J. Cole and Royalty Exchange co-founder are among Forbes’ “30 Under 30”

Posted by David Menconi on January 7, 2014 

Wilson Owens, co-founder of Raleigh-based Royalty Exchange, is on Forbes magazine’s “30 Under 30” list of rising young music-business stars.


Power-ranking lists don’t necessarily mean anything, but they can be fun - especially when they have some local content. Consider Forbes magazine’s “30 Under 30: Music’s Brightest Stars,” a business-focused list topped by Bruno Mars that also features Avicii, Miley Cyrus, Drake, Lorde and Justin Bieber (apparently, Forbes didn’t catch his Christmas day “retirement announcement”). Forbes’ list also includes a couple of folks with North Carolina ties.

Coming in right behind Bieber at a lofty No. 4 is J. Cole, a 28-year-old rapper who spent his formative pre-fame years in Fayetteville. Forbes cites the performance of Cole’s latest album “Born Sinner,” which debuted at No. 2 on the charts, as well as the six-figures-per-night he makes on the road. Cole also has a Grammy nomination in the category of rap/sung collaboration, which he shares with the singer Miguel ( No. 16 on the Forbes list).

A handful of behind-the-scenes business types also makes Forbes’ list, including 28-year-old Wilson Owens at No. 19, right behind One Direction.. Owens is co-founder of Raleigh-based Royalty Exchange, a company that auctions off copyright revenue streams. Forbes’ spiel about him goes like this:

Since its launch last year, Wilson’s Royalty Exchange has auctioned over $1 million worth of copyrights, including songs performed by Whitney Houston, Travis Tritt and Snoop Dogg. The idea seems to be catching on: Royalty Exchange raised a $2.1 million Series A in July.

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