Jay-Z, born Shawn Corey Carter, is a rapper, businessman and record producer. He has a net worth of $1 billion and is hiphop’s first billionaire. He’s made his fortune in music, real estate, business ventures, and, surprisingly, also art.
Let’s take a look at one of America’s richest star to see how it all happened.
It’s no surprise that Jay-Z’s early millions came from music. He’s sold over 50 million albums worldwide and has 14 albums that made it to #1 on Billboard 200 – more than any other musician.
Jay-Z founded Roc-A-Fella Records along with entrepreneurs Damon “Dame” Dash, and Kareem “Biggs” Burke in 1995, after unsuccessfully trying to get a record company to take on his first album. He eventually released seven albums under the label for a net profit of over $50 million.
In 2004, Jay-Z sold his stake in the company and as part of the deal received the master recordings of his own albums back – a deal that was worth approximately $50 million.
In 2015, Jay-Z spent $56 million to purchase a small Scandinavian technology company called Aspiro. A small-scale European version of Spotify, Aspiro’s WiMP streaming service was popular enough to catch the rapper’s eye. Later the same year, he launched the company in the US with a new service called TIDAL.
TIDAL offers 60 million tracks, high-definition videos, livestreaming of concerts, and exclusive releases of videos and albums. TIDAL is now worth an estimated $100 million.
Jay-Z also holds an impressive art collection valued at over $70 million. He’s a fan of American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and holds several of his pieces, including a painting called Mecca that he bought for $4.5 million. Jay-Z and Beyonce also like artists David Hammons and Richard Prince (whose work regularly sells for up to half a million dollars a piece), and collaborative duo Tim Noble and Sue Webste (who specialize in trash art)
Back in 1999, Jay-Z and Damon Dash created streetwear brand Rocawear. The brand did extremely well from the beginning and Jay-Z sold the rights to it in 2007 for $204 million. He retained his stake in the company and continues to oversee brand licensing, which means he regularly receives additional money from the company revenues.
In 2003, Jay-Z also opened the first 40/40 Club in NYC — which would eventually grow to become a chain of lounges and sports bars. Inspired by Jay-Z’s love of Major League Baseball, the bars are decorated with sports memorabilia, autographed jerseys and gloves.
Jay-Z is also partial owner of D’Ussé cognac, a luxury cognac blend sold as a joint venture with Bacardi and valued at about $100 million. And he owns Armand de Brignac, a prestigious champagne brand that he acquired in 2014 for an undisclosed amount. Famous for its gold-colored bottles and $300 per-bottle price tag, the brand is now valued at $310 million.
The Power of Marriage
Jay-Z and Beyonce have been married since 2008 and the union has proved highly beneficial for both of them. The couple owns several properties around the country, including an $88 million home in Los Angeles, a $26 million mansion in East Hampton, and a $7 million Penthouse in NYC.
Beyonce has also been behind TIDAL’s success, releasing exclusive content through the service. This included a video of her performing the original song Die With You, her album Lemonade (which was released on Tidal before it reached other retailers), and the album Everything is Love (in collaboration with her husband).
Net Worth Value
Jay-Z’s net worth is $1 billion, and that puts him just behind Paul McCartney in the billionaires list (right now the richest musician in the world with a net worth of $1.2 billion) but ahead of other mega stars such as Celine Dion, Dr. Dre, and Bono.