From a record label (Roc-A-Fella) to liquor (Armadale Vodka), from fashion (Rocawear) to publishing (America magazine), Damon Dash is known for doing things his way. And consumer electronics is next on the list.
The first products from Dash's new Roc Digital company will be two versions of the Rocbox, portable audio players that will hit stores in two formats — 20GB and 256MB — in mid-November.
"I'm an entrepreneur by nature," Dash said. "I saw the opportunity and thought it would be a fun and innovative way to sell music."
For Roc Digital president Shae Hong, the Rocbox brings something unique to the growing format.
"We saw a real opportunity to take our urban strategy into the electronics market," said Hong. "The digital music market has taken such a major role in pop culture in the last few years, but there was no one speaking to the urban consumer. We are doing that."
While its sleek, fingerprint-resistant chrome casing will help the Rocbox to stand out visually from the competition, what will the player offer consumers that others do not? Exclusive tracks from Roc-A-Fella artists.
"There will be special editions customized for Roc-A-Fella artists — and any other artists that are interested, for that matter," Dash said. "We'll be making more announcements regarding content in November."
With all of Dash's many endeavors, there has been talk of him selling off some of his brands — most notably Roc-A-Fella Records and Rocawear. While Dash would neither confirm nor deny the rumors, he left the door open.
"I'm a businessman by nature, so the point of business is to build equity," he said. "If it makes financial sense, I'm open to hearing [about] opportunities, but I will always run Roc-A-Fella."