Jay-Z unveils latest “Blueprint” for success

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This is an excellent article on Jay-Z Inc.

via Reuters

NEW YORK (Billboard) – At just about any given moment of any given day — including this sunlit June Friday afternoon — Jay-Z is a busy man.

Sitting on a swivel chair at his Roc the Mic studios in downtown Manhattan with a glass of Santa Margherita white wine in hand, he tackles interview after interview with Japanese reporters, pausing only to use the restroom or ask his assistant to get him a refill or an order of food from his sports club, 40/40.

But while he handles his international duties, his Roc Nation team — seven people, including his assistant, longtime publicist and engineers — make sure his empire runs smoothly. His employees are scattered around the room, some perched on stools or couches, others standing or sitting on the floor, some with laptops before them. His assistant is booking flights, hotels and car service for the BET Awards, which is taking place that weekend; his publicist whispers on the phone about another magazine story.

Jay-Z, born Shawn Carter and raised in Brooklyn’s Marcy Projects, is the first to admit he could not have achieved half of his successes on his own. But it’s his overarching big-business vision and talent that have positioned him as one of the most well-known and influential artists of his time.

PAYING THE PREMIUM

Following in the footsteps of Madonna and U2, the 39-year-old rapper last year signed a 10-year, $150 million (91.8 million pounds) deal with the concert promotion giant Live Nation that includes touring, publishing and recording.

In May, Jay-Z parted ways with Def Jam, his longtime label home, at the cost of $5 million, but gained control of his future master recordings. In June, he signed a deal with Atlantic to distribute his upcoming, 11th studio album, “The Blueprint 3”; a month later, he signed a deal with Sony for all future Roc Nation releases.

“I still owed an album to Def Jam, but I wanted to have it back for a number of reasons, the most important being that it wasn’t consistent with the type of business I planned for me or where I was positioning myself. Everything in my life I had taken charge of, but yet I was still an artist signed to a label. It seemed a little archaic in my plans,” he says. “I’ve always prided myself on being a principled person. It was more so the principle than the amount of money. It was about owning my own masters and owning my own companies, but you have to pay for the privilege, and that comes at a premium.”

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