#6: The Sale of Priority Records
Bryan Turner and Marc Cerami founded their tiny label, Priority Records, in the mid-’80s on rap compilations and a novelty album of singing California Raisins. But Priority became a true hip-hop player for real when Turner signed Ruthless Records artists’ Eazy-E and N.W.A. “Fuck Tha Police” became a national rallying cry, and Priority the owner of multimillion-selling artists who needed almost no promotion at all. It was a good business plan, to say the least.
Throughout the ’90s, Priority would remain one place to which rap artists and entrepreneurs could turn to distribute their work when the major labels didn’t have the heart or the guts to do so. Ice-T, Dr. Dre, Rap-A-Lot Records, and No Limit, all found a willing partner in Bryan Turner. By the end of the decade, The No Limit-Priority partnership had given Priority a three percent share of the American recorded music market, and one-third of distributor Capitol-EMI’s overall sales. It was a perfect time to cash out. Over the course of two years in the late ’90s, Turner and Cerami pocketed an unprecedented $135 million for their company.