It’s the classic hip-hop success story: Up-from-the-streets rapper proves himself through hard-fought struggle for recognition, gets his big break, becomes wildly famous, struggles with addiction, gets clean, then has his back catalog of music become part of an IPO. The American dream!
Actually, Eminem himself has nothing to with this latest wrinkle in his story. Variety reports a new company, Royalty Flow (fitting name), is currently set to raise between $11 million and $50 million in an initial phase, after which point it will file to list with NASDAQ, becoming a publicly traded company. But the primary asset of the deal comes from Jeff and Mark Bass, brothers who invested early on in Eminem’s back catalog (yes, that is a thing), and who agreed to sell between 15 and 25 percent of their interest in his catalog to Royalty Flow. “Mo’ money, mo’ potential profit from filing with the U.S. Securities And Exchange Commission,” as the popular saying goes.
As a result, fans of the rapper have the unusual opportunity to put their investment portfolio where their fandom lies, by being directly involved in the business of Eminem. “If you’re a fan and wanna bet on that artist, you’ve got some skin in the game,” says Joel Martin, business partner of the Bass brothers and man who probably has his own failed mixtape languishing in a drawer at home. And the Eminem business is good: According to Bloomberg, profits from the brothers’ holdings grew 43 percent last year, to $5.07 million. They stand to make between nine and 19 million dollars from the sale, while investors will be able to purchase up to 80 percent of Royalty Flow, whose primary asset is future earnings from the artist’s catalog.
And although fans and potential investors shouldn’t expect their favorite hip-hop artist to be sitting at shareholders meetings next to them (“Eminem is not involved in any deals for the sale of recording royalties and has no connection to this company,” his rep says), it’s nonetheless an unusual and possibly appealing situation. After all, “Royalty Flow (feat. the Bass Brothers)” has a nice ring to it.