Music Week can exclusively reveal that Island Records has launched a new urban division, aimed at serving both UK and international urban artists.
Believed to be the first dedicated urban division at a UK major label, the department will be headed up by Alex Boateng, currently Island’s A&R and marketing manager.
While Boateng will continue in his A&R role under head of A&R Louis Bloom, he will now be tasked with identifying urban artists and partnering with managers and businesses across the “urban scene and culture worldwide”.
Artists that will fall under the Island urban division umbrella include Drake, Sean Paul, Dizzee Rascal, Donae’o, Solo 45, Bossman Birdie, Fekky, Seyi Shay and Angel.
Commenting on Boateng’s appointment to head of the new division, Island president Darcus Beese told Music Week: “Alex is without doubt one of the most knowledgeable, connected and passionate people in urban music and indeed the industry full stop. He possesses what every top A&R needs - great ears, has an innate understanding of marketing and is also on top of all developments in the new ways in which we consume music.
“Perhaps one of his greatest strengths is the relationships he has built in other areas outside the record label, the testimonials bear witness to that. All's I know is that if Alex wasn't at Island I'd do everything to get him here. Island has always been seen as a powerhouse in urban music and with Alex now at the helm we intend to be the No.1 destination for artists and managers."
Boateng will also continue his A&R role under head of A&R Louis Bloom, who told Music Week: “I have really enjoyed working very closely with Alex since we signed JP Cooper together a couple of years ago. He has great instincts, impeccable taste and has a special affinity with artists. His connections in the urban world are second to none and I know he is going to be incredible in his new role."
You can read an exclusive interview with Boateng and Beese on the new division, plus the views of some top-level executives on the move, only in the new issue of Music Week, out today.