(Reuters) – U.S. pop singer Beyonce, basketball player LeBron James and record producer and rapper Dr. Dre headed Forbes’ list of the world’s most powerful celebrities released on Monday.
With estimated earnings of $115 million over the past 12 months and a string of chart hits, Beyonce, 32, nabbed the top spot on the annual list, pushing entertainment mogul Oprah, 60, from first place last year into fourth, while TV talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, 56, jumped from No. 10 in 2013 to No. 5.
The top 10 spots included five men and five women.
Forbes credited Beyonce’s massive concert tour for pushing her into the top spot ahead of her husband, rapper Jay Z, who ranked sixth, and singers Rihanna at No. 8 and Katy Perry at No. 9.
“The superstar played 95 shows, bringing in an average of $2.4 million,” said Forbes, referring to figures from Pollstar, which covered the concert industry.
Along with her latest hit album “Beyonce,” which was released late last year, she earned millions from endorsement deals and her clothing line, and last week she kicked off her first world tour with Jay Z.
James, 29, who last week opted out of his NBA contract with the Miami Heat team, jumped from 16th place last year to No. 2. He earned an estimated $72 million thanks to his performance on the basketball court, endorsement deals and the sale of headphone maker Beats Electronics to iPhone-maker Apple Inc for $3 billion. James was a small part-owner of the business.
But the most impressive rise on the list was No. 3′s Dr. Dre, born as Andre Romelle Young. He earned $620 million in 2014, and climbed from the 63rd spot in 2013.
Forbes said the 49-year-old co-founder of Beats with music executive Jimmy Iovine, earned more money in the past 12 months than any other person in the history of its list.
Forbes compiled its 15th annual list by estimating pre-tax earnings from June 1, 2013 to 2014 from tours, books, contracts, endorsements, movies and residuals.
Fame and influence is gauged by how often celebrities appeared in the media and the impact they had on the entertainment industry and culture. Forbes also used StarCount, which looks at 11 social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, to determine presence in social media.
While Forbes said the list measured global influence, those on it were mostly American.
Music producer and “Happy” singer Pharrell Williams was a newcomer to this year’s list at No. 38, along with Grammy winner Bruno Mars at No. 13, actors Bradley Copper (48) and best actor Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey who was 52.
Singer Madonna, retired soccer star David Beckham, actresses Kristin Stewart and Charlize Theron, property developer Donald Trump and actors Alec Baldwin, Tom Cruise and Adam Sandler were among the celebrities who dropped off the list this year. (Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Eric Kelsey and Cynthia Osterman)
Dr. Dre and Ice Cube have revealed the first photo of the cast of Universal’s upcoming film Straight Outta Compton, based on the story of the West Coast rap group N.W.A.
Dre will be played by classically-trained actor Marcus Callender, Ice Cube’s son O’Shea Jackson Jr. will fill in for his famous father, and Jason Mitchell from Broken City, and Contraband will take on the role of the late great Eazy-E directed by F. Gary Gray. Straight Outta Compton hits theaters on August 14, 2015.
Put another way by Dre himself, he could be “The first billionaire in hip-hop, right here from the mother-f$%&*#$ West Coast, believe it!” (see GIF below)
Dre’s words are from the video below posted to Tyrese Gibson’s Facebook and came within hours of the Apple-Beats news. In the video, featuring a group of “homies drunk off of Heineken,” Tyrese calls his crew the “billionaires boys club,” saying “the Forbes list just changed” and needs to be “updated,” before Dre makes his monetary boast.
The Forbes list in question came out last month and saw Sean “Diddy” Combs topping annual survey with $700 million in earnings, due in large part to his deals with Ciroc and his recently-launched Revolt.tv. Second on the list is Dr. Dre at $550 million, thanks to his stake in Beats. The company controls two thirds of the premium headphone market, according to Forbes, and has annual sales in excess of $1 billion.
Beats Electronics is a privately held company and therefore does not have to make detailed financial information public. Companies only have to make that information available when they register for IPOs, according to SEC regulations.
Dre’s stake in Beats is estimated to be in the 20-25% range. If he were to earn that amount directly from the $3.2 billion sale his take would be somewhere between $640 million and $800 million, before taxes. With that amount, combined with his earnings of $550 million last year as well as his other income streams (album sales, publishing royalties, his work with HP laptops) the hip-hop legend would be very close to a net worth of a billion dollars.
So: If the deal doesn’t make Dre the first hip-hop billionaire, it definitely puts him close to it. It ain’t nothing but a many, many Gs thang.
