Desiree Perez

Jay-Z’s Secret Weapon: Desiree Perez Is One of the Most-Influential Executive Women in Music

Awards, Entertainment, Women in Music

At the end of November, Billboard released a new kind of top 100 list. They call it “Women in Music 2017: The Most Powerful Executives in the Industry.” According to this listing of the top 100 female leaders in the music industry today, Desiree Perez has earned long-overdue recognition as one of the most-influential women in music. She joins the ranks of legendary music executives, presidents of top record labels, promotion managers, heads of marketing departments and the other key women who helped fuel the success of popular music artists for the last two decades.


Among the peers of Desiree Perez are:


  • Chief Operating Officer of Atlantic Records Julie Greenwald, who oversaw record sales from the albums of Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars
  • Executive Vice President of Soundtracks, Film and TV Licensing for RCA Records Karen Lamberton, who positioned top hit singles into blockbuster movies such as placing “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” into the movie “50 Shades Darker”
  • Executive Heads of Atlantic Records Andrea Ganis and Camille Hackney, who produced Ed Sheeran’s “Divide” and the new top woman rapper Cardi B


Billboard’s rankings bring to light just how much more influence women have these days in the management of the music industry as a whole. These women are responsible for helping to produce new records, protecting the rights of their music artists, making contract negotiations and finding the hottest new music talent.


Desiree Perez has one of the best jobs at Roc Nation.

The term “entertainment company” hardly begins to describe what Founder Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter started when he created Roc Nation back in 2008. Jay-Z brought his experience as a famous rapper with sales of at least 50 million albums internationally to the table when he became an entrepreneur. He knew the music industry very well and used his connections as a record producer and songwriter with 14 Grammys under his belt to develop the business further than most could.


Co-founder Jay Brown now serves as the CEO of Roc Nation with 20 years of experience with management in the music industry. He helped discover stars like Ne-Yo, Rihanna and NAS.


Together they brought Perez on board to build a company that’s so much more than a record label. Roc Nation manages songwriters, music artists, producers and sound engineers. Not only do they publish music, but they also handle touring, merchandising, TV and film deals for those who join their label. They also act as an angel-investment firm for music-related new business ventures. Roc Nation has signed on big names like Shakira, Rita Ora, Rihanna, Calvin Harris, J. Cole, Timbaland, NO ID, Wale and Santigold.


Jay-Z further expanded Roc Nation in 2013 to create a sports-management subdivision too. They partnered with CAA Sports to benefit athletes with the same business model they’ve used to help music artists succeed. They help land endorsement deals, community-outreach projects and many other marketing opportunities for athletes to help them develop their long-term brand strategy. Roc Nation Sports supports athletes in the fields of football, basketball, baseball and boxing. Roc Nation works with top athletic talent like Victor Cruz, Robinson Cano, Kevin Durant, Victor Cruz, Skylar Diggins and Geno Smith.


What does Desiree Perez do?

“Des Perez” is the Chief Operating Officer for the full-service entertainment company and record label Roc Nation. She’s been with the company since 2009, just one year after Roc Nation began. It made sense for her to step up into this role because, according to, “Des has been helping Jay-Z expand his enterprise for the last 22 years.” She assisted him in other past ventures like SC Enterprises as well.


Perez also enjoys producing tours like the “On the Run Tour: Beyonce and Jay Z” in 2014 and documentaries like “Change: The LifeParticle Effect” in 2013.


At Roc Nation, she’s a management cornerstone for the company, overseeing publishing and labeling activities. She runs day-to-day operations, builds long-term marketing and promotion strategies for the music artists she represents, coordinates music tours and directs overall support for the company. Perez works directly with Roc Nation’s Founder Jay-Z and CEO Jay Brown to build campaigns for their new releases.


One of her strongest suits is perhaps her negotiation expertise. Perez helped get Samsung to promote Rihanna’s “Anti” tour for a total of $25 million. She also headed the negotiations that won Roc Nation a $200 million investment from Sprint for Tidal, Jay-Z’s new music-streaming platform.


Tidal will become a special offering to Sprint’s 45 million customers in the recent deal, and the platform has gained traction because it offers truly lossless audio streams at 1.4 Mbps for the highest-quality sound possible, along with high-definition music videos and exclusive content to subscribers. To date, Tidal is the only online music-streaming source to offer lossless audio. For diehard audiophiles and those who love listening to music on high-quality headphones, the difference in sound quality is well-worth the minimal subscription fees.


Just five months after the Sprint deal, Perez helped leverage their relationship with Sprint to offer Jay-Z’s hit album “4:44” as a free download for a million people. That move led to the album going platinum before its official release.


Then Perez aided in Live Nation signing a $200 million touring-partnership deal with Jay-Z. Thanks to her meetings with Universal Music’s Sir Lucian Grainge, they closed the deal to extend for the following 10 years. To top it off, she got Puma to sponsor his “4:44” tour, which is generating 21 percent more profits than his earlier tours.


Des Perez also holds a seat in the Hova Circle of Influence, a collective of investors and other authoritative individuals influencing the music and entertainment industries. Also working with her in the Hova Circle of Influence are her husband, Roc Nation’s CEO Jay Brown, TyTy Smith and Jana Fleischman.


Despite all of her achievements and everything she has done for her Roc Nation family, Perez prefers to remain out of the spotlight and maintain a quiet life. She lives with her husband “OG” Juan Perez, who assists in running Roc Nation Sports.

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