15 Musicians Who Run Business Empires – Rolling Stone
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15 Musicians Who Run Business Empires

From hot sauce to million-dollar headphones, these artists have redefined the art of the side hustle

Billy Corgan, Wrestling, Resistance

Members of Resistance Pro wrestling at Albert Falcon's Warehouse Gym and Boxing Club in Highland Park, Illinois on Sunday, February 26, 2012. Resistance Pro wrestling consists of co-founders Gabriel and Jacques Baron, Creative Consutant Billy Corgan(of the Smashing Pumpkins) and features wrestlers such as and Bradley Jay (aka Lonseome Jay Bradley) and John Yurnet (aka "Mr. 450") who performed some practice moves in the ring.

Landon Nordeman/Redux

Jay Z once famously rapped, "I'm not a businessman, I'm a business, man." In truth he's both — as are these other musicians who have expanded their horizons beyond album sales, live shows and merch. Jay, Justin Timberlake and Sean Combs are renowned for their entrepreneurial spirits, and musicians like the Offspring's Dexter Holland, Marky Ramone and Maynard James Keenan have turned their culinary passions into successful side businesses. From clothing lines and energy drinks to restaurant chains and hot sauces, here are 15 business-savvy artists who aren't sitting around waiting for the royalty check to come.

Dexter Holland

THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) -- Episode 4301 -- Pictured: Dexter Holland of musical guest The Offspring performs on August 17, 2012 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

NBC/Getty Images

Dexter Holland

You can't grow up in Southern California and not be obsessed with hot sauce. The fiery condiment is a way of life on the West Coast, and the Offspring's Dexter Holland turned that passion into a booming business. "I just thought it would be cool to have a hot sauce. I gave away the first batch as Christmas presents to my friends," Holland writes on the Gringo Bandito Hot Sauce site. "It has always been a DIY operation for sure. It started small but it has just kept on growing." The Smash singer earned a degree in molecular biology at USC, so he'd have some extra insight into the interaction between ingredients. Over 1 million bottles of Gringo Bandito have sold in the past decade, meaning Holland's hot sauce has gone platinum.

Justin Timberlake, william rast

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 29: (TABLOIDS OUT) Justin Timberlake and Trace Ayala attend William Rast at Selfridges on June 29, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Davies/Getty Images)

Gareth Davies/Getty Images

Justin Timberlake

The ultimate multi-hyphenate, Timberlake is a singer, songwriter, actor, producer, record label exec (Tennman Records), clothier (William Rast), restaurateur (Southern Hospitality), golf course investor (Mirimichi), distiller (Sauza 901 tequila), and NBA team part owner (Memphis Grizzlies). And brand new to his résumé: Apple iPhone spokesperson. 

Sean Combs, Diddy

MIAMI BEACH, FL - DECEMBER 01: Sean "Diddy" Combs attends press conference for Ciroc Vodka at Fontainebleau Miami Beach on December 1, 2009 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Carlos Marino/FilmMagic)

Carlos Marino/Getty Images

Diddy

You could teach a semester-length Harvard Business School class on Diddy the Mogul, but his biggest ventures outside of music begin with his Sean John clothing line, which nets $250 million a year according to Business Insider. Diddy is also the face of Ciroc Vodka, a joint venture between the Bad Boy guru and beverage giant Diageo. And most recently, Combs got his Ted Turner on by spearheading Revolt, a television network developed in cooperation with Comcast that hopes to be the next MTV… or at least the next Fuse.

Maynard James Keenan

05 Nov 2008, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA --- Maynard James Keenan wine bottle signing at Whole Foods Market in Henderson, Nevada November 5, 2008. © RD / Kabik / Retna Digital --- Image by © © RD / Kabik / Retna Digital/Retna Ltd./Corbis

RD/Corbis

Maynard James Keenan

If as being the frontman in Tool, Puscifier and A Perfect Circle wasn't enough work for Maynard James Keenan, in the early 2000s the singer embarked on another career: wine czar. After buying up plots outside of Sedona, Arizona, Keenan transformed the land into Cadeceus Cellars. (A possible reason Keenan chose Arizona: His Ænima era fears that California would descend into the ocean to form the Arizona Bay, which would result in his vineyard becoming a coastal town.) Keenan's wine empire has since expanded to include the Merkin Vineyards, which, in true Tool fashion, were named after the pubic wig. Keenan also turned his passion for grape-stomping into a 2010 documentary called Blood Into Wine. Cadeceus Cellars currently ships to 23 states and Washington D.C., so while you can't quite get Keenan to follow up 10,000 Days just yet, you can get him to send you a case of the good stuff.

Marky Ramone

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - JULY 09: Marky Ramone appears at Whole Foods Market for the Marky Ramone pasta sauce launch and live musical appearance at Whole Foods on July 9, 2011 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jonathan Leibson/FilmMagic)

Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images

Marky Ramone

One taste of Marky Ramone's Brooklyn's Own Pasta Sauce on your spaghetti and it's clear the drummer knows seasoning like he knows rhythm. Marky Ramone became a marinara magnate in 2010, when he decided to share his recipe with the world. Marky even has a catchy slogan: "A recipe so flavorful, it beats the rest. Now put it to the test!" Ramone's pasta sauce is unique in that it's sold at record stores, concert venues, Jewish delis, Whole Foods and Italian markets… and that's just in New York. As an added bonus, 10 percent of all Marky Ramone's Pasta Sauce online sales benefit Autism Speaks. 

Dr Dre

BOSTON - APRIL 04: Producer and musician Dr. Dre is on the field before the Boston Red Sox take on the the New York Yankees on April 4, 2010 during Opening Night at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. Dre is promoting the Boston Red Sox version of his Beats by Dr. Dre headphones. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Elsa/Getty Images

Dr. Dre

The Chronic rapper and G-funk extraordinaire can have his entrepreneurial instincts summed up in two words: "Beats" and "Billions." While the emergence of the iPod had everyone using identical white earbuds that crackled when confronted with Mobb Deep, Dre and his partner Jimmy Iovine sensed a desire in the marketplace for boutique headphones that looked good and were resilient to the bass. In 2006, Beats Electronics was born, and thanks to a well-curated stable of celebrity clients like Lady Gaga and LeBron James, Beats by Dre headphones became the industry standard almost overnight. Beats has since expanded into the world of music streaming and computer speakers, but it was Dre's headphones that inspired Apple to shell out $3.2 billion for Beats Electronics in May 2014. And just like that, Dre went from Death Row Records to a private jet heading for the Apple iPhone 6 party.

Billy Corgan, Wrestling, Resistance

Members of Resistance Pro wrestling at Albert Falcon's Warehouse Gym and Boxing Club in Highland Park, Illinois on Sunday, February 26, 2012. Resistance Pro wrestling consists of co-founders Gabriel and Jacques Baron, Creative Consutant Billy Corgan(of the Smashing Pumpkins) and features wrestlers such as and Bradley Jay (aka Lonseome Jay Bradley) and John Yurnet (aka "Mr. 450") who performed some practice moves in the ring.

Landon Nordeman/Redux

Billy Corgan

In 2011, Billy Corgan created the Resistance Pro wrestling league and installed himself as a bald, Zero shirt-wearing Vince McMahon. Corgan has always made his love of wrestling known, even in his music; in 2008, the Smashing Pumpkins recorded a track called "G.L.O.W." that was Corgan's tribute to the Glorious Ladies of Wrestling. Amazingly, Corgan's wrestling league is so well received in his native Chicago that the Illinois State Crime Commission recently gave him an award for Resistance Pro's community outreach. For Corgan, the next step toward turning Resistance Pro into the WWE is securing a TV deal, which he has: AMC announced earlier this year that they were picking up eight hour-long episodes of what was billed as Untitled Billy Corgan Wrestling Project.

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