Entrepreneurs

'Pitbull': Making it big was no walk in the park

American rapper Pitbull
Angel Delgado | Clasos.com | LatinContent | Getty Images
American rapper Pitbull

Armando Christian Perez, better known as Pitbull, is a Grammy Award-winning artist who has sold more than 5 million albums and 40 million singles worldwide, with No. 1 hits in more than 15 countries, according to his label, RCA Records. He kicked off the new year on Fox's "Pitbull's New Year's Eve Revolution." He performed at the 2016 Grammys, dancing alongside "Modern Family" actress Sofia Vergara. Where is "Mr. Worldwide" now? He's at the eMerge Americas conference, a two-day technology event in his hometown of Miami.

"I'm here at eMerge because I can relate with entrepreneurs, businessmen, especially being in the music business, because every time we come up with an idea or a new record, people are constantly telling us how it's not going to work, it's not as good as what you had before," Pitbull said Tuesday on CNBC's "Power Lunch."

The singer is no stranger to struggle. "That's what I always come out for, just to let them know that I'm constantly going through the same struggle, same hustle, same fight every day," he said.

Pitbull has experienced firsthand the changing trends in music and how streaming has impacted artists. Although he is in favor of streaming, he thinks it's a gray area that's susceptible to change in the future.

"I'm all about change and modifying, but I'm also all about being fair. It may take another three years, maybe three to five, but there will be a different business model and artists are going to have to get paid out differently," said Pitbull.

He gave a shoutout to fellow musician Jay-Z and congratulated the rapper on his new streaming service, Tidal.

Pitbull takes business matters into his own hands, negotiating deals with major networks like Fox and MTV. A new series will debut on Fox called "305," a sitcom based on life in Miami. His negotiation success is due in part to his large social media presence. Pitbull said with social media he reaches 250 million viewers monthly, totaling 9 billion views. He has 22 million Twitter followers.

"We stepped to Fox, we sat down and said 'Hey, we're a walking network. We bring in more numbers than you do, so we should be partners on this at the end of the day' and that gives us a lot of leverage," said Pitbull.

Tilman J. Fertitta, host of CNBC's "Billion Dollar Buyer", vouched for Pitbull's business finesse. "This guy is a real business guy, really trying to grow something. He's not only an entrepreneur in music, but what he wants to accomplish out there in the business world."

So, how do you become an entrepreneur like Pitbull?

"To have a state of mind of an entrepreneur is to always believe in yourself, have great partners and always find ways to push through. Then, the next thing you know, now you look like a genius. It's a hit record. You've got a great business, but nobody believed in it at first," said Pitbull.

He has some lyrical advice for his fans. "Ask for money, get advice. Ask for advice, get money twice," raps Pitbull in his hit "Feel This Moment." Pitbull stressed the importance of asking for advice and applying it to business decisions.