Music veterans Russell Simmons and Steve Rifkind are partnering with the world's leading
smartphone manufacturer to help develop new artists. ADD52, the A&R platform of Simmons,
Rifkind and film director/producer Brian Robbins' All Def Music, has partnered with Samsung
to release a single a week through Milk Music, the digital music service available on the
company's Galaxy mobile devices.ADD52 is a platform for finding and developing artists.
The "52" in the title refers to the 52 singles that will be released — one per week, over the
course of a year. The singles are culled from thousands of artist submissions at ADD52.com.
Popular tracks separate themselves from the others based on the number of streams, likes
and shares. A select few singles will results in a deal with Universal Music Group. ADD52
can sign its artists to contracts with any label in the Universal family. Rifkind says they hope
three singles will turn into superstars and five will be "really great talent." ADD52 can help
locate studio talent, too.
Although Samsung doesn't have Apple's reputation as a music-focused company, it has
made some inroads. Last year it gave away 1 million copies of Jay Z's album “Magna Carta...
Holy Grail” album. In March, Samsung launched Milk Music, an ad-free radio service powered
by Slacker. The founders' power and credibility sets ADD52 apart from its predecessors.
Simmons, co-founder of Def Jam Records, and Rifkind, founder of Loud Records and
SRC Records, are experienced executives that can easily attract undiscovered talent.
Robbins is the director of the movies "Hardball" and "Varsity Blues" and co-founder of
AwesomenessTV, a platform for budding YouTube stars. This isn't a group of technology
experts that wanted to get into the music business.
Rifkind claims Milk Music is a good conduit for ADD52's unknown talent. "The research
we're getting back is people who are coming to the station aren't necessarily wanting to
hear Drake and all the hot records. They're there to hear the new records that nobody has
ever heard before,” he says. Both Simmons and Rifkind say ADD52 is simply a continuation
of the work they've been doing for decades. They're in the business of finding good music
and building brands. In fact, Rifkind says he had wanted to create something like ADD52
for years. Nevertheless, popular artists at ADD52 tend to already have some momentum.
Simmons has seen this throughout his career. "We didn't discover Jay Z. Jay Z had been
working and available to be discovered. Def Jam found him the way Polygram found Kurtis
Blow." And what happens after the 52nd single is released? Simmons couldn't speak
about Samsung's involvement beyond week 52, but says All Def Digital will continue
putting out music by "undiscovered artists.”