Ryan Leslie is an advocate for helping creatives monetize their passions.
After teaching himself the basics of music production while studying as a freshman at Harvard University, it wasn’t long before Leslie was singing with an a cappella group, The Krokodiloes, and producing music for area acts in Boston, MA.
Not to mention, he started attending the prestigious institution at the tender age of 15.
Leslie later took the music industry by storm yielding hits like “Addiction” and “Diamond Girl” and working with Sean “Diddy” Combs, Beyoncé, and Usher.
Today, his love for music continues, as does his passion for the art of making it, but he is even more keen on the business side of the industry these days.
During a conversation with Will Lucas on “Black Tech Green Money,” Leslie explained why he believes so many artists are opting to sell their catalogs in the midst of the ownership renaissance within the industry.
The Value Of 'Money In Hand'
“When you look at money in hand versus money in the future, there’s a lot more that can be done with money in hand,” Leslie said. “And that’s what’s so important. When you have the ability to navigate financial markets, navigate investments, decide whether you want to make investments in a number of different categories — the way financial markets work is it takes money to make money.”
He continued: “So, to actually decide to say, ‘Okay, maybe I have $200 million at some point in the future, versus the ability to actually put that money to work right now, in my opinion, becomes a no-brainer when you have that much future value that can be unlocked immediately.”
What’s more, Leslie says giving up various rights to music and even considering AI technology may not be such a bad thing overall.
Leave The Scarcity Mindset Behind
“I think to look at it that way is really looking at it from a scarcity mindset,” Leslie told Lucas when asked about potential regrets from giving up art that could be valuable down the line. “It’s almost like when I first got into the music business. There was a record I had thought was gonna be my single, it was called ‘Hot Tonight.’ The single ended up being a single for New Edition, and I just knew at that juncture, being a creative, when you look at just life in general as a creator, you want to be able to create.”
Leslie continued: “So yeah, maybe you have the song that got away. Maybe you have the show idea that got away. Okay? Nine times outta 10, when you decide to put that piece of intellectual property into the hands of a different custodian, hopefully, that custodian has an incentive to actually increase the value of whatever you have delivered to them.”
For more on ownership as a creative and building a life of wealth from your ideas listen to the full “Black Tech Green Money” episode below.