Exclusive: Alex da Kid Re-Ups His Label With Universal Music Group
In the five years since Alex Da Kid launched KidInAKorner in partnership with Interscope Records, the British-born, Grammy-nominated producer (real name: Alexander Grant) has landed nine songs in the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 and five top 10s -- among them "Love the Way You Lie" by Eminem (featuring Rihanna) and Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive," reaching Nos. 1 and 3, respectively.
Universal Music Group has re-upped its pact with the label, whose prior contract with Interscope Records concluded in 2016. The UMG deal expands the 35-year-old's domain to include all UMG labels (Interscope, Def Jam Records, Capitol Music Group, Republic Records and Island among them) with which KidInAKorner can potentially collaborate.
KidInAKorner acts include X Ambassadors and Imagine Dragons (both of whom are also signed to Interscope) as well as Jamie N. Commons and Skylar Grey. It also houses a production company, publishing division and creative agency.
Specific details about the agreement were not disclosed. However, Alex tells Billboard, "This kind of deal probably wouldn't have happened two or three years ago." He's referring to once standard label agreements that have given way to artists and producers seeking ownership stakes as they diversify into publishing, marketing, film, TV and other arenas. "This is a deal that takes vision to execute on both sides," adds the producer.
"Alex's track record of success and innovation makes him the ideal partner," says UMG chairman Lucian Grainge, touting a record group "where innovative entrepreneurs are free to experiment, take thoughtful risks and expand the traditional role of a music company."
In 2016, Alex released his solo artist debut, "Not Easy," featuring X Ambassadors, Wiz Khalifa, Elle King and IBM's cognitive program Watson. The collaboration utilized artificial intelligence to shape the song's heartbreak theme. The track is on Alex's forthcoming four-song EP.
With writers and producers becoming more entrepreneurial, Decible Entertainment owner Larry Wade predicts the industry will see an increase of similar agreements. "Before, you had label executives like Clive Davis and Tommy Mottola bringing their teams together to help an artist become a star," explains Wade. He manages artist/producer Ricky Reed, who launched Nice Life Recording Company via Atlantic Records in 2015.
Adds Wade, "Writers and producers are being watched more now because they can start fires with an artist and supply the creatives, which is helpful for the labels."
This article originally appeared in the Jan. 28 issue of Billboard.