Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group, is an English billionaire entrepreneur and business tycoon well known around the world as a successful businessman at the helm of world-famous Virgin Group with a business interest in fields such as telecom, airlines, music, and hospitality.
Born on 18th July 1950, Richard Branson is the son of a barrister and flight attendant. He struggled with dyslexia in school and dropped out of school at the age of 16 to start a youth culture magazine called Student, where he interviews famous people. The first 50,000 copies were distributed for free, but still, he covered the cost of the magazine through $ 8000 worth of advertising which he got for the first edition.
Richard also started to sell music records through his magazine at a much-discounted price, helping in an overnight success. In 1971 Branson opened his first record shop, but because he is labeling records as export stocks, he has to pay heavy fines and unpaid taxes. At that time, Branson`s mother had to mortgage her house to help his son pay the settlement cost with the government authorities.
After earning enough money from his Virgin Record Store, in 1972, Branson launched his record label Virgin Records. Mike Oldfield was the first artist signed by Virgin Records Label. His song Tubular Bells is a big hit, staying on the UK charts for 247 weeks after this, Branson signed some controversial and aspiring music bands like Sex Pistols which other companies are reluctant to sign.
In the coming years, Virgin Records will sign other famous artists such as Rolling Stones, Culture Club, UB40, Genesis, Peter Gabriel, and Paula Abdul to become the world`s largest independent record label and one of the top six record companies in the world.
Selling of Virgin Records
Richard Branson is not always successful; in 1992, Virgin struggled to stay financially afloat and keep his airlines going on; he was under pressure to sell his record company. He suffered major financial failure and loss in the airline business. Richard Branson sold his music label to EMI for 500 million pounds to overcome his losses. Branson says that he was completely distraught and crying after the contract was signed in his biography.
The record business was his first foray into the business world and was the start of the Virgin business empire, but he remained determined to stay in the music business. He started Virgin Radio in 1993, and in 1996 he started his second record company V2 to re-enter the music business.
After a few initial struggles, Virgin Airlines become successful. Today, Virgin Group has a business interest in 35 counties worldwide, including England, Europe, America, Australia, Canada, Asia, and South Africa. Seventy thousand employees are working in Virgin Group.
Branson has expanded his business interest in Train Company, luxury game preserve, mobile company, and a space tourism company. Today, Richard Branson`s Virgin brand is synonymous with value and customer service, making Branson one of the richest people on earth.
He was knighted in 1999 for his remarkable contribution to entrepreneurship. For his work in retail, music, space travel, adventure, and humanitarian work, Richard Branson has become a prominent global figure. As of February 2022, Branson’s estimated net worth at US$ 5.3 billion.
On 11 July 2021, Branson traveled as a passenger on Virgin Galactic Unity 22 at the edge of space, a suborbital test flight for his spaceflight company Virgin Galactic. This mission lasted for approximately one hour while reaching a peak altitude of 53.5 miles. At 71, Richard Branson becomes the third oldest person to fly to space.
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