Top-earning rap stars bump up profits with business ventrues

THEY say the music industry is dying, but despite – or perhaps because of – tough times for record sales, savvy musical entrepreneurs are finding new niches to apply their business acumen.

Rap mogul Dr Dre, aka Andre Young, topped this year’s Forbes’ “Cash Kings” hip hop rich list not with a big tour, or by bringing out his first album in 13 years, but by selling 51 per cent of his headphone brand, Beats by Dre, to HTC.

Young netted $100m before tax, contributing the lion’s share of his $110m earnings.

Other top-earning rappers making most of their earnings from non-musical exploits include P Diddy, who brought in most of his $45m from his share of Diageo’s Ciroc vodka, and third-placed Jay-Z, who has a joint venture with Duracell, and owns a stake in the Brookyln Nets. Maybe ninth-placed Eminem, who relied on music alone to earn $15m, would benefit from diversifying his product mix.