Analysis of the Entrepreneur, Sean Puffy Combs BY Lilting Thomas “LET” Boot Music Biz Essentials part B “What essentials contribute to success? ” We were given the task to research a music industry professional who has, through entrepreneurship, established a successful business. I chose the multi talented multi millionaire Sean “Puffy Combs (a. K. A Puff Daddy/P Daddy). I will show that through a combination of factors, non more essential than Puff’s shrewd business mind and sheer determination, Sean “Puffy Combs’ entrepreneurial skills has established one of the most successful business careers of my generation.
As mentioned, several factors have contributed to Puff’s Multimillion empire. These factors Include his diversity of roles, shrewd exploitation of opportunities, ability to spot talent and gaps in the market, contacts and networking, and raw gut instinct and determination. Diversity One of the factors that set’s Sean Pup Combs apart from other Hip Hop entrepreneurs Is his multi tasking abilities. During his career he has taken on the roles of A & R executive, record company executive, producer, remixed, rapper, publisher, publicist, promoter, song-writer, composer and actor.
In addition to these entertainment-based roles, Sean Puffy Combs is a fashion designer, restaurateur, club owner, merchandiser and fragrance designer. Sean Puffy Combs has worked hard from a very young age to have as many fingers In as many pales as possible. And his success is evident as he sits on top of a Multimillion fortune, and is the highest earning Hip Hop artist in the world to date. While Puff’s hands on/do all approach has been one of the biggest contributors to his success, he backed this up with an ability to spot opportunities.
Opportunist From a young age Puffy understood that he needed to fled a way into the music industry. In recent years, in an interview with the Rolling Stone magazine, Puffy was quoted saying “All blacks got is sports and entertainment. ” It seems that this mind set, whilst somewhat negative, has been a driving force for Puffy, spurring him on In the entertainment industry. Whilst attending Howard university in 1988, where Puffy displayed his abilities as a Hip Hop promoter, the young opportunist hounded friend and rapper Heavy D until he secured an internship with Heavy Ad’s label, Uptown Records. T took two years of harassment to secure his placement but, within three months of being on board at the label, Puffy was appointed director of Artists and Repertoire, an amazing feat at 21. Whilst his strong knowledge of Hip Hop allowed him to locate artists that had potential, Puffy began to understand that he needed to be doing more to earn more. So he began to produce and enjoyed early success with Mary J Bilge’s hit album “What’s the 41 1 7′ A year later Puffy was vice president of Uptown records, and attracting masses of attention, building a wealth of contacts. So 1 OFF with Arises Distribution for his own label, Bad Boy Entertainment.
Talent It was here that Puffy began to exploit his knowledge of Hip Hop signing unknown artists like Craig Mack and Biggie Smalls. Puff’s knowledge at this point in time was a massive contributor to his success, as his remix of Mack’s “Flag in yea’ Ear” became a platinum record reaching the top ten of the pop charts in 1994. Biggie Smalls followed suit a year later when his debut album “Ready to Die” double platinum. Of course Puffy had the sense to be either producer or executive producer on everything, and in many tracks his voice can be heard topping and tailing records. This clearly a shrewd move allowing him to claim performance rights.
After this Puffy signed any and every artist with money making potential, and expanded beyond Hip Hop to include Ran artists. He clearly understood that the more music you make, covering more genres, the wider your fan base, thus increasing your profits. In 1998 Puffy even recorded and released a Gospel album, which experienced relative success among elder generations of the black community. Contacts & Networking Puff’s tenacity and drive meant he could get himself into positions of considerable influence, like at Uptown records. But, that alone isn’t the only contributing factor to his success, with regard to that part of his life.
Whilst at Uptown, Puffy secured a wealth of valuable contacts. He was the main on the phone talking to the radio stations, publishers, distributors, producers, artists and promoters. And by the time he had reached the position of vice president he had built a reputation as a shrewd businessman. So, when Puffy and Uptown records parted company he had the knowledge and contacts to go it alone. Within his first four years he showed evidence hat he was set to become the biggest name in Hip Hop as Bad Boy Entertainment grossed $million in record sales.
This, inevitably, gave Puffy a massive reputation, and he began to attract attention from massive established artists, interested in collaborating with Puffy. Artists included Retreat Franklin, David Bowie, TTL, Maria Carrey, Nas, Ill’ Kim, Boozy II Men, and Save’. Clearly the Midas touch effect that Puffy was having on music was of interest to other big money earners. Work Ethic Big money artists don’t Just work with anyone. It was Puff’s work ethic that had brought him the attention of so many. His dedication to his business had him working our days for much of his early career. His apartment had been turned into his office and studio.
