Co-founder/president, Roc Nation
Touching everything from the NBA to the sliver screen, and helping write #newrules
Roc Nation started 2013 with a bang: signing Timbaland to its management roster. Soon after, the songwriter/producer added another milestone with his contributions to Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience,” which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with more than 900,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
That was just the first in a series of “things we’re working on for this year and next,” Jay Brown told Billboard this time last year. Since then, Roc Nation has welcomed Kylie Minogue, producer DJ Mustard (also signed to the label, his credits include Tyga’s “Rack City” and 2 Chainz’ “I’m Different”), Capital Cities and Haim as management clients. That burgeoning and diverse division already boasts Rihanna, Shakira, Melanie Fiona, Meek Mill, Wale and Elijah Blake; producers Stargate and No ID; and songwriter Andrea Martin.
After signing a multiyear worldwide partnership with Universal Music Group in April and appointing Jason Iley president of its label division, Roc Nation boldly upended the music industry in July when Jay Z partnered with Samsung to deliver the rapper’s “Magna Carta…Holy Grail.” The album’s ensuing No. 1 debut was preceded by another No. 1 bow from a Roc Nation artist: J. Cole’s “Born Sinner.”
And while Roc Nation also operates a music publishing division, its purview isn’t limited to music. The company — established in 2008 — launched Roc Nation Sports in 2013. First signees include Kevin Durant of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder and Robinson Cano of MLB’s Seattle Mariners. Last summer, filming began on a previously announced remake of Broadway’s “Annie.” The new adaptation stars Quvenzhané Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”), Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz. It’s slated for release in December.
Kicking off 2014 is Shakira, who recently debuted new single “Can’t Remember to Forget You,” featuring her Roc Nation colleague Rihanna. It’s the prelude to Shakira’s first album for RCA coming later this year.