained little respect for his works. He decided not to attend the most recent Fashion Paris Week. For now, his fashion endeavors are on hold. (Here is the link to Kanye’s late night twitter ramblings about the whole experience: http://fashionista.com/2012/01/kanye-west-interned-at-fendi-turned-down-a-gig-at-versace-is-working-on-his-fashion-line-in-london-and-other-things-we-learned-from-his-epic-late-night-twitter-ramble/ Here is the link to some of the criticisms he received for his work: http://www.businessinsider.com/kanye-west-fashion-collection-reviews-2012-9?op=1)

(What do you guys think?)

Although some ventures were considered expenses rather than investments, Kanye was still able to rack up $35 million (mostly thanks to his music) this year – making him the 4th most successful and influential hip hop entrepreneur of 2012.

(In a couple days, I will post up #3! So please stay tuned! Let’s count down to #1 together!)

By: Aaron Kim (Duke)

Other sources: http://www.forbes.com/special-report/2012/0905_hip-hop-cash-kings.html

*Sources are provided within the post.

Countdown Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012: #5 Lil’ Wayne

The purpose of this blog is to inform the class of America’s “Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012” and the various business ventures in different industries that contributed to their individual successes.

Countdown Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012: #5 Lil’ Wayne

Name: Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr.

Stage Name(s): Lil’ Wayne

Age: 30

Forbes Hip Hop’s Top Earners List: #5 of 9

How Much??? $27 MILLION

Turn on MTV, in fact, turn on any entertainment channel for that matter, and there’s a good chance you’ll see Lil’ Wayne. I swear – he’s everywhere. Many of us know who he is and what’s he’s done in the music industry already, so I’ll cut right to the chase.

Here are some of many business ventures and endorsements that I’ve found that Lil’ Wayne has been on in the past decade:

1. The business venture that triggered all the other ventures in his career – the creation of Young Money Entertainment record label back in 2003. Young Money (which is now called YMCMB, a joint record label with Birdman’s label) is now arguably the hottest record label out today. Just look at their impressive artist lineup: Christina Milian, Cory Gunz, Drake, Flow, Gudda Gudda, Jae Millz, Lil’ Chuckee, Lil’ Twist, Mack Maine, Nicki Minaj, PJ Morton, Shanell, Short Dawg, T-Streets, Torion, and Tyga.

2. Exclusively partnered with Bogey Cigars in 2008 to market different flavored cigars. (If you enter the site, you’ll see Lil’ Wayne face everywhere. Here is the link: http://www.bogeycigars.com)

3. Partnered with SUPRA shoe line to introduce the new “Chimera” in June 2012 (He premiered the new kicks in Las Vegas on August 20, 2012. Here is the link: http://rapfix.mtv.com/2012/08/21/lil-wayne-debuts-supra-sneakers-vegas/)

4. Moutain Dew is working with Lil’ Wayne to campaign “DEWeezy” that includes advertisement appearances and building a skate park in Lil Wayne’s hometown. Here is a clip of one of his commercials:

5. Lil’ Wayne will be releasing a book called “Gone Till November” May 14, 2013. His book is about his incarceration from March to November back in 2010. (If you’re a Lil’ Wayne fan, his book is originally listed as $25.99, but it’s $17.15 if you buy it on Amazon! Here is the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Gone-Till-November-Lil-Wayne/dp/1455515264)

6. Lil’ Wayne released his new clothing line “TRUKFIT” in early 2012. (For more info, here is the link: http://trukfit.com/)

7. Partnered with Beats by Dre to create his own bright-red “Tunechi Beats” headphones. (Here is the link: http://keepittrill.com/online/2012/09/lil-wayne-celebrates-tunechi-beats-dre-headphone-release-pictures/)

I’ve always heard that a successful businessman has at least three sources of income; Lil’ Wayne has AT LEAST seven. In one of his recent radio interviews, he stated that he wishes to retire at the age of 35 to focus more on his children – I’d say he’s on the right track, wouldn’t you say?

Lil’ Wayne is the 5th most successful and influential hip hop entrepreneur in 2012 – coming in with $27 Million.

And I promise, this is the last time we’ll be talking about another Cash Money member.

(In a couple days, I will post up #4! So please stay tuned! Let’s count down to #1 together!)

By: Aaron Kim (Duke)

Sources: http://www.lilwaynehq.com/business-ventures/

http://www.forbes.com/special-report/2012/0905_hip-hop-cash-kings.html

*Other sources are provided within the post.

Countdown Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012: #7 Birdman

The purpose of this blog is to inform the class of America’s “Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012” and the various business ventures in different industries that contributed to their individual successes.

