In late 2017 the music magazine Billboard released its list of Women in Music 2017: Most Powerful Executive in Music. On the list was Desiree “Des Perez” of Roc Nation. The accolade has been a long time coming for the COO of Roc Nation, who has silently been one of the most influential women in the entertainment industry for a decade or more.
Des has been in her current role at Jay-Z’s entertainment conglomerate since 2009, having ran his previous venture, SC Enterprises, for nearly a decade prior to that. Perez, who is married to fellow Roc Nation Executive Juan Perez, has been a long-time friend and advisor to Jay-Z since her years as a New York City night club and venue manager in the 1990s. She has always shunned the spotlight, preferred to work quietly behind the scenes. She has been a successful producer as well and was even nominated for a 2015 Primetime Emmy Award for her successful production of Jay-Z and Beyoncé Knowles’ “On the Run” Tour.
Des Perez has been known to those in the industry as a savvy businesswoman and her ability in the negotiation room is bar none. She has been a part of a wide range of negotiations for Roc Nation, including being the driving force behind the 10-year $250 million contract between baseball star Robinson Cano and the MLB’s Seattle Mariners. She was also the lead negotiator that helped secure deals with Samsung for Rihanna as well as Beyoncé’s Formation Stadium.
Perez was named as COO of Roc Nation’s new music streaming service, Tidal, in late 2016. In January of 2017 she negotiated a deal with Sprint for $200 million that gave the communications giant a one-third stake in the company. The move was vital to Tidal’s success and gave the service exclusive access to around 45 million Sprint cellular customers.