Russell Simmons on music consumption: “We gotta go make them pay”

Russell SimmonsRussell Simmons recently gave an interview about his All Def Digital venture and about the role of royalties in the current music industry. “All Def Digital, to me, is the place that promotes freedom for artists,” Simmons said. The Def Jam executive’s new platform is a lifestyle network, including a YouTube channel and a website promoting up-and-coming performers. serves as a showcase for new hip-hop and spoken word performers, in addition to other artistic ventures. “It’s a place where people can express themselves in ways that the gatekeepers wouldn’t allow in the past.”

Simmons also emphasized the importance of curation at ADD. “Someone has to mix the creative genius that’s on the Internet with more traditional resources and other talent,” he said.

He also dismissed the old royalty economy as the main source of income for artists, acknowledging that selling records is not the central task for a musician. “Music is still consumed today more than yesterday, still growing in terms of the way people consume it,” he said. “So now that we can’t make royalties off of records we gotta go make them pay, that’s what the music business has to learn to do.”

All Def Digital has been making big hires this year, and also secured Series A financing in August.

Anna Washenko