Countdown Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012: #7 Birdman

Name: Bryan Williams

Stage Name(s): Birdman, Baby

Age: 43

Forbes Hip Hop’s Top Earners List: #7 of 9

How Much in 2012??? $20 MILLION

Birdman has been in the music industry for almost two decades now, and it is clear he has no plans on leaving anytime soon. Co-founder of Cash Money Records (with his brother, Ronald “Slim” Williams), Birdman has an impressive lineup of artists under his label. Nicki Minaj, Jay Sean, Lil Wanye, DJ Khaled, Drake, Tyga, and Bow Wow are just a few of the major acts that contribute to the enormous success of Cash Money Records in the music industry.

His eye for talent in the music scene isn’t the only asset he has under his belt; he’s also skilled in finding new business opportunities that bolster his position in the industry. Few of his recent projects include:

1. In 2010, he ventured into one of the most lucrative businesses in the world, oil and gas. He and his brother decided to create their own company called Bronald Oil and Gas and it was “self-reported” that the company turned $100,000,000 the first year. (There are rumors that the company no longer exists, but no one is exactly sure what of the situation of the company.) Source: http://realtalkny.uproxx.com/2010/01/topic/topic/news/birdman-gets-into-the-oil-business/

2. In 2011, Birdman decided to do a joint-business venture including a production company with DJ Khaled and his own label, “We the Best.” Birdman and DJ Khaled expects to launch a number of new materials this year which include: books, movies (a book is already rewritten for film), Lil Wayne’s new clothing line “TRUKFIT”, and the new GT Vodka. Source: http://theversed.com/2012/03/28/cash-money-ceo-birdman-talks-upcoming-business-deals-including-a-potential-film/

3. He has his own clothing line YMCMB, which stands for Young Money Cash Money Billionares. Source: http://www.ymcmbofficial.com/

4. He has been working on his new album with his long time friend Rick Ross that will be released in the near future. With a monstrous lineup under his label already, there will be no problem getting features for his album – automatically making every track an instant hit.

Birdman claims that he will be the first hip hop artist to reach a billion dollar net value. As of 2012, he is net valued at $125 Million – trailing his fellow hip hop artist and mogul, P Diddy, who is currently net valued at around $500 Million. Although Birdman has quite a ways to go, I would not be surprised if he does actually become the first to reach the billion mark.

Birdman is the 7th most successful and influential hip hop entrepreneur in the year of 2012 – coming in with $20 Million.

(In a couple days, I will post up #6! So please stay tuned! Let’s count down to #1 together!)

By: Aaron Kim (Duke)

Other sources: http://www.forbes.com/special-report/2012/0905_hip-hop-cash-kings.html

Countdown Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012: #9 EMINEM

Image(Picture source: wir.skyrock.net)

The purpose of this blog is to inform the class of America’s “Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012” and the various business ventures in different industries that contributed to their individual successes.

Countdown Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012: #9 EMINEM

Name: Marshall Bruce Mathers III

Stage Name: EMINEM

Age: 39

Forbes Celebrity List: #71 out of 100

Forbes Hip Hop’s Top Earners List: #9 of 9

How Much??? $15 MILLION

What more could you ask for from a guy who sold over 32 million copies in his music career and has 13 Grammy’s under his belt? Nothing.

But Eminem decided to add to his already impressive resume by starting his own record company in 1999 called Shady Records and signing big-time acts such as D12, 50 Cent, Royce Da 5’9, Joe Budden, Slaughterhouse, and Joell Ortiz (just to name a few). In 2002, he took the film industry by storm, playing a leading role in a feature film called 8 Mile. The film grossed over $242,875,078 and won an Academy Award for “Best Original Song.” In 2003, Eminem made a huge splash in the fashion industry with his brand and clothing line, Shady Ltd., making an instant impact on urbanwear. (Shady Ltd. was eventually acquired by Rocawear, Jay-Z’s clothing line.) He also created his own radio channel, Shade 45, which first aired on Sirius XM Radio in 2004, featuring different hip hop artists and DJs while giving a platform for Eminem to connect with his fans all around the world. The popularity of his channel has been growing ever since.

Today, although he is not as active as before in front of the camera, he has been working fervently behind the scenes on many different projects as a music producer. He also announced in July 2012 that he was currently working on his 8th studio album that will be released sometime in 2013. He has made special cameo appearances in different films and television series such as Funny People and The Entourage.

From music, to movies, to TV and fashion, Eminem has made his an everlasting mark in the entertainment industry – easily placing him as the 9th most successful and influential hip hop entrepreneur in the year of 2012 with $15 Million.

(In a couple days, I will post up #8! So please stay tuned! Let’s count down to #1 together!)

By: Aaron Kim (Duke)

Sources:

http://www.forbes.com/special-report/2012/0905_hip-hop-cash-kings.html

http://www.forbes.com/profile/eminem/

http://www.entreceleb.com/2011/10/eminem-business-cypher.html