Jay Z & Beyonce Top Billboard’s 2014 Power 100
Leveraging their star power to release new albums in unprecedented ways—Jay Z through Samsung and Beyoncé through iTunes—they instantly changed how the industry and fans thought about interacting with music. He gave his album away; she charged a premium price for hers. But they both used the element of surprise to restore the excitement that used to accompany a new release, before that impact was dulled by the endless thunder of carefully plotted promotion.
In short, they proved that content truly is king. Or, in this case, king and queen.
“Artists have always had the power but courage is in short supply. It’s just that the hip-hop generation believes in the possibilities,” says Lyor Cohen (No. 74), a longtime associate of Jay Z’s from his days running Def Jam in the mid-’90s, and founder of new music venture 300. “Jay and Beyoncé don’t listen to the noise—they make the noise.”