Big Machine Label Group and Blac Noize! Recordings have formed a partnership to sign and promote hip-hop and R&B acts globally.
The first release from the two independent companies is viral sensation Hitkidd and Glorilla’s summer anthem, “F.N.F. (Let’s Go),” which has already earned millions of views on YouTube.
As a sign of how nimble the two labels plan to act, Blac Noize! closed the deal for “F.N.F.” on May 1 and within 24 hours, BMLG had claimed the original music video, which had gone up two days earlier, and republished the song to streaming services as the official record label.
“To have partners and a distributor that can help us put something up within 24 hours without any question [or] pushback was very important,” says Blac Noize! partner Chioke “Stretch” McCoy. “As far as the majors, we love them to death, but sometimes they’re a little bloated and we plan to be thinner and more efficient.”
Active Management’s McCoy formed Blac Noize! Recordings in 2020 with marketing agency 740 Project’s Jesse “Punch” Edwards, Rahim Wright and Charley Greenberg.
Scooter Braun‘s SB Projects had partnered with 740 Project on marketing initiatives, and brought the company to BMLG founder/president/CEO Scott Borchetta‘s attention.
“We became aware of their desire to get a more formal label opportunity together,” Borchetta says. “Now that we’ve partnered with HYBE America [and] have the ability to expand, this opportunity came at just the right time.”
HYBE bought SB Projects and BMLG in April 2021 as part of the South Korean entertainment conglomerate’s purchase of Braun’s Ithaca Holdings. (Ithaca bought BMLG in 2019).
BMLG invested in Blac Noize! after the latter parted ways with its initial investor, ex-Warner Bros. Records chairman Cameron Strang, six months ago. “We are backing the venture 100%,” says BMLG’s COO Andrew Kautz.
Blac Noize! will handle A&R duties, while BMLG will take care of backend functions, distribution and other infrastructure needs.
Both labels stress they will make deals tailored to each artist. “In 2022, there is no set structure on how things should or shouldn’t be, just more or less what we feel the market needs and what we can provide,” McCoy says. “Being artist friendly means we aren’t going to say we are going to dictate how we want every single deal to go.”
Initial plans call for at least eight releases this year to go through the new partnership, including projects from artists already signed to Blac Noize!, among them Whoppa Wit Da Choppa and Jdot Breezy.
“Not everything will be as immediate as [“F.N.F.”],” McCoy says. “We will find stuff that will have a longer burn, but at the same time, we want to be able to react to things that we feel is so good.”
Both labels say that have the staffing to handle the release slate and will outsource as needed. Blac Noise! already has indie promo teams in place to handle urban and rhythmic releases, Greenberg says.
Expanding their global reach was important for both labels. Big Machine has offices in Toronto and London outside of the U.S., and worldwide distribution through Universal Music Group.
“As we have a global footprint to release music, we really want to make sure we’re putting out music that travels,” Kautz says. “When you look at hip-hop and urban, it definitely has a broad audience. We feel like it will help us grow and expand our brand in conjunction with Blac Noize!”
BMLG launched in 2005 and quickly became a country powerhouse with acts like Taylor Swift, Thomas Rhett and Florida Georgia Line. A rock division, whose roster includes The Struts, Badflower and Starcrawler, followed. Under Borchetta’s entrepreneurial zest, the company has moved into other ventures include Big Machine Distillery and Big Machine Racing.
“The vision we’ve always had for Blac Noise! and we’ve been building toward is to really be able to redefine what an independent hip-hop label can look like and how strong and powerful it can be,” Greenberg says. “What Scott and Andrew and their team have already built independently is really incredible, so it was really a perfect fit.”