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When The Hollywood Reporter spoke with budding Los Angeles rapper Wax earlier this year about getting dropped from Island Def Jam, he excitedly explained his goal to go independent and work outside of the major label system that had made him “depressed” and stunted his creativity.
Now he is back with a label, but with a different kind of deal.
The typically electronic dance music-geared label Ultra Music has signed on a licensing deal for Wax’s single “Rosana”, shipping it to radio and all other outlets. To date, that song has been certified gold in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and its video has amassed nearly 27.5 million YouTube views.
“I am excited to work with Ultra,” said Wax. “They love my song and just want me to keep doing what I do. [Label-owner] Patrick Moxey is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to hip-hop music too, so I am confident it will be a good partnership.”
Earlier this year, Ultra Music and Sony Music Entertainment announced a relationship covering A&R, distribution, international repertoire and more, placing Moxey as the President of Sony’s Electronic Music division as well.
“We decided to do a deal at this point because we feel like we’ve taken the song as far as we can on our own,” Wax’s manager, Brian Washington said. “The radio play were getting shows us that the song has legs and labels are still the best at playing that game. Ultra believes in it, and we feel they have the resources to bring it home.”
The year has been good to Wax. With increased attention for the video online, Washington said “Rosana” started picking up radio play and notable support from Sirius XM’s Faction, 20 on 20 on 20 and Hits 1 stations, the latter two of which are the two biggest pop stations on the service. Once in full rotation, the song became the service’s second most played song behind Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” The song was also been licensed to Warner Music Germany for Europe as well, boosting the track to hit No. 1 on the Austrian charts for three weeks and peaking at No. 3 in Germany and Switzerland. At this time, Washington said, the track is moving over 3,000 units per week.
“This model worked extremely well for us in Europe, so were hoping that momentum comes back to the States,” said Washington. “We hope to have a long relationship with Ultra. This model is appealing to us because it allows Wax to keep his freedom creatively, and it allows our label partners to cherry pick what they want to be involved in. It’s been our goal to find the right mix of independent hustle with major resources, this could be it.”
Wax is currently on the last leg of a three month touring run through the US college market in October, Europe in November, and major US cities in this month that ends at Los Angeles’ El Rey Theatre on Dec. 30. He is looking to release a new album before summer next year.
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