Many people are familiar with Toby Keith’s story of overcoming some record executive clowns in his early days. Keith came to Nashville with six-song cassette that included hits like Should’ve Been A Cowboy and Wish I Didn’t Know Now. The executive told Keith he might make it as a singer one day, but would never make it as a songwriter.
We all know the story about Keith’s subsequent success as a singer-songwriter and country music star, but Forbes recently revealed that Toby’s drive extends to other ventures.
It turns out that in the last 20 years Toby Keith has grossed approximately $500 million from his various career ventures. That includes his work as a country superstar writing songs, selling records and selling out arenas and stadiums around the world.
But it also includes Toby’s various business investments including his I Love This Bar & Grill restaurant chain and his own record label Show Dog.
Back in 2005, Toby was able to start the label, which actually began as a co-venture with Big Machine Records. Toby fronted the cash to open the building that both labels shared.
Since then Show Dog has had great success with Toby as the main act, but other signed acts have struggled. The most successful probably being Trace Adkins with a few top 20 hits over the last couple years.
Big Machine went on to have greater success with the biggest being Taylor Swift.
The interesting part? Toby still owns approximately 10% of Big Machine.
“Toby’s a really smart businessman,” says [Scott] Borchetta [Founder of Big Machine], who knows because “I send him checks.” How big are the checks that Swift generates for him? “I know there’s an extra comma,” smiles Keith, “if you added up all the money I’ve ever made.”
It’s been 20 years since Toby Keith released his debut album.
You’d be hard pressed to find anyone disagreeing with his vision today.