Apple Music, The NBA, and UnitedMasters have teamed up to create an independent music playlist to discover the best talent. With the power move, Hot 97 radio host Ebro Darden just doubled up on his leverage with the station and his power to make and break careers.
Darden was named Apple Music’s global editorial head of hip-hop and R&B earlier this month. In this newly designated role, Darden manages a team of hip-hop and R&B editors in developing editorial strategies for artists, albums and song releases in the U.S. and globally.
Curated by Darden and his team, the BASE:LINE playlist will be updated every week and will prominently feature a mix of emerging and established independent artists from all over the world, including many from the growing UnitedMasters roster.
Darden, who co-hosts the world-renowned “Ebro In The Morning” show on Hot 97 in NYC, is considered a tastemaker and huge music influencer. His power reach is extended with this venture as he gains more control over independent artists.
Darden already wields substantial power over major mainstream artists with his position at the station. It’s like he has his own minor league system now, where he can hand-select independent artists to break into the mainstream and undoubtedly get paid for it.
Earlier this month, the collaborative premiered BASE:LINE; a new Apple Music independent music playlist committed to searching the earth for the best new hip hop artists.
Throughout the history of the NBA, hip hop has been synonymous with the league’s culture.
The teams, players and fans have embraced the artists and their music, creating a community that aligns both industries.
The Dame D.O.L.L.A. vs. Shaq battle was classic.
Darden is creating a win-win situation for himself and raising his value to the entertainment industry as a whole. In addition, he’s strengthened his grip on both the culture of sports and hip-hop, by pretty much doing what he has done so effectively on the radio — controlling the narrative.
“NBA players come from the same communities that the music does, that is why the artists and the players feel connected. Many artists wanted to make it to the NBA before their life took a turn,” said Darden. “Base:Line is a playlist that gets closer to the community where the artist and the music is beginning.”
In addition to the widespread visibility these artists will receive across Apple Music, the NBA will tap into the “BASE:LINE” playlist to soundtrack NBA highlights, providing these featured artists with unparalleled exposure to billions of fans across NBA Digital platforms, league and team social media, NBA.com, NBA TV and the NBA App.
“This partnership with Apple Music will engage the NBA’s global audience around music that resonates with our players and fans,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “Working together with Apple Music and UnitedMasters, we are excited to provide a massive digital stage for their extensive list of top and emerging artists.”
BASE:LINE is available on Apple Music right now and features artists like Young M.A, Dame D.O.L.L.A, Princess Nokia and many more. LISTEN NOW