Jun 9, 2019

How Jay-Z became a billionaire

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.

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In photos: India welcomes president with massive "Namaste Trump" rally

First Lady Melania Trump, President Trump and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend the "Namaste Trump" rally at Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, on Monday. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump told a massive crowd at a rally in Ahmedabad, northwest India, Monday he hopes to reach a trade deal with his ""true friend" Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his two-day visit to the country "except he's a very tough negotiator."

Why it matters: The countries are forging deeper ties, particularly in the military dimension, as India’s location, size and economic growth making it the "obvious counterweight to China" for American policymakers, per Axios' Dave Lawler and Zachary Basu. Prime Minister Narendra Modi demonstrated the importance of the visit with a "Namaste Trump Rally" at a packed 110,000-capacity Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad — the world's largest cricket venue.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 15 mins ago - World

Coronavirus spreads to more countries as cases in South Korea surge

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

Afghanistan, Kuwait and Bahrain each reported their first cases of the novel coronavirus, Al Jazeera first reported, as infections in South Korea, Italy and mainland China continued to increase on Monday.

The big picture: As South Korea and Italy stepped up emergency measures in efforts to thwart the spread of the virus, World Health Organization officials expressed concern about infections with no clear link to China. COVID-19 has killed at least 2,619 people and infected almost 80,000 others, with all but 27 deaths occurring in mainland China.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 28 mins ago - Health

Sanders reveals free childcare plan for preschoolers

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign rally on Saturday in El Paso, Texas. Photo: Cengiz Yar/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders announced on CBS' "60 Minutes" Sunday a new plan to guarantee free child care and pre-kindergarten to all American children from infancy to age four.

Details: In the wide-ranging interview, Sanders told Anderson Cooper he planned to pay for universal childcare with a wealth tax. "It's taxes on billionaires," he said.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy