Russell Simmons, along with Loud Records founder and SRC Records CEO Steve Rifkind and television executive Brian Robbins, is launching a new record label called All Def Music. According to reports, All Def will be a unique, YouTube-centered label, using the popular online video site for the promotion and development of artists. Via a partnership with UMG, they will also launch ADD (All Def Digital) management. Rifkind will serve as the CEO of ADM and ADD Management.
“How [Russell] built Def Jam and how I built Loud was through the streets and through grass-roots marketing,” Rifkind said in an interview with the LA Times. “Cut to 20 years later, we’re applying this same formula, this same blueprint, using YouTube as our street team, using YouTube as our A&R source, using YouTube as our branding machine.”
“I wake up at 4:30 or 5 in the morning, ready to work,” he shared. “I haven’t been this excited [in years].”
UMG president Lucian Grainge issued a statement regarding this latest endeavor and the implementing of a new business model.
“The exponential growth of Internet-based video has created a powerful new outlet for music and music-based content, and the launch of All Def Music is a part of our broader strategy to partner with some of the most experienced entrepreneurs in media and technology to identify future stars and develop powerful content on the world’s fastest growing media platform,” Grainge said.
Grainge also wrote a lengthy email to the Universal family, sharing his excitement over working with Simmons again, following his successful stint as founder of Def Jam Recordings.
“It is truly a thrill to be able to welcome Russell back to our family. As one of the founders of Def Jam with Rick Rubin (whose American Recordings is a part of Republic Records), Russell and Rick created an iconic brand that forms part of the foundation of [Universal Music Group] and a label that has had a profound impact on popular culture,” wrote Grainge.
“I can’t say enough about how highly we think of Russell both professionally — his vision and entrepreneurial talents are legendary — and personally. He is a rare treasure,” read the email. “And with Brian’s track record on the content side and Steve’s on the business side, they make a formidable team.”