Carl Chery, Apple Music’s head of artist curation with a specific focus on hip-hop and R&B, is in talks to join Spotify, sources tell Billboard, though the deal has not been finalized, they cautioned. A rep for Spotify declined to comment; an Apple Music spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
If it goes through, Chery’s move would presumably fill a vacancy at Spotify left by Tuma Basa, who left a role as global programming head of hip-hop and curator of the widly popular RapCaviar playlist last month to join YouTube. Basa had been with Spotify for three years, while the RapCaviar playlist grew to nearly 9 million followers and expanded into live events.
At Apple Music, Chery built his own following behind the the A-List: Hip-Hop and A-List: R&B playlists and last year was included in Billboard’s first-ever Hip-Hop Power List. When In late 2016, when Chery took on the role of heading artist curation, he launched a segment on Zane Lowe‘s Beats 1 radio show called “The Cosign” where the former hip-hop journalist who has written for SOHH.com, XXL and BET premiered new tracks by up-and-coming talent.
Chery had been with Apple since the company’s 2014 acquisition of Beats, serving as the head of hip-hop/R&B programming for iTunes and Apple Music, and helped spearhead partnerships with artists including Bryson Tiller on his album TRAPSOUL, which arrived early as an Apple Music-exclusive release in 2015, and two albums involving Chance the Rapper — 2015’s Surf alongside Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment as the first-ever free album on iTunes and then 2016’s Coloring Book. He also helped break new acts such as Cardi B, Post Malone, Khalid, Daniel Caesar, 6LACK and H.E.R.