On two of her most recent negotiations, the singer opted to eschew her usual fee in lieu of company equity and footage rights. Now, she stands to make hundreds of millions of dollars.
If we were in charge of awarding the MacArthur genius grant, which we are repeatedly assured we are not, we’d give it to Beyoncé in a heartbeat. And not just because of her spectacular artistry and musical talent. But because she continues to prove herself to be one of the world’s most savvy businesswomen.
Take, for example, two of the singer’s most recent negotiations. The first was with Coachella when discussing the fee she would receive for performing at the 2018 festival. Beyoncé waived her usual appearance fee, asking for roughly $4 million from the organisers in exchange for retaining the rights to the concert footage.
She then sold that footage, in the form of her galvanising documentary Homecoming to Netflix for $60 million. That’s about a 1400% return on her investment.
Then there was a negotiation from 2015, when Beyoncé performed at an in-house event for Uber. The rising company offered her $6 million to appear, but once again Beyoncé opted to refuse the fee, asking for company stock instead.
On Friday, Uber was first listed on the New York Stock Exchange with a valuation of $8.1 billion. That $6 million of stock that Beyoncé kept in her back pocket? It’s now worth an immensely cool $300 million.
She’s not the only celebrity to benefit from Uber’s IPO (Initial Public Offering). Several A-listers were early investors in the company, and each of them are set to make millions. Celebrities like Olivia Munn, Leonardo DiCaprio, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ashton Kutcher will all be beneficiaries of Uber’s rising stock value.
This is another success story for Kutcher, who invested $500,000 in Uber back in 2011, and whose investment might now be worth more than 100 times that. Kutcher, incidentally, oversees a stock portfolio worth more than $250 million, thanks to his savvy investments in companies including Airbnb, Spotify, Pinterest and Skype.
But there’s something particularly savvy about Beyoncé’s decision to waive her usual fee and take a speculative gamble on the future of Uber back in 2015. As ever, we respect any woman’s commitment to earning cold hard cash.
Beyoncé herself put it best on her 2018 song ‘Apeshit’: “Pay me in equity, watch me reverse out of debt.”