Finance and investment, fashion and retail, real estate, and technology have always been industries that have produced large sums of money and many billionaires throughout the years. Alternatively, the entertainment industry has produced a relatively low number of billionaires, making up only 3%. However, the new generation of entertainers are beginning to see the potential they have to access these high performing industries through the power of social media.
Social media allows for entertainers to turn themselves into public figures and brands, giving people an outlet to build their relationships with these personalities they see on their screens. Entertainers are beginning to understand this power and are utilising it, using the support of the millions that follow them online, they can create anything and people will invest in them.
By accessing this public following through the entertainment industry, doors can be opened for other industries. Entertainers can now create clothing lines and new companies, buy homes and invest, and so much more. One entertainer who has really used this mindset and has taken advantage of his large following is Shawn Carter.
Shawn Carter, also known as Jay-Z, is a hip-hop rap artist and superstar. Carter began his adult life as a drug dealer coming from Marcy Housing projects in Brooklyn, and now runs an ever-growing empire, made up of “liquor, art, real estate, and stakes” in a multitude of companies, such as Uber, as well as running his own record label and a music streaming service called Tidal. On top of his current dealings, he has worked on many projects and companies which have sold for a sizable sum including his clothing line, Iconix, for $204 million. From his music career alone, Carter earned “$500 million in pretax earnings in a decade,” accumulating “14 No. 1 albums [and] 22 Grammy awards.” Forbes breaks down Carter’s actual worth and have now titled him a billionaire, “making him one of only a handful of entertainers to become a billionaire and the first hip-hop artist to do so.”
Although a small amount, the number of entertainers becoming billionaires is growing. These are the handful of entertainers who have already conquered billionaire status. All demonstrating impressive entrepreneurship, business mindsets, and skilled use of their large followings, like Carter.
George Lucas is the richest man in entertainment, with a reported $6.1 billion net worth. Lucas is an American filmmaker, best known for creating two of the biggest franchises in film history, Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Lucas has been on this list for a long time, making his billions in 2012, when he sold his production company, Lucasfilm, to Disney for $4.1 billion.
Steven Spielberg has been an American filmmaker for nearly six decades and has accumulated a net worth of $3.7 billion. Spielberg has won three academy awards and most recently produced the movie Ready Player One, which made $582 million in the box office. Spielberg plays a big part in why people head to Universal theme parks since Universal constantly pays him for the use of his movies, such as E.T. and Jurassic Park.
Oprah Winfrey is an American TV star, producer, actress, media executive, and role model for her supporters. Winfrey is someone who has a somewhat cult-like following, due to her connection with her fans. You can see her fan-base at its extreme in the old Nickelodeon TV show “Drake and Josh,” where Josh was obsessed with everything she did and would buy all of Winfrey’s merchandise. By strategically turning herself into a brand for people like Josh and turning her talk show into a business empire, she has been able to make a net worth of $2.5 billion. She has also had a few partnerships with some big companies such as Weight Watchers and Apple.
Michael Jordan is NBA superstar with a net worth of $1.9 billion. Being one of the most notable and famous basketball players in history, his salary has accumulated to $90 million over the years. Through social media, he has become an icon to people who do not even follow basketball. Because of this icon status he has obtained, everyone has a desire to be like Jordan, allowing him to have many successful sponsorship deals, including his famous Air Jordan sneakers with Nike. He also has had many corporate partnerships, earning him $1.4 billion (before tax), and bought 90% of the Charlotte Hornets, which is worth $1.05 billion.
Kylie Jenner recently made the list becoming the youngest self-made billionaire at 21 years old. Jenner got her start for appearing on a reality tv show, Keeping up with the Kardashians. Since appearing on the show from a very young age, she has grown up on social media with her fans. Throughout the years she has started a clothing line with her sister Kendall Jenner, and most notoriously started a cosmetic line in 2015. Her cosmetic line, Kylie Cosmetics, is estimated to be worth at least $900 million alone, according to Forbes. Jenner, who has grown up online, is someone who really knows how to use her internet following to benefit her business. People have become obsessed with everything Jenner does, mainly due to the way she promotes her brand in a personal way through social outlets such as Instagram stories.
Some entertainers who are close to making the list are David Copperfield, Diddy, Tiger Woods, and James Patterson (if you consider a couple 100 million close).