Tuma Basa, Spotify’s former global programming head of hip-hop, is expected to replicate his ‘RapCaviar’ success at YouTube.
Rap Caviar is Spotify’s most popular genre-specific playlist which has about 9 million followers. And you can largely credit Tuma Basa with its creation.
The results have been game-changing, with RapCaviar helping Spotify capture the high-energy, hi-tech spirit of hip-hop. In fact, this ultra-powerful playlist goes way beyond streaming. Just recently, Spotify also expanded into