Written by Issa Ramadhan on July 16, 2019
Growing up Kenyan & watching music interviews well most than never had the simple yet commanding question “Apart from music,is there any business you do…??”…at that moment probably the music industry wasn’t as profitable yet & the answer may be lied in other ventures for the artists but fast forward to 2019 the answer still lies in other ventures but this time your music is the business;cue the recent “twitter Twar” between hiphop mogul Kanye West & Drake,One of the issues lied in the latter’s subliminal jabs of Ye’s ties with mega shoe company Adidas..
Back home our very own artists are also using gained buzz & recogntion via music to generate indirect income.One of the most trendy and most anticipated events in Kenya is the famed Blankets & Wine which was founded by the excellent rapper & singer MDQ-Muthoni Drummer Queen.The event held on every first sunday of a month involves a styled sunday picnic style with one key ingredient,afro & urban music from Kenyan artists and more.Its brand has grown to see it attract key celebrities and highlife fans with expansions to Uganda and Kigali-its recent 10 year celebration was laced with a collabration with the world-recognised Redbull Music.
In a tweet to announce his endorsment deal to Remy Martin,the cognac, King Kaka said “….I am not defined by the one thing I do, but all that I do….”-and part of all that he does King KaKa has created one of the most formidable artist brand the “KAKA EMPIRE”.The record stable went from being just that to a stable & with a fortune artiste management company with enviable talents in its shelter like Femi One,Avril,King Kaka himself just to mention;His mentor role at Kenya’s leading network Safaricom through their Youth program BLAZE is also raking in some numbers that ensures Kaka is still King.
Sauti Sol,the leading African Boy Band grace billboards across Nairobi City next to one the most popular Vodka brands in Kenya “Chrome Vodka”.With a marketing campaign dubbed ‘Dream Big.Be Bigger’ without a doubt Sauti Sols accounts are getting Bigger as Kenya Breweries Ltd called the deal a multimillion deal.
Current Afrimma African Rapper of the year Khaligraph Jones recently decline to take shots at a DJ reason due to his corporate image & branding which after landing a deal with another Vodka brand ERISTOFF got in a deal as official ambassador for reknowned and loved energy drink Monster.
Reality TV has also crept in the Kenyan entertainment sphere with one of gospel favorite’s Bahati landing a TV show with NTV dubbed “Being Bahati”.Across the borders Diamond Platnumz is highly regarded as a musical enterpreneur with his interview on E!TV suggesting his net worth is at $4 million dollars this sum coming from his endorsments deal with DSTV,Coca Cola,Bel air and more to his businesses involving a Perfume line and a groundnut selling venture.He like Kaka Empire built an artist management label and recording studio “WCB-Wasafi” that houses some of Africans best pop stars Harmonize,RayVanny & Mbosso just to mention a few.
Down south AKA whose real name is Kiernan FORBES signed a one of its kind deal with Cruz Vodka that not only sees him endorse and be the brand ambassador but earn royalties of the bottles sold,designs amd infusions created by him.The deal is similar to Diddy’s Cirox venture.His name is seen on bottles and his recent infusions watermelon earned so much that Ciroc Vodka intoduced the watermelon infusion to their list much to the distaste of main rival Cassper Nyovest who is Ciroc’s brand ambassador in South Africa.Like AKA said “I’m breaking bread on a whole different level,I dont anybody in the continent doing what I’m doing-I think its just me and Diddy getting money by the bottle.”
Black Coffee one of the richest African entertainers and World Djs recently passed his AXE endorsment deal to Nasty C who becomes the face of AXE after succesful deals with Puma,Redbat and his most lucrative deal yet Mercedes Benz which sees him get rides from the company amd switch cars atleast thrice a year just 4 days ago Nasty C took to his gram to say for his next birthday Merc will gift him 23 cars…Something we hope turns out true.
Internationally and in the USA to be precise brand ambassador deals are money magnets and nothing beats a music meet fashion deal and in that zone the war between Nike & Adidas reign Drakes now famous “Checks over Stripes,Thats what we like” line on number 1 song SICKO MODE with Travis Scotts underlines his loyalty with Nike whose brand is associated with Check sign while Adidas is associated with the three stripes on the logo. Drakes deal with Nike together with his deals with Sprite & Kodak see him well far beyond his peers money wise not to mention Drake has recently unveiled his luxury champangne brand called ModSélection Champagne-the fizzy drink will clock in at $300 & $400 a bottle.His fellow rapper and leading name in the Adidas side is Kanye West a man famed to have broken the barrier to music and fashion deals,Kanye West prized brand name for his fashion adventures is the famous YEEZY that incorporates his Adidas Creations,Clothing line and runway presentations.Kanye West has also worked with Nike & Louis Vuitton.NIKE also stole Kendrick Lamar from REEBOK(has MGK,Rae Sremmurd & FUTURE) to add to their list of ambassadors that features also UK Rapper Skepta with Stormzy reppin Adidas in London launching an original called #Merky.
Rihanna’s recent revealing of his lingerie line Savage X Fenty is another venture from her hit business last year Fenty Beauty Debut.In addition to this partnerships with Mac, Armani, River Island, Balmain, Dior and the more prominent deal with PUMA which was rumoured to be worth more than $1 million.Beyonce recent alliance with Adidas is also outstanding-for the relaunch of her Ivy Park athleisure line,Queen Bee will partner with adidas whose shares went 1.5% up after the deal was announced. Additionally, Adidas said the music icon will be a “creative partner” for the brand.
Exclusivity deals between artists and streaming platforms like Apple,Spotify & Tidal also rake in serious cash for entertainers recent deals by Drake, The Weekend, Pharell Williams & Taylor Swift with Apple Music made headlines as so did Jay Z’s Tidal when he launched and it pays the highest royalties to artists and songwriters.During its unveiling Jay Z together with 16 other artists were present and were co-owners and stakeholders in the venture that was once valued at a whooping $600 million.Jay Z whose networth currently stands at $900 million according to Forbes-The Mogul rakes in money via his investments in Armand de Brignac champagne and D’Ussé cognac, on top of nine-figure ownership stakes in his Roc Nation empire and Tidal streaming service.
Sean ‘P. DIDDY’ Combs is a hiphop mogul and his dealings with beverage companies such as Ciroc vodka, DeLeon tequila and Aquahydrate alkaline water together with his appearance on music talent show The Four in addition to his clothing line brought him more than $50 million through 2018.
Above all reigns a name that is classical as the legend himself Dr Dre became the first hiphop billionaire after his $3 billion deal to sell his Beats headphones company to Apple in 2014 and could yet secure another $100 million deal with Apple.
So while our artist keep us on our feet,have our hands in the air,make us bump our heads & speak to our hearts through their music making money is still as important and can be summarised by Drake’s admission to Forbes Magazine “If I’m not on your list this year, I’d be gravely disappointed,That’s pretty much my objective every year … other than making good music.”