During its f8 developer conference Wednesday, Facebook introduced new tools designed to make mobile navigation, sharing, and advertising a smoother experience, while enabling seamless communication among third-party apps and Facebook itself. Music was featured often during the presentation, with app developers Spotify, Rdio, Vevo, iHeartRadio, Soundcloud, and Mixcloud among those namechecked.
Among the new introductions were:
- AppLinks, an open-source, open-standards kit that allows apps to link to each other directly using a bit of code. It’s designed to prevent the snags mobile users experience when linking from one app to another. (Goodbye, stopover in the default web browser.) All the music apps named above were featured in the demo, along with photo and video apps such as Flickr, Hulu and Vimeo, along with the likes of Pinterest, Dropbox, and Facebook itself. Presenter Ilya Sukhar also said Spotify is working with live-music events site Songkick to use AppLinks to sell concert tickets.
- A new mobile ‘Like’ button for third-party apps, knocking down a key barrier between the desktop and the on-the-go experience. The iOS version is ready now, and the company promised that an Android edition is on the way. Ime Archibong, a self-described “music guy” at Facebook, used Rdio as part of the demonstration.
- Facebook Audience Network, or FAN, a mobile advertising platform. Asexpected, third-party developers can now use FAN to sell ads rather than sell them on their own. Mobile advertising already accounts for 59 percent of Facebook’s overall ad revenue, according to its latest quarterly announcement; the new network figures to boost that number even further by extending its advertising reach further.
- Anonymous Login, a feature that will permit consumers to test apps without sharing their own Facebook credentials. CEO Mark Zuckerberg also said Facebook will give users more privacy and sharing options to control what personal data app developers receive.
- New app-building tools on the Parse platform, which Facebook acquired last spring. Freshly unveiled were new tools for offline interactivity and an analytics kit. At the May 2013 SF MusicTech Summit, Archibong told an audience that music developers could use Parse as a back end for new apps.
A full list of Facebook’s newly introduced tools and services can be found here.
British multi-billionaire and founder of the Virgin group, Richard Branson, is looking to move into cruise shipping, he told the German business daily Handelsblatt on Wednesday.
“We want to move into the cruise-shipping business with Virgin in the next few years,” Branson said.
“We are already in negotiations with shipyards in Italy and Germany on the construction of big ships for Virgin Cruises,” he said, adding that the chances that a German company could win a contract were “very good.”
The newspaper quoted industry sources as saying that Branson would invest about $1.7 billion in the project.
The ships could be launched by 2019, Branson said.
“Nothing delivers a feeling of immersion better than VR. VR has been a dream of many gamers since the computer was invented. Many of us at PlayStation have dreamed of VR and what it could mean to the gaming community.”
The virtual reality set was announced at the Game Developers Conference in an event that featured a genius by the name of Richard Marks, who developed EyeToy and PS Move. Marks said he had been working on a project with NASA to create a virtual reality Mars—I’m not joking—and told the audience,
“VR is going to be pervasive, and what I mean by that is it’s going to be used for all sorts of things you might not think it would be used for.”
Clark Kokich has built a career helping brands master digital technology. So it’s only fitting that Kokich, the chief strategy officer at Marchex, former Razorfish CEO, and author of Do or Die, has created 20/20, the world’s first narrative live-action short film shot with Google Glass. The five-minute movie, which follows a day in the life of a young man through his Google Glass, makes a powerful statement about personal privacy and the power that technology assumes in our everyday lives. For as long as I’ve known him, Clark Kokich has always been fascinated with the way that digital technology can both disrupt and shape the way we live and do business.
20/20: romance competes with technology. Which will win?
In the following interview, he discusses the themes of 20/20 (a product of his film company, Perché No?) what it was like to make a movie with Google Glass, and his views on technology and privacy (including his opinion of Edward Snowden). Check out what’s on his mind — but more importantly, take five minutes to watch the provocative 20/20. This movie will make you think.
What inspired you to make this movie?
Last spring I was having coffee with Margaret Czeisler, global vice president of the Razorfish xLab. She pulled out a Google Glass for me to try. It was the first time I fully understood the power of the technology. Then, as I was driving home, the idea for the film just popped into my head. I more or less wrote it in my mind in the car and typed it up when I got home.
In the movie, Google Glass is omnipresent, and not always for the best. Where do you think Google Glass is headed in the next few years?
It’s hard to say. I used to work at Code-A-Phone, a company that made telephone answering machines. Remember those? Our biggest issue was confronting the backlash from people who became pissed off when they had to leave a recorded message.
In the 1990s, I worked for Cellular One. At that time, cell phones were regarded as a smug status symbol. “What kind of an asshole takes a call in their car?” We’re seeing that kind of backlash right now with Google Glass. And I suppose this film doesn’t help, does it? But who knows what will happen.
