Trapital Explains Jay-Z’s Cell Phone Partnership Strategy

Isheka N. Harrison
Written by Isheka N. Harrison
Since he entered the game, Jay-Z has leveraged his lyrical ability to create business partnerships that enhanced his brand. In this photo, he announces the launch of Dream Chasers record label in joint venture with Roc Nation, July 23, 2019, in New York. (Photo by Greg Allen/Invision/AP)

Jay-Z didn’t become hip-hop’s first billionaire by accident. Since he entered the game, Jay has leveraged his lyrical ability to create business partnerships that enhanced his brand. His business strategy surrounding cell phones was no different.

According to a recent Trapital article by media entrepreneur Dan Runcie, Jay-Z has used cell phones as a part of his digital distribution strategy for nearly two decades. It started with the iconic MC’s “The Black Album” being preloaded onto Nokia’s Black Phone in 2003 and morphed into Jay using mobile tech to continue showing up his empire.

“Kingdom Come, Blueprint 3, the Decoded autobiography, Watch The Throne, Magna Carta Holy Grail, 4:44, and Everything is Love all had some form of windowing exclusivity – many of them with cellular carriers or manufacturers. Jay’s albums were B2B products disguised as B2C,” Trapital states.

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Jay-Z went on to team up with companies like Cingular, Samsung and others as either sponsors or exclusive carriers of his content. Whether it was the time he gave Samsung users early access to “Magna Carta Holy Grail” or in 2015 when he purchased Tidal, he tripled its valuation 10 times over two years later by making 4:44 available exclusively on the platform with Sprint, Jay-Z has been using cell phone and digital carriers to his advantage.

As Trapital details, not every deal had the best outcome, but they were experiences Jay-Z learned from to refine his content distribution strategy.

“It was the ideal partnership for Jay-Z. The 4:44 launch still wasn’t perfect, but it was the best example yet. Technology enabled the distribution, joint ownership, and vested interest of all parties involved to get the product in the hands of the target consumers,” Trapital wrote.