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Hot! Audio Russell Simmons & Steve Rifkind’s New Label

Hip hop moguls Steve Rifkind, Russell Simmons and film and television producer Brian Robbins have teamed up to launch a new label, All Def Music, via a deal with Universal Music Group. The trio will be developing talent for the label via online platforms like YouTube.

“How [Russell] built Def Jam and how I built Loud was through the streets and through grass-roots marketing,” said Rifkind 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,” added Rifkind. “I haven’t been this excited [in years].”

Universal Chairman and Chief Executive Lucian Grainge said in statement that the launch of All Def Music is part of the label’s strategy to work with experienced entrepreneurs in media and technology to find and develop promising talent, and take advantage of the Internet as a new outlet for music.

The partnership returns Simmons to Universal, which acquired his Def Jam in 1999. Grainge also struck deals earlier this year that brought rapper Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, and his Roc Nation label, back to Universal.

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