In the end, if the technology solves a real problem, people will get over it. Right now, I don’t think Google Glass solves an obvious problem in the same way answering machines and cell phones did.
The movie’s subtext about spying is obviously quite timely, with Edward Snowden recently speaking at the 2014 SXSW Interactive festival. What’s your view of Snowden? Hero or a traitor?
I do think he broke the law, and there should be consequences for that. But I don’t consider him a traitor. If I had to guess, 50 years from now he’ll be regarded as an important historical figure; someone who took a huge risk – and sacrificed everything – so that the rest of us could know what the hell is really going on.
I could relate to the scene where the protagonist is multi-tasking too much with technology at the expense of the people in the room with them. How do you avoid that happening in your own life?
I’m actually pretty good about that. I’ve never used technology just because it’s new and cool. I can admire it, and want to learn more, but I’m not an automatic adopter. I also think it’s important to be doing the things that are important to you, not that are important to others. For instance, if I’m on the road, I don’t answer emails on my phone just because they came in. My fingers are too big for that kind of nonsense. If something’s critically important, maybe. But for the most part, I decide what’s important to get done right now, and I only concentrate on that. Just ignore everything else.
What was it like shooting a movie in Google Glass? What did the experience teach you?
It was a pain in the ass. We tried to monitor the shooting in real time through an iPhone, but doing so was too clumsy. So we ended up shooting a scene with no idea what we were really getting. Then we had to wait to download the file and check it on the computer. If there was a problem, you had to start over. It took forever.
What’s next for your filmmaking?
We’re going to shoot another short this summer. This one is more serious. No more Google Glass fun and games.
CIO — For decades, the American Dream was the Silicon Valley dream: Catch on with a startup, ride its entrepreneurial energy, and strike it rich when the company goes public or gets bought for billions of dollars.
But this dream was shattered at the turn of the millennium when the dot-com bust left hard-working dreamers jobless and holding stacks of worthless stock options.
But the good times just might be coming ’round.
“Looking at the successful IPOs and launches of companies in the Bay Area, it has kind of rekindled that entrepreneurial spirit,” says David Knapp, metro market manager at staffing firm Robert Half Technology in San Francisco. “It’s got people excited again.”
Knapp won’t name companies specifically, but we will. The biggest tech news in recent years to light up Silicon Valley has been Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp for $19 billion. WhatsApp is a five-year-old company based in Mountain View, Calif., posting $20 million in annual revenues. Thanks to the sale, its co-founders have been made super rich overnight.
Last year, the public markets for tech companies took off. Twitter was the highest profile IPO raising $1.82 billion, but there was an assortment of lesser-known companies that went public, too, such as Relypsa, Marketo and Fireye.
All tallied, 2013 saw more companies going public and more money raised than in any year since the dot-com bust, writes Cromwell Schubarth at Silicon Valley Business Journal.
[Related: Top 10 Silicon Valley Tech Job Trends]
The jobs are back, too.
“The market right now is kind of feeling like the dot-com days,” Knapp says. “There’s a war for talent.”
Companies are wooing tech talent with sign-on bonuses and crazy work perks again, which pretty much disappeared after the dot-com bust. Salaries are rising across the board, as shown in the 2014 Tech Salary Guide. Despite some tech companies putting the breaks on flexible work schedules and telecommuting, most notably Yahoo and Cisco, the majority of Silicon Valley companies use them in hopes of retaining talent.
Demand is up for network engineers, software engineers and Web developers. Tech workers with “sweet spot” skills such as .Net, Java J2EE, PHP, Sharepoint and mobile are getting multiple offers, Knapp says. Everyone from tech giants to startups, healthcare to finance are in hiring mode.
Startups, in particular, have had a hard time convincing top talent to come on board, because they simply couldn’t compete on salary with the likes of Google and Facebook. Recently, a Silicon Valley startup tried to woo a Google programmer away by offering a $500,000 salary, but the programmer said he was making $3 million annually in cash and restricted stock units.
What do startups have to do?
They have to get creative, Knapp says. They can offer an easier commute, flexible schedules, work-life balance, an entrepreneurial culture, higher roles, an inspiring mission and, yes, the potential for a big payoff. With the recent rash of startup successes, a windfall sounds more realistic, and recruiting is a little easier.
“It’s like anything else, you’re selling the dream,” Knapp says.
Tom Kaneshige covers Apple, BYOD and Consumerization of IT for CIO.com. Follow Tom on Twitter @kaneshige. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline,Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn. Email Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org