Rappers are no strangers to the music industry. Dr. Dre’s growth as a founding member of the N.W.A. to the brand Beats have shown the power of Dre’s brand in mainstream media. As he began his niche origin as a rapper from Compton, Los Angeles, which itself is not the most popular place in the world, now is a brand worn by professional athletes everywhere. It’s not surprising to see that Beats have began to reach outside of just speakers, earphones and ear buds: Beats have started a platform to challenge existing music-providing giants like iTunes, Spotify and Pandora.
Jay-Z is never one to be behind in the media race. With a background similar to Dr. Dre, or from cocaine to CD, he is now one of the biggest player in the hip-hop world. Instead of just music, Jay-Z made his fortune through branding and fashion. Rocawear, the fashion brand co-owned by Jay-Z, sold for $204 million while holding onto marketing, licensing and other branding values in the company. Other projects he was involved with includes part-ownership of the Brooklyn Nets, Barclays Center and the real estate company J Hotels. Now, Jay-Z has purchased a Scandinavian digital company Aspiro as his final act of leaving permanent mark on the 21st century.
The value of Jay-Z as a brand has a relatively proven record, as the Nets quadrupled in value between the time Jay-Z became a minority owner to the time he sold his share. He also has a handful of artist Wiz Khalifa and Big Sean, who have made it big on the music charts. But his new biggest challenge then becomes – how will Jay-Z develop Aspiro as a legitimate competitor against other music streaming services when most fall on the periphery?