How did Jimmy Buffett create an entire empire starting from a song?


I’m just finding about this billionaire man and his restaurant chains and what not right now(I’m an Asian, never been to the US) from a Ted Nivision YouTube vid where he travelled all of Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurants. All of them looked pretty flamboyant to say the least and the establishments looked like the company executives were aching to spend as much money as possible. How did one make such a huge empire/conglomerate starting out from a song and then a restaurant, resorts, and moreeeeee

In: 31

He was a touring artist for 50 years, and during the 70s and 80s was massive. Having been in music for so long, he earned a ton off of residuals (every time his songs were played on the radio, that was money in his pocket), and he built a brand identity (as you’ve seen off the Ted Nivison video) and a celebrity image. From there, he was able to use that brand to make him more money. The restaurants are a good example. They’re just like any bar restaurant, but with his specific island living brand, and that was enough of a USP to find success. He applied that to a fast food restaurant (which went under), casinos and even real estate. He also diversified into a few of his own record labels, sports teams, other ventures that may not have been as successful. Real estate is likely the biggest thing too. He owns a $1bn retirement village in Daytona Beach, Florida. Property is one of those things that the earlier you buy it, the more you can see it appreciate in value.

Also he was doing that for a long time, for a target audience probably a generation (or two) above yours. Most importantly, he’s had the time to grow that sort of business.

Back in the 80’s he would make the circuit every year. He was always a nice guy and came off as genuine. He also had a bar in Key West. His heroes are Twain and Hemingway and it shows in his music.

He’s admitted that he’s actually not a good guitar player either, but he’s likable, wrote some catchy tunes that most folks in their 50s through 70s know by heart and toured his ass off back in the day. Good for him. Incidentally I think one of his greatest hits albums was called “Songs You Know By Heart”.

His music was fairly ‘hip’ back in the 70’s/80’s too. Titling an album *’A White Sports Coat and a Pink Crustacean’* was pretty innovative in the days when most everything else was ‘sex, drugs, and rock & roll’.. Although there is one cut on there called ‘Why Don’t We Get Drunk and Screw’, which was hilarious as well as ‘catchy’.

Licensing . . . Buffett was able to leverage a successful career built on easy listening rock music, into the idea of a lifestyle, and that attracted a LOT of business partners looking to trade on that imagery/brand in order to separate boomers from their cash.


Throw in that Buffett is a VERY likeable guy personally, and it is a winning formula (for the most part. There have been some failures).