Back in January, rap mogul and Def Jam Recordings founder Russell Simmons announced his plan to create All Def Digital, a YouTube channel partnered with Brian Robbins of AwesomenessTV. Simmons’ online video home has recently begun spotlighting unheralded musicians, animators, and hackeysack players, but it will soon become much more. All Def Digital is partnering with Universal Music Group to launch All Def Music, a multi-channel network focused on discovering YouTube talent.
All Def Music will focus on finding musicians on YouTube who deserve a larger audience. What makes it distinct from other multi-channel networks is its alliance with a major label. While VEVO also boasts similar connections, it does not scour the depths of the YouTube the way All Def Music supposedly will. I expect All Def Music artists to have similar profiles to the little-known musicians who have thus far been featured on All Def Digital.
“When I looked at this, I saw a big, giant white space,” said Simmons. “There’s a lot happening online that’s not being managed properly. These artists are in separate worlds, and not everything bubbles up to the top. That’s my job.”
Of course, for his job to go smoothly, Simmons will have to reconcile his own personal goals with the perception of the music industry on YouTube, where it is often seen as overly corporate. It will be Simmons, not Universal, who attracts young, unsung musicians, and their development will depend on how much the network’s fans enjoy their creations. The connection to the mainstream industry is just icing on the cake.