The determination and self-belief that Puffy possessed mean that he is a massively positive person. Ultimately these traits made Puffy a highly professional individual, making him accessible. Fellow industry professionals and share holders of major companies, began to see Puffy as a name they wanted to be connected with. It seems to me that Puffy was always aware of the money making potential of being a positive black male. So many Hip Hop artists remain underground artists simply because of their criminal ties, or in many cases promotion of criminality. Puffy himself has never been that way inclined, always striving to promote positivist.
At the source awards in 1995, amidst the feud with Deathward Records that divided the Hip Hop world, Puff’s response to Segue Knights on stage threats and taunts was this; “I’m a positive black man who believes in Hip Hop music, so I would like to congratulate Dry. Drew and Snoop Dog, and all the still maintained his positivist, which inevitably made him more marketable than Deathward and it’s affiliates. With government officials and the media constantly talking about the “Outpace vs. Biggie” feud in a negative light, even calling for bans on rap music, Puffy managed to emerge the better man.
It is the preservation of this positivist that has seen periods of re-invention for Puffy, always coming at a time when his squeaky clean image has been in question. So, in order to shake any negative connotations and maintain the accessibility that made him marketable he re-invented himself several times. Names have included Puff daddy, P Daddy, Daddy and finally Sean “Puffy/’ Combs. Puff’s positivist, combined with his shrewd business mind and opportunism have seen some very clever business moves for Puffy.
Most significant of these was the release of “I’ll be missing you” in 1997 in tribute to the late Biggie Smalls. This recorded filled a gap left by Biggie and captured the mood of heart broken fans. But, in reality what it actually did was launch “Puff Daddy’s” solo career, and to date is still his highest earning record. Revenue Streams This opportunism has seen Puffy expand his one-man empire. Within Bad Boy Entertainment he had hands on involvement in production, composition, song writing, publishing, promotion and marketing, A&R, remixing and rapping.
This meant that he collected royalties from-both PROS, AMPS and PL for all records released on Bad Boy, a very clever move on his behalf. To this day he still owns the rights to all of Biggie Smalls works, released and otherwise, which prompted the posthumous 2005 album “The Duets: The Final Chapter. ” But, Puffy has expanded his business beyond the world of music and has taken on many acting roles, with his most acclaimed role being in the 2001 blockbuster “Monsters Ball”. He has also taken to the stage on Broadway, and even conceived his own television show “Making the Band” which he reduced and presented.
Outside of the world of entertainment Puffy has opened three fine dining restaurants and a nightclub in Manhattan. In 1997 he launched his own clothing label, “Sean John Urban Clothing” utilizing his keen sense of fashion. Every year since it’s conception the company has been nominated for the Council of Fashion Designer’s award, and he won best male fashion designer in 2003. Once again it seemed Puffy had the Midas touch. In 2007, in a possible move with the current fashion, Puffy launched his own fragrance under the name Sean John called “Unforgivable”.
Puffy has since released a follow up “Unforgivable: Black” clearly enjoying the success of this venture. Right Place, Right Time It seems that throughout Puff’s career he has been at the right place at exactly the right time. His early days in Uptown records kick started the empire that he has built providing him with a wealth of contacts. Here he was in a position of considerable influence providing him with knowledge and experience that has become invaluable. Puff’s sense of opportunism has been a major contributor to his success, but there is an element of luck it seems.
Could it be possible to always be at the right place at the right time, or did Puffy always position himself exactly where he needed to be to succeed My Opinion In my opinion the simple answer is yes, Puffy always knew where to be and when to be there. His shrewd and calculated sense of business meant he was always prepared to take an opportunity from an idea too successful venture. In 2004 Puffy was declared the highest earning Hip Hop artist worldwide, earning a staggering Multimillion. Undoubtedly, Puff’s work ethic and determination are one of his biggest factors for success.
The man never gave up or lost confidence whatever happened in the course of his career. Sheer determination and self-belief have helped make him the success that he is. He also had a massive sense of professionalism, and in his recent “Daddy-Biggie Blob” he recalls how he always told Biggie; “We young black entrepreneurs, businessmen! We have to be on time and be prompt! ” Even his biggest selling artist and close friend, Biggie, was not exempt of keeping up good business etiquette. This highly professional attitude to business, combined with his opportunistic character, made him a huge success.
So certainly, is opportunism has to be held as a major factor, as without the vision and combined ability to exploit an idea, he would not have made some of the business moves that lead to such massive success. This opportunistic nature along with his professionalism made Puffy a household name. But, his do it yourself, hands on approach to his business meant that he has been able to earn money in a huge variety of roles. Exploiting every business venture to it’s full potential. These entrepreneurial traits along with all of the other factors I have discussed are the reasons why, Sean Puffy Combs, is a hugely successful businessman.