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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Jay-Z is a billionaire, according to what Forbes characterizes as a conservative accounting of the recording artist's fortune. Separately, the magazine estimates that his wife Beyoncé is worth another $400 million.

How he did it: His music created a lot of seed capital, some $500 million in pretax earnings. He then invested that capital into creating brands, including the clothing line Rocawear and the music-streaming service Tidal.

  • Jay-Z's biggest brand of all: Ace of Spades Champagne, valued by Forbes at $310 million.

Jay-Z helped to reinvent high-end Champagne. Armand de Brignac Champagne once belonged in the domain of wine snobs, but when it became known as Ace of Spades, it became a true Giffen good: an ostentatious wealth-signaling mechanism where desirability — and demand — increases with price. Ace of Spades is far more popular at $750 a bottle than it was when it was called Cattier and cost $60.

How it works: In a nightclub, no one cares about the difference between the Vallée de la Marne and the Côte des Blancs. What matters is swagger, glamor and instantly recognizable branding. If you can create that, you effectively own a license to print money.

Go deeper

Senate Democrats reach deal on extending unemployment insurance

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Democrats struck a deal Friday evening to extend unemployment insurance in President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package after deliberating and halting other action for roughly nine hours, per a Senate aide.

Why it matters: The Senate can now resume voting on other amendments to the broader rescue bill.

Capitol review panel recommends more police, mobile fencing

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

A panel appointed by Congress to review security measures at the Capitol is recommending several changes, including mobile fencing and a bigger Capitol police force, to safeguard the area after a riotous mob breached the building on Jan. 6.

Why it matters: Law enforcement officials have warned there could be new plots to attack the area and target lawmakers, including during a speech President Biden is expected to give to a joint session of Congress.

Financial fallout from the Texas deep freeze

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Texas has thawed out after an Arctic freeze last month threw the state into a power crisis. But the financial turmoil from power grid shock is just starting to take shape.

Why it matters: In total, electricity companies are billions of dollars short on the post-storm payments they now owe to the state's grid operator. There's no clear path for how they will pay — something being watched closely across the country as extreme weather events become more common.

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