In 2018, a former publicist and a concert promoter landed a one-of-a-kind deal that allowed them to work with any label within Universal Music Group and still operate independently. Dan Friedman, 33, and Henny Yegezu, 31, first worked together in 2014, when Friedman was handling marketing/PR of GoldLink’s debut mixtape, The God Complex, and Yegezu was promoting the rapper’s live shows. They were also both at a professional crossroads, wanting to trade their current roles for something even bigger. In April 2015, the pair founded EQT (Equative Thinking), a full-service music company that includes management, publishing, recording and distribution.
Friedman started working with super-producer Mike WiLL Made-It in 2011, later helping develop his Ear Drummer Records in 2014. Meanwhile, Yegezu helped GoldLink ink his 2016 deal with RCA Records. They both prefer working with artists in the early stages of their careers, and together have a vision for tailoring services to each artist. “What’s special about the [UMG] deal is that it allows us a lot of autonomy and flexibility within the system to figure out how we want to work with an artist,” says Friedman. “[We can] figure out the right time to partner with one of the frontline labels.”