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.