Course Content
Week 1- Introduction to the world of Hip Hop and Business.
To say 50 Cent has been an American Icon would be an understatement. Conjuring up his name paints the image of his survival of 9 shots wearing a bulletproof vest and being signed to Dr. Dre and Eminem. What if I told you he had a much larger impact economically? 50 Cent has impacted businesses in a wide range of industries to the tune of over $14 Billion in realized value. His economic impact is vast and diverse, and most people probably won't connect the dots, so I sought to write this book. Since 2002, I have been covering 50 Cent and I have been doing it comprehensively. Having interviewed him several times, I have also interviewed his partners, managers, recording artists, and employees.
50 Cent appears as an actor in several movies that combine to generate over $500 million at the box office. As a TV producer, 50 Cent created several shows and most notable is Power for the Starz network. The Starz network will be sold to Lionsgate (LGF.A) for $4.4 billion with a bid of $5 billion submitted by the parent company of Power co-producer, CBS Television, CBS (CBS). Lionsgate (LGF.A) will decline the offer with a $5.5 billion response.Power is the most-watched show in the history of the Starz network.
50 Cent would partner with Reebok on a five-year deal in 2003. He would sell over four million pairs of shoes. 50 Cent claimed compensation of over $80 million. Reebok will be sold to Adidas (ADDYY) for $3.8 billion in 2005. G-Unit shoes were a huge source of revenue for Reebok at the time.
50 Cent had several deals and products sold in the beverage industry. Most notable of his products was his enhanced water venture, Vitamin Water. Energy Brands producer, Vitamin Water would be sold to Coca-Cola (KO) in 2007 for $4.1 billion. 50 Cent was an equity holding endorser of the brand who boosted awareness through several channels.
50 Cent will create SK Energy Shots with famed social entrepreneur, Chris Clarke of Pure Growth Partners. They were partnered with athletes like Colin Kaepernick and companies like Marvel. They will work with the United Nations World Food Program and donate over 3.5 million meals from the sales of SK.
50 Cent partners with Beam Suntory for the marketing of their EFFEN vodka brand. 50 Cent would double sales in a year. He claimed to be paid $60 million on his exit from the arrangement. 50 Cent will create his own spirits company, Sire Spirits, to distribute his own champagne and cognac.
50 Cent will produce 3 video games and sell millions of copies. His video game venture generated over $120 million of revenue. Also, notable from his video game ventures were highly integrated marketing for his other ventures. Most notably was his gamification of Vitamin Water. That strategy helped in the over $4 billion exit.
50 Cent will create two clothing lines under his G-Unit brand. 50 Cent created both a women’s and men’s line of clothing. Sales of his clothing line exceeded over $200 million during his partnership with Ecko Enterprises. At the peak of their arrangement, G-Unit was accounting for 15 percent of the over $1 billion in sales Ecko was generating.
50 Cent with dabbling in the jewelry game and creating a luxury line of watches with famed Manhattan New York jeweler Jacob & Co.
50 Cent will have a significant impact on the value of social media companies. 50 Cent has over 11 million followers on Twitter and over 25 million followers on Instagram. Both platforms primarily make their revenue from advertising. Twitter made over $3 billion in 2019 and Instagram made over $20 billion in 2019. 50 Cent has over 3,000 posts on Instagram. He also uses the platforms to generate value for Spirits companies and his TV and Film ventures.
50 Cent is a New York Times bestseller author, and he also publishes other authors through his Simon and Schuster imprint G-Unit books.
Beyond his extensive collection of luxury cars, 50 Cent would be partnering with GM. His partnership was with its Pontiac division and was a wide-reaching initiative. He will create custom edition Pontiac’s, and will be involved in the release of an all-new G8 based pickup. Pontiac will also sponsor concerts and integrate 50 Cent in their advertising.
50 Cent was also a technologist and founded a hardware company, SMS Audio. The company was the exclusive provider for Disney (DIS) resorts and parks. SMS Audio would also produce headphones for Marvel and Star Wars Brands. SMS will also play in the health and fitness space. Partner Intel (INTC) provided biometrics technology and heart rate monitors for integration into their products. 50 Cent would also partner with Reebok again for a sports and fitness inspired headphone line.
Week 14 MUSIC
50 Cent created marketing efforts that built his G-Unit brand through alternative distribution channels. This approach created a bidding war for his music in excess of $1 million before he was signed with Dr. Dre and Eminem. He would sign with them in 2002 for $1 million. Since 2002, 50 Cent and his G-Unit artist have sold over 40 million records worldwide. He will launch the multi-platinum career of artists like The Game and Lloyd Banks. Revenue for music sales alone exceeded over $450 million. From 2002, 50 Cent would also have a lucrative live performance career. His concerts generated over $71 million of revenue. 50 Cent also made millions from music publishing and other ancillary income like ringtones.
Week 15 Class Project Presentations
Combining all of the industries we have studied in this class, you get over 14 billion dollars in realized value by 50 Cent. Students have to create a mock product in one of the aforementioned industries and use lessons learned from 50 Cent's marketing techniques to do a product marketing strategy. Students will present their final product as a project. Students can work in teams.
Week 16. Final Exam
A cumulative exam on all the topics covered in class will be administered with students having to answer their questions in multiple formats.
The 50 Cent Economy. The Untold Stories of The American Dream
About Lesson

The advent of social media came in the second wave of the web and technology explosion. Web 2.0 brought about Facebook (FB) in 2004. Myspace predated Facebook (FB) and was founded in 2003. It was purchased by Rupert Murdoch News Corp (NWSA) for $580 million in 2005. In 2006, Google (GOOGL) signed a deal worth $900 million to sell ads on Myspace.

Culture again dictates commerce and while it will be worth over $12 billion at its peak with 300 million users a year later in 2007, it will die a slow death. 5 years later, it would be sold for $35 million. The site had become culturally irrelevant. It missed out on its first movers’ advantage.

Mark Zuckerberg would launch Facebook (FB) along with friends, namely Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes in a dorm room at Harvard University. Peter Thiel would become the first outside investor with a $500,000 investment in 2004. A personal disclosure, my son, Wole Idowu, was a Thiel Foundation 20 under 20 finalists in 2012.
Jim Swartz, through Accel Partners, would also lead a series A investment of $12.7 million in 2005 and obtain 11% of Facebook (FB) for $12.7 million. Till 2010, Accel was the largest Venture shareholder in Facebook (FB). Accel remained on the board of directors of Facebook (FB) through the IPO in 2012. Another personal disclosure, I’m CEO at a tech startup at the Swartz Center of Entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University, Toyz Electronics.

Facebook (FB) will grow and have an IPO price of $38. While the platform was growing entrepreneurs like 50 Cent were building brands and impacting publicly traded businesses to the tune of billions of dollars.

Twitter (TWTR) would go public in 2013 and be valued at $18 Billion. Instagram would be sold to Facebook (FB) in 2012 for $1 billion dollars. Currently, Instagram has over a billion monthly users globally. Instagram generates billions of dollars in advertising revenue. $20 billion in advertising revenue was generated on Instagram in 2019.

Artists and celebrities like 50 Cent dominate both platforms with their content and engagement. 50 Cent has over 11 million Twitter followers and over 25 million Instagram followers. He receives no direct compensation for his content on both platforms. The platforms are positioned as marketing and advertising vehicles and actually offer opportunities for brands to boost the free content users create via various advertising options.

As Billboard stated recently in regards to a Nielsen report, “R&B/HIP-HOP IS KING: R&B/hip-hop music continued to dominate all other genres in terms of consumption, as it did in 2018. In 2019, the genre represented 27.4% of album equivalent audio consumption – the largest of any genre.”
The economic dynamics are African Americans have the highest utilization rate on smartphones. They have the highest social media engagement rate. African Americans primarily create the most popular music genres. These factors generate billions in advertising and revenues for companies like Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR).
50 Cent is at the forefront of generating commerce on these platforms. His posts generate engagement with tens of millions of people.
He is ranked in the top 130 users of Instagram globally.

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