Jermaine Dupri on Branding, Music and Starting Out

Posted by: Diane Brady on October 29, 2007

Jermaine Dupri has a new book out, and came in for a Video View to talk about his business. The book is Young, Rich and Dangerous: The Making of a Music Mogul.

The man has had more than 20 top hits. How does he do it? “I’m not looking for the copycat artist,” he says. “When rap was male-dominated, I put out a female rapper. My job is to take risks.”

Dupri argues that the traditional record business is “pretty much gone but that’s okay. Ring tone money is there. We have to cut a lot of different deals. I think the record companies are lazy, to be honest. They don’t work as hard on albums. The business got lazy and spoiled.”

In particular, he says, they now chase instant blockbusters without allowing an artist to build over time. “Now, if you don’t sell over 100,000 records your first week, you’re not a success. We sold 70,000 albums for Kris Kross the first week and went on to sell 8 million.

The next challenge, he says, is to expand the Jermaine Dupri brand. “I did a Dunkin Donuts commercial … If I had a regular job, I would probably mess it up.”

And his advice for young people? “You’ve got to be patient. Young people need to realize they need to start and finish. A start is an internship, being a roadie, carrying someone’s bags. You don’t end there. But you don’t start at the top.”

 

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