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Platoon is co-launching a lo-fi label called Arden Records

The rise of lo-fi hip-hop has been headed by YouTube channels like ChillHop Music and ChilledCow (recently rebranded as Lofi Girl). It’s interesting to see other players getting involved though, including Apple’s artist development subsidiary Platoon.

It’s a partner in the launch of Arden Records, a new label focusing on lo-fi music co-founded by Nepali artist and producer Sagun; Jordan Smith of S+ Mgmt, and Andrew Kwan of Romantic Music Group.

Its first release is an EP by Sagun, also called ‘Arden’.

“In the beginning of my career, I didn’t have a team and lacked music industry knowledge, but through starting Arden Records, I want to help artists achieve their goals by offering my guidance and providing the proper resources I never knew I needed,” he said.

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Denzyl Feigelson and Troy Carter talk artists, labels and music industry evolution

Q&A and Platoon are two of the most interesting new artist-focused music companies to emerge in recent years, and we had their founders Troy Carter and Denzyl Feigelson in conversation at Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit Global conference today, interviewed by Music Ally CEO Paul Brindley.

From working with top artists at early stages of their careers (a 14 year-old Billie Eilish for Platoon; Lady Gaga for Carter in his initial management days) to experience within the biggest music-tech companies (Platoon is now owned by Apple; Carter headed up Spotify’s creator services division) and a firm focus on artist development in the digital era, they had plenty of knowledge to impart.

In fact, their first connection was when Feigelson was involved in Apple’s iTunes Festival in London and Carter was managing Lady Gaga, and they bonded over what Carter described as “that appreciation for artists and an appreciation for ideas and creativity and quality”.

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Platoon explains how it’s working with artists in Africa

If and when Spotify launches in Africa, it won’t just find Apple Music waiting for it with (metaphorical) teeth bared. Apple’s Platoon artist-development subsidiary has also been working hard to forge relationships with artists in several African countries.

CEO Denzyl Feigelson has been talking to Billboard about the strategy, which has seen Platoon “offering advances, distribution and support to 88 African musicians — and quietly becoming a major player amid an industry wide shift toward establishing a larger footprint on the continent”.

Feigelson sees Platoon’s work as about creating self-sufficiency for artists in the region. “I want artists to be able to manage their music on our platform; get services like health care, legal and accounting; learn about publishing, touring, how you market; and conquer things like YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, Twitch,” he said.

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Platoon outlines strategy for Spotify playlist success

You don’t need us to tell you that getting a track on to a big Spotify playlist is far from an exact science.

Still, Lucie Watson from London music-marketing startup Platoon has been blogging about her experience, with some tips that should prove useful for independent labels and management companies.

“Having analysed a few New Music Friday playlists, it seems that <5 tracks will be from brand new artists,” she claims.