There has been an interesting debate about Dr. Dre’s net worth post Beats’ sale to Apple for 3.2 billion dollars. Kelby, of Makin’ It Magainze, has posted a very interesting article on why hip hop has no billionaires.
One of the ideas he writes about weaves its way through a few points. It’s the idea that rappers copy what other successful rappers do.
There has never been a straightforward model to success in the hip hop game. When there is no blueprint, copying is a model that give some kind of direction for people to follow. This is why you can walk into a store and see the RZA, Swizz Beats, 50 Cent, Quincy Jones, and even Bob Marley have a headphone line (granted the last two aren’t rappers). Prior to getting sold to Apple, Beats was a successful enterprise between Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. There is a shady backstory and a hard lesson to learn from the whole Beats deal, but that’s another essay/post.
I don’t think copying is a necessarily a bad thing to do. The trouble is when we don’t think outside the box or try to improve the model, our ideas stay flat or get watered down. I learned that DJ Khaled teamed up with Bang & Olufsen to create his own line of headphones. Respect to the hustle. At this point, I don’t believe that there will be another deal like the one Beats had with Apple. I do know that everyone is shooting for that kind of end goal. It sure doesn’t hurt to try.
Given I don’t think copying is a problem, I feel the additional part to have success when copying is educating one’s self with new ideas. Learn what other business people have done. How can you add that idea into what you are doing? Now you start to innovate and create something new, and I feel this is when you create your own lane to succeed.
It’s similar to creating. We all get inspired by other people’s work. I’ve copied other people’s ideas myself. What makes a piece of work unique is when you add that extra ingredient of innovation and do/create something new. You are creating your own lane, which is what I hope we all shoot for as artists.
PS – The other thing I notice about the Beats/Apple deal is figuring out Dre’s net worth. People say his slice of the pie post sale will be $780 million. What I haven’t seen yet is his current worth now. What is his music catalog worth? What is the label worth? It may not be $220 million, but at least we can see a total figure. Have you read anything about that?? Post in the comments if so.