Ari Elkins is TikTok’s musical tastemaker. He’s launching his own record label.

By 01/19/2023
Ari Elkins is TikTok’s musical tastemaker. He’s launching his own record label.
Photo credit: Bryce Glenn

Ari Elkins is taking his music curation skills to the next level. The TikTok star, who recommends songs to his 1.9 million followers, is teaming up with Avex USA to launch a label called Blue Suede Records.

Blue Suede will look to “find, develop, and champion undiscovered talent,” according to a press release. Elkins, who is known for his keen ear, will lead the hunt for those up-and-coming artists. Avex USA, the American arm of the Japan-based Avex Group, will handle the logistical side of Blue Suede’s operations.

Avex USA has experience running a label thanks to its status as the overseer of Selene, a brand founded in 2021 and led by Lucas Thomashow (pictured above, left). Like Elkins, some Selene signees — such as Sadie Jean and Billianne — have significant followings on TikTok.


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Elkins is known for releasing videos that offer themed music recommendations. If you’re in the mood for relatable lyrics, holiday playlists, and plain-old top-five lists, Ari’s account is the place to go. After breaking out through his vertical videos, Elkins has expanded his reach with several off-TikTok initiatives, including a Spotify podcast and a gig alongside Simon Cowell on the program Stem Drop.

“I’m so excited to take my love for finding new artists and sharing them with the world to the next level with Avex and the launch of Blue Suede,” Elkins said in a statement. “What we are building is a unique opportunity for emerging artists to get best-in-class traditional label services but also truly tangible and contemporary marketing power. I’ve been following Avex and Selene’s work since inception and have always admired their swift mobility and unconventional approach to the music industry, which in 2023 is so crucial.”

Blue Suede Records takes its name from a couch that often appears in Elkins’ TikTok videos. The 22-year-old California native is not the first creator to dip his toes into the recording industry. A notable example of that phenomenon is Heard Well, a label co-launched by YouTube star Connor Franta in 2015.

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