How is Jay-Z Building his Billion-Dollar Empire?

Jay-Z, born Shawn Carter in 1969, has been in the rap game for decades. Although that in itself is impressive, there’s a lot more to Jay than his rap career. Whether it’s through his relationships or collaborations Jay-Z is one who has managed to stay a relevant household name for his entire career. But he doesn’t stop at music. Jay-Z has his hand in a dozen other pursuits, all of which are contributing to his billion-dollar (and growing) empire.

Roc Nation

Meta: Jay-Z and Meek Mill.
Source: Variety

Perhaps the venture with the biggest punch, Roc Nation is Jay-Z’s entertainment company. Under Roc Nation there are 15 divisions that include a talent agency, record label, sports representation for pro athletes, clothing line, philanthropy, and a lot more. Roc Nation is arguably an empire in itself, and there are a number of big names associated with Roc’s record label alone: Rihanna, Megan Thee Stallion, Coheed and Cambria, Kelly Rowland, Senses Fail, Christina Aguilera, and DJ Khaled.

Roc Nation’s extensive profile also includes a venture capital division called Arrive. As of 2021, Arrive had nearly 30 investments under its belt which included fintech, edtech, gaming, and health & wellness. 

JetSmarter

Meta: JetSmarter user interface.
Source: TechCrunch

Fewer things can make you feel more broke than realizing that some folks are calling up jets the same way we do an Uber. And, that’s exactly the goal of one of Jay-Z’s investments, JetSmarter. JetSmarter is a mobile app that operates like a charter service for people looking for transportation via private jet. Also among JetSmarter’s services include helicopter transfers, on-demand private flights, and empty-leg flight deals. 

Tidal

Meta: Jay-Z at a Tidal event.
Source: Rolling Stone

Tidal is a music streaming service. What primarily sets it apart from competing streaming services (like Spotify or Pandora) is their claims of exclusivity: There are multiple artists (see: Roc Nation artists along with Jay himself) who will only release their albums or select singles on Tidal. Though the company has since been sold to Square for a staggering $350 million, Jay remains an active board member.

Armand de Brignac

Meta: A $300 bottle of Armand de Brignac Gold Champagne.
Source: Divine Cellar

Jay-Z is far from the only rapper to have their own luxury brand of alcohol, but he is one of the few who gets it right. Armand de Brignac, also called Ace of Spades, is Jay’s luxury champagne brand, with bottles that average around $300 to $400 each. But don’t worry, because if that’s not bougie enough, there are some bottles that go for around $1,000 a pop. For what it’s worth, like we mentioned earlier, this is one of the few celebrity-backed brands that does a good job. While Armand de Brignac is out of most of our budgets, the reviews for these opulent bottles are glowing testaments to the brand’s quality.

Though we’ve only covered a few of Jay-Z’s business pursuits here, there’s definitely a common denominator among them: They’re all big-money moves. His maneuvers are calculated, timely, and show that he has a keen eye for good investments.

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