Friday, May 30, 2008

The Corporate Takeover of Jay Z

Corporate Takeover posted this article about Hov. It's a great article and it further more reminds me that dude is a genius!! Click on the picture for a larger view.

Last month, in a move that many should have seen coming, hip-hop mogul Shawn Carter finalized the corporate takeover of Jay-Z Inc. when he sold the remainder of the franchise to concert promoter Live Nation. After years of building up the brand called Jay-Z, Carter is doing what any smart investor would do at this point: Cashing in.

In the minds of his audience, rapper Jay-Z is the epitome of cool. “Jay’s just that dude—Period,” says Ryan Bence, 22, a senior at Arizona State University. “He is the Sinatra of our day. He’s who everyone wants to be.” Another fan, 21-year-old LaShonda Shepherd, a student at the University of Maryland, insists, “Jay is one of the few rappers now that still gives me chills. I listen to him, and I’m sucked in.” It’s that larger than life persona that has helped the entertainer gain such a devout following among hip-hop fans, and sell more than 33 million albums worldwide. But as he himself is quick to remind you, there is an important distinction between Shawn Carter and his braggadocios alter ego, Jay-Z the hip-hop star: while Shawn Carter is a businessman, Jay-Z is a business, man.

Over the years, Carter has successfully used Jay-Z’s influence as a hip-hop star to build a franchise of businesses that capitalize on the rapper’s popularity. “[Jay-Z] is a purveyor of quality and value,” says Robby Wells, chief strategy officer for Acme Content Co. “He adds value to the lives of his consumers—just like any trusted brand. Where he is different than a typical brand is that he has an extreme amount of highly valuable influence. He could easily stand on the merits of what he is famous for, but he has shot to extreme levels of success due to his influence.”

In fact, it was recognizing that influence early on in his career that ultimately lead to the creation of the Rocawear urban-apparel brand. When Carter noticed that a large portion of the audience attending his concerts were wearing ICEBERG—a clothing brand he was well-known to favor at the time—it occurred to him that his fans wanted to do more than just listen to his music. They wanted to live his lifestyle as well. Believing he had cachet as a trendsetter, Carter approached executives at the clothing company with the intention of securing an endorsement deal. But they declined his offer; ICEBERG’s loss in retrospect (”Sometimes you’ve gotta learn to live with regrets.”) That’s when he and then-partner Damon Dash decided to found Rocawear.

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