Published on October 22nd, 2018 | by Guest Contributor


Meet Create Music Group Co-Founder and Restaurateur, Wayne Hampton

Los Angeles-based entertainment executive, Wayne Hampton, Co-founder and Chief Business Development Officer of Create Music Group, a leading rights management, publishing and distribution company was recently named on the exclusive, Billboard R&B/Hip Hop Power 2018 list. The 2nd annual tally by Billboard Magazine recognizes the top 100 most influential individuals in the R&B and Hip Hop music industries.

Hampton has worked with heavy hitters in the music entertainment industry for over a decade. Now a veteran R&B/hip-hop executive and manager, previous engagements include work with HitCo Music Publishing/Island Def Jam Music Group, Universal Music Group, Warner Brothers/WEA Distribution and SONY BMG Distribution. His artist roster has included worldwide talent such as: Famous Dex, Young Chop, Lil Reese, Lil Durk, Chief Keef, and Sean Garrett. For these artists, he has acted as manager, adviser and consultant. Hampton has also secured and managed numerous sold out tours, procured contracts, brokered cross-promotional opportunities with national and international brands, managed the production and licensing of independently released singles and created production budgets.

Wayne holds another important professional title in Los Angeles. He is the franchise owner of Harold’s Chicken – the first LA location & CEO of Harold’s Chicken West Coast. Harold’s Chicken is a 70-year-old franchise with a chain of over 20+ fried chicken restaurants located primarily in Chicago, Illinois. Harold’s has been a notable part of Chicago’s South Side culture where he grew up and is known worldwide for its uniquely prepared chicken.

The Hype Magazine caught up with Wayne for a brief Q&A session:

Wayne Hampton

Wayne Hampton

What does being named on the Billboard R&B Hip Hop 100 List mean to you?

Being included in the Billboard R&B Hip Hop 100 list is a huge recognition for myself and my peers. The hard work we have put in the industry has now been honored and personally, that is 15 years! It is really a great honor, especially because there are people on the list I have looked up to throughout my career and I am thrilled to be named with them.

Why is a list like this important?

In the music industry, Billboard has always been viewed as elite in its class. It’s subscription-based and highly regarded among entertainment and music executives. It garners a different type of status in general.

You work a lot in the digital realm, give your decades of experience, how should today’s artists view online revenue in the music industry?

From my perspective, consistency is key. The more content you put out, the more engagement you will get, and as a result, the more revenue you will make. My advice is: don’t stop making content! For example, if your first video doesn’t do what you thought, keep going. It might not be until your 10th record where you make your mark, but if you have content online—videos, songs, photos, posts—your fans will mostly likely go through everything and look at the history of your work. Be consistent in what and how you release content and don’t give up as an artist!

What have been some of your greatest successes?

I have been a driving force in helping Create Music Group (CMG) evolve into a company that is now worth $100 million dollars—this is on the top of my list. We started CMG in 2015 and have done what many said we couldn’t do. Another aspect I consider a success in my life is being a father and watching my son grow up. Lastly, creating the first Harold’s Chicken West Coast location in Hollywood, CA! (Check Harold’s WC web site for the opening date. link)

What advice do you have for people wanting to do what you do?

Being an entrepreneur is a full-time job. You may have to work more hours, but you can’t ever give up. For many, you will need to work 9-5 job at the same time you are going after your dream. Also, focus on being a great multi-tasker. You won’t be punching your own clock at the beginning, so, again, it’s all about consistency. Really focus on having that mentality now from the very beginning.

How is the industry different today than when you started?

Today’s music world exists in a digital space. First, we saw the transition from people marketing their music by handing you a CD. Now, it’s a card with a QR code or link to stream or Itunes link. So, one of the greatest changes we have seen is how we share this new music. It’s tough to say where we are going exactly. I do think the bigger music marketing engines will continue to strategize even more ways to facilitate licensing. For example, they will make it more convenient for people to access music through Instagram and Facebook and as a result, additional interactive components that generate revenue will evolve. With that happening, you’ll see a CMS on Instagram and Twitter—and all of those twists and turns will eventually be monetized. In this way, consumers are getting exactly what they want and creators are earning revenue. I envision a even more fluid way to exchange music digitally, whether it’s sending records or singles.

How is working in LA as an entertainment executive different than being in NY or Chicago or other cities?

I’ve been in LA for six years, but I’m a Chicago native. Los Angeles is a very forward-thinking place and people want to live and work more cohesively. I do find that they are more revenue driven. I find that in general, there is a lot more networking, collaboration, and diversity in general.

Who are some of your favorite artists?

Tupac, Future & and I’m listening to a lot of G6 right now.

You have a big sneaker collection, I hear. What’s your favorite pair?

I’m always purchasing sneakers. I deal with a lot of different store owners and brands. Most of the sneakers I like/buy, people say they are for the hype beasts, but I just like exclusives. Mostly quick strikes meaning limited size runs. I purchase a lot of foreign shoes and quick strike Adidas and Nikes. My favorites are currently the Just Don Jordan 2’s – royal blue colorway. I’m from Chicago, so anything I can do to support anybody who has a brand or movement I do! That’s definitely one of my hobbies though – collecting shoes. Buying things that are exclusive and hard to get.

You are also the franchise owner for the first Harold’s Chicken West Coast, to open in Hollywood, CA very soon. Can you talk about why you decided to venture into the restaurant industry?

Growing up, Harold’s was always part of my lifestyle, after a game, concert or just a hungry for a great meal, this is one of the places to go. It’s a staple brand in the Midwest in general. As it’s the first West Coast location, it was on my bucket list of things to do.

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