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Tuma Basa is officially in as director of urban music at YouTube

YouTube has hired Tuma Basa as its new director of urban music, confirming the move that had been circulating on the gossip mills for a few months. Basa was previously the top hip-hop curator at Spotify, where he built the Rap Caviar playlist into a must-listen destination for fans of the genre. At YouTube, he’ll be using his expertise and industry connections to build the company’s engagement with hip-hop artists and listeners. Basa’s position could also mean that rap sees a strong showing in the recently launched YouTube Music Premium.

“Tuma brings a deep knowledge of the music industry with many years of experience at BET, MTV, REVOLT and most recently, Spotify,” said Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s global head of music, in a statement. “His experience will be invaluable to the music journey we are on at YouTube, connecting artists and fans across the globe, and I am thrilled to welcome his voice to our collective efforts.”

Hip-hop is a hot space for most streaming services, and Basa’s move isn’t the first case of high-profile swapping employers. Earlier this spring, Carl Chery left his role curating hip-hop and R&B at Apple Music in favor of Spotify. And both of those platforms are still looking to build out their teams.

Spotify has a job listing for a Senior Editor, Hip-Hop that would work on the service’s curation, programming, and playlists within the genre. Apple Music is recruiting for a position in Hip-Hop/R&B Artist Relations. This gig seems to lean more on industry connections and building ties.

Anna Washenko

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