The way it works is the manager's sort of, you know, is like the hub of an artist's career.
I'm a very commonsense guy - I just look at the viability of the idea, if I feel the team has the ability to execute the idea. I also look at the investment syndicate, the size of the market, and then a lot of gut married on top of it.
Before I even agreed to work with Hennessy and the Privilege Awards, I wanted to do some research on it, look up past winners, and find out more about it.
If you look at a company like Uber, a company that so anti-establishment that cab companies are trying to find ways to shut it down, one could compare that to how Public Enemy and NWA went after then-modern society in hip hop.
My mom was not able to buy us the expensive Air Jordans, so if I wanted something that was a little bit nicer, my brother and I, we had to go earn money for it.
That's all I ever wanted to do in my life was music. And because I was a failed artist, I was actually able to help somebody accomplish their dream was, you know, definitely fulfilling.
GaGa is a digital baby - that's how they communicate. There cant be any layers between the artists and their fans.
The way consumers interact with music is different now. It's not an albums business anymore; it's a singles business again, and the industry has gone through that before.
Actors play different characters, so you have to build a new base around each new movie - with few exceptions, most actors don't have a fan base that just follows them around. With musicians, the fan base just goes everywhere they go.
As we look at Hollywood and the controversy around the Oscars, it goes back to the voting block and the lack of people who come from that culture. For example, the NWA movie is a fantastic, fantastic movie. You need people who can look at a piece of art like that and understand the artistry in it.
People are experimenting with streaming, with subscription services, whether it's a Spotify or a Pandora or a Rdio.
She was a performance artist calling herself Lady Gaga, who had a European dance-club sound and pop-star aspirations - elements that historically haven't mixed.
I still have a day job, so I don't think I'll be a full-time Shark, but if they ever invited me back, I'd be more than happy to do it.
So many black kids aspire to be entertainers or professional athletes because those are the only role models they see that look like them. There are only 300 jobs in the NBA but an endless amount of opportunities as an entrepreneur. With enough hustle, entrepreneurship opens doors to a world of opportunities.
You have a huge demographic shift that's happening in America. Globally.
It isn't that every company is going to be successful. The law of averages shows that 80% of companies are going to fail.
Once we started making investments, we realized the same service we provided to artists was applicable to entrepreneurs as well.
Backplane will provide a platform and tools for communities to socialize and communicate on a more focused level.
When I first got pitched on Uber, I thought it was the dumbest idea ever.
There were a lot of stereotypes that I had to break of how people in the entertainment industry do business.
Being born in the adolescent years of hip hop helped us learn about flux. And when you're in an industry that is constantly growing, changing, maturing... you get a chance to try different things out and a chance to fail.
Hip hop is a multi-billion dollar business, and it was built off an opportunity that nobody else saw because they didn't understand the culture.
I think, as an industry, we should be supportive of a broad subscription model and not do anything to jeopardize the potential health of the music business - because we're not out of the woods yet.
I believe in outgrowing a mentor and getting a new one, and I think that you can never be too old to be schooled by your mentor.
It's pre-roll or post-roll on Vevo. The record company makes money off of that, and then it trickles down.
There's less clutter in the beverage category than in the music category. A lot less clutter.
If you wake up in the morning and your favorite artist isn't on the service that you're paying ten dollars a month for, sooner or later you lose faith in the subscription model.
I like to compare the attitude and energy of an emerging start-up to that of the early hip-hop era. From working at labels like Bad Boy and Ruff Ryders, walking into the Def Jam offices, A Touch of Jazz and things like that, the vibe is that off making something out of nothing and making things work, and that's what I love about start-ups.
I stay away from the arts... writing songs, being creative - those are downloads from God. You can't do data analytics on art.
Lady Gaga is phenomenal. From the first day I met her, she was lightning in a bottle.
When we look at transportation in America, there's going to be companies like Magic Bus, where you have these private bus fleets. You're going to have carpooling; you're going to have these different types of transportation. It's going to be a full ecosystem, but it's not going to be a winner-takes-all.
I invest in black-led startups not because of a sense of charity. I make those investments because of the basic principle of supply and demand and the reality that black entrepreneurs typically lack the network to have their deals become bid up and overvalued.
I don't think holograms are the future in the music industry.
When your back is against the wall, your brain has to function at a high level.
My biggest frustration is the lack of scale in the music industry. The fact that no one has sold 100 million copies of an album is frustrating.
No one has bridged that gap between music and technology yet.
When we're looking at strategic partners, it may be that they're larger partners or big corporations or start-ups. But, when you look at Gilt and places like Amazon and Starbucks, they're all places where it's a lot of foot traffic or digital traffic.
I don't think we're out there aggressively looking for deals. Our strategy is that business follows the creative. We're not out there scouring the marketplace for opportunities.
When you think about brands and movie studios and everybody who is trying to reach millennials, having a captive audience in the back of Lyft or an Uber is a pretty great place.
The music industry really is a meritocracy on a creative level.
The venture capital world is completely stacked against minority entrepreneurs.
A lot of corporations now have venture arms that are investing in young entrepreneurs or building programs within so you can disrupt yourself internally instead of looking to those external factors.
To me, as A&R people and as managers, we're in the business of finding talent. It's no different than working with these engineers who just want to make good products.
If a kid goes and buys a CD at Best Buy, we have no idea who the person is, how many times they listen to it, or anything like that.
On the artist side, we made a significant investment in very young artists from the very beginning of their careers and helped them become global superstars.
Technology has long been the driver of growth in the music business from the invention of lacquers, eight-track players, vinyl, cassettes and CDs.
Now we know that if we make a ten min video for YouTube, people will watch it.