Every smart business move that made Rihanna a $1.7 billion fortune
Work work work work work work
Diamonds, Umbrella, We Found Love— Rihanna’s discography is extensive. But, although she started her career as a singer, she’s also a businesswoman, CEO, and America’s youngest self-made billionaire as of July 2022 with a net worth of $1.7billion, according to Forbes.
Since day one, she’s been hustling.
And even though Rihanna’s music categorically pops off, it’s not the only way she made her money. So, in case you’re wondering how RiRi became the wealthiest female musician in the world, here are all the smart business moves that earned her millions:
So, so, many tours and album releases
Rihanna released her first single Pon de Replay in May 2005 and dropped eight studio albums in the 11 years after that— that’s almost one a year. But that didn’t automatically make her loads of money.
In 2007, Umbrella made Rihanna close to $50million in album sales, touring and endorsements. But only two years later she was almost bankrupt. In 2009, her income was down from $11million to $2million thanks to a bad property purchase her accountant recommended, according to Business Insider.
But a year later, in 2010, Rihanna went on her Last Girl On Earth Tour— the first of her series of live shows to (thankfully) make major profits. The tour grossed $40million and, just a year later, Rihanna headed on her Loud album tour, which made $90million, according to BET.
After creating a lucrative touring model, Rihanna took things one step further in 2015 and signed a $25million contract to promote Samsung on her 2016 Anti World Tour, according to the New York Post. So, it’s clear her finances were back on track.
Owning all the rights to her music
In the music industry, it’s pretty rare for female artists to own the masters to their previous albums. Normally, whichever label they were signed to keeps those rights. But when Rihanna moved on from Def Jam Recordings in 2014, she made sure she owned all of the masters to her previous albums to maximise her earnings from royalties and streaming.
Rihanna has sold more than 60 million albums and 215 million digital tracks, according to the RocNation website, where she’s now signed. Additionally, she’s the most viewed female artist on Youtube with 11.8 billion views.
By 2016, when Rihanna last released an album, she’d earned $7.6 million from streaming, $2.5 million from sales, and $10.1million in royalties, according to Billboard. Big slay.
Building her brand away from music
After throwing all of her energy into it since her last album release in 2016, Rihanna has made most of her money with her Fenty Beauty brand, which she owns with the French luxury company LVMH.
In 2020, Fenty Beauty made more than $550 million in revenue, according to Forbes. And LVMH said this doubled in 2022, making the brand more successful than Kylie Jenner’s Kylie Cosmetics or Kim Kardashian West’s KKW Beauty.
Fenty has been a massive success in part because of its inclusivity as they offer foundation and concealer in all skin tones. But, basically, the products are just great and go viral on TikTok nearly every other week. When Rihanna released the first Fenty fragrance in August 2021, it sold out in hours.
Making good partner and investment decisions
In 2018, Rihanna partnered with TechStyle Fashion Group to launch her online-only underwear brand Savage X Fenty. She owns 30 per cent of the lingerie line and Bloomberg reported the brand is worth more than $3million.
As well as creating Savage x Fenty, Rihanna invested in Jay-Z’s music streaming service Tidal, became Puma’s global ambassador and creative direction and took on numerous other well paid brand partnerships with Manolo Blahnik and Dior. She literally doesn’t stop.
Months after releasing her first ever single, Rihanna popped up in the 2006 cheerleading film Bring It On: All or Nothing and has made cameos in other movies, including Home, the re-make of Annie, Ocean’s 8 alongside Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett and Childish Gambino’s Guava Island, ever since.
And, obv, when she finally made her return to music this year, it was on the soundtrack for Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Not getting paid for the Super Bowl
So, it turns out nobody get paid to perform at the Super Bowl— even massive artists like Rihanna. But it was actually a really smart business decision for her to do it anyway because her Anti album went straight back in the charts thanks to the news of her performance and searches for Fenty are up 809 per cent after the show.
She knew what she was doing when she whipped out that powder mid performance.
Related stories recommended by this writer:
• Sorry to break it to you, Rihanna is not booked for Brighton Pride
• A considered ranking of Rihanna’s 50 greatest singles of all time
• A quick list of the amazing things Rihanna has done for people and the planet