April 12, 2013

Island Def Jam Resurrects 4th & B¹way as Dance Label, Signs Cazzette as Its First Act!

Cazzette, the Swedish electronic music group that four months ago released its debut album Eject on Spotify, has landed a joint contract with Universal Music Group’s Island Def Jam label and PRMD, a newly created electronic music label based in Cazzette’s home country of Sweden.

Seeing potential in the sales of electronic music that can cross over into other genres, Island is reviving its storied 4th & B’way Records brand as a home for dance-inspired music -- starting with Cazzette. Originally established in 1984, 4th & B'way was as a label for hip hop artists such as MARRS, Eric B and Rakim before it was shuttered in 1998.

While sales of recorded electronic dance music have been nascent, Universal believes that can grow as the genre evolves and blends with more mainstream genres, Island Records President David Massey tells Billboard.

"Only now are you starting to see EDM producers working with songwriters to create music," Massey said. "This is an evolution from EDM. And from the Billboard charts, the attendance at festivals such as Ultra and the streams on Spotify, we know there’s genuine demand for this. Cazzette is among those artists with a great body of work that’s very musical."

Cazzette, made up of Sebastian Furrer and Alexander Bjorklund, released its debut album, Eject over a three month period beginning in November. The two decided from the get-go not to sell tracks from the album. Instead, they focused first on building an audience.

Along the way, the duo benefitted from a massive marketing push by Spotify, which wanted to prove it could break new artists. Cazzette had been relatively obscure when it began talking with Spotify, putting on mid-sized club shows but not selling any original music. The group’s unusual partnership with Spotify is discussed in more detail in this week’s issue of Billboard.

Island is releasing multiple tracks from Cazzette’s Eject album through a licensing partnership with PRMD, beginning with the signature track, "Beam Me Up," which start selling on iTunes within the next few days, Massey said. The track debuted at No. 20 on Billboard’s On-Demand chart on March 23.

Island chose to lead off its campaign with that single because of its pop music sensibility.

"The plan is to break that single to a wider audience and on a global scale," he said. "We’re getting the opportunity to take Cazzette to a whole new level and a much wider audience -- not just EDM, but pop as well."

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