×

Music Moguls of the Year: Beyoncé and Jay-Z Make Records and Break Them

“Damn, look at us now … we came, and we saw, and we conquered it all,” the music industry’s ultimate power couple proselytize on “LoveHappy,” the song that caps their 2018 Grammy-winning album, “Everything Is Love.” A more fitting title might have been “Everything Is Money,” because the collection was also an ode to the Carters’ combined wealth.

While Beyoncé and Jay-Z have problems just like every married couple, no other husband-and-wife team has mined its relationship woes for a musical trilogy (including separate solo albums “Lemonade” and “4:44,” respectively), adding to an already formidable nest egg in the process. Clearly, things have changed since 2003’s “Crazy in Love,” the pair’s first collaboration, which features a video shot on the grimy streets of downtown L.A. Last year, they shut down the Louvre to film the clip for “Apeshit,” an apt symbol for just how far the Carters have come. Beyoncé may rap, “My success can’t be quantified,” on the song “Nice,” but Forbes says she has a net worth of $400 million. Along with Jay-Z, a newly minted billionaire, they are among the richest couples in the nation. Queen Bey and Hov — along with daughter Blue Ivy and twins Rumi and Sir — are arguably the equivalent of America’s royal family.

Among the innumerable things that extreme wealth affords is the freedom for Jay-Z to throw shade at the likes of the commander in chief (“Your president tweeting about Hov like he knows us,” he spits on “Salud!”) and the Recording Academy (“Tell the Grammys fuck that zero-for-eight shit,” he declares on “Apeshit”). Beyoncé, too, has been inspired to dis, taking a swipe at Spotify (“If I gave two fucks about streaming numbers / Would have put ‘Lemonade’ up on Spotify,” she sings on “Nice” — although three years after its release, she did.) The Carters even have their own streaming service, Tidal, of which Jay is the primary owner, but both have stakes. They also share a passion for giving back with individual charities — BeyGood and the Shawn Carter Foundation — and joint donation of scholarships for 11 high school students to attend college in the fall.

Beyoncé has nothing bad to say about Netflix, however, having earned $60 million for a three-project deal that kicked of with the Emmy-nominated “Homecoming” documentary of her 2018 Coachella performance. Or Disney, for that matter: The performer was reportedly paid $25 million for her multifaceted role in the live-action remake of “The Lion King,” which included recording and curating the movie’s sort-of soundtrack album, “The Gift.” It may prove to be the gift that keeps on giving this awards season: An Oscar nom for her original song “Spirit” could put her one step closer to membership in the exclusive EGOT club.

Jay-Z, meanwhile, has bolstered his fortune through liquor (he owns Armand de Brignac Champagne and partners with Bacardi for D’Ussé Cognac); real estate (New York City penthouse? Check. East Hampton mansion? Check. Bel Air palace? Check); an art collection valued at d $70 million (including pieces by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Damien Hirst); the sports and entertainment management firm Roc Nation (its client roster features Rihanna and Shakira as well as superstar athletes); and stakes in companies such as Uber. And while he has taken shots for his recently announced controversial partnership with the NFL (which he had harshly criticized for its stance on Colin Kaepernick’s protests over police brutality and racial injustice), a social-change element is built into the deal, along with a check for an undisclosed but doubtless enormous amount.

On top of their individual solo tours, the Carters’ two international treks together — “On the Run” in 2014 and last year’s “OTR II” — made a combined total of more than $350 million, proving that the popularity of these married moguls continues to grow along with the size of their family. As Beyoncé puts it on the song “Boss”: “My great-great-grandchildren already rich / That’s a lot of brown children on your Forbes list.”

More Music

  • Timbaland

    Hipgnosis Songs Acquires Timbaland Catalog

    The fast-rising Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited continues its aggressive growth surge, acquiring a catalog from songwriter-producer-artist Timbaland that comprises 108 albums and songs. Timbaland is one of the most successful songwriter-producers in the hip-hop/R&B realm: The catalog includes hits by Justin Timberlake, Missy Elliott, Aaliyah, Jay-Z, Nelly Furtado, 50 Cent, Madonna, 2Pac, Rihanna, Drake and [...]

  • SAG-AFTRA HQ

    SAG-AFTRA Leaders Approve Music Video Agreement for Performers

    SAG-AFTRA’s national board has approved unanimously an agreement with major record labels on a three-year successor contract to their music video agreement. The new agreement is effective retroactively from May 1, 2019, through April 30, 2022. The major labels party to the agreement are Warner Records, Atlantic Records, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, Capitol [...]

  • Obit Obituary Placeholder

    Phillip Kovac, Concert Industry Veteran, Dies at 65

    Phillip Kovac, a veteran concert promoter, transportation executive and music manager, died in Los Angeles following a battle with PSP, a rare form of Parkinson’s. He was 65. The brother of longtime Motley Crue manager and Eleven Seven Music Group CEO Allen Kovac, Phillip was laid to rest at his home in Houston Texas on [...]

  • Soft Power review

    Off Broadway Review: 'Soft Power'

    The “culture-clash musical” is a familiar template, in which a white American protagonist — waving the flag of individuality, optimism and freedom — trumps and tramps over the complexities of that which is foreign, challenging or “other.” David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori’s “Soft Power,” the new “play with a musical” at Off Broadway’s Public [...]

  • Brandi Carlile Gets Red-Hot and 'Blue'

    Brandi Carlile Gets Red-Hot and 'Blue' Saluting Joni Mitchell at Disney Hall

    If nothing else was established by Brandi Carlile’s live recreation of Joni Mitchell’s 1971 “Blue” album — and plenty else was — it was that the 38-year-old singer has nerves even steelier than her vocal cords are pliable. Mitchell is as impossible to emulate as a ridiculously tricky singer, songwriter and picker as they come, which [...]

  • Rufus Wainwright Signs With BMG for

    Rufus Wainwright Signs With BMG for New Studio Album

    Singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright has signed a new global recordings agreement with BMG to release his upcoming studio album. The still-untitled album, Wainwright’s ninth of original material and first since 2012, is described in the announcement as “a return to form and his most accessible album to date.” To that end, it is “the bookend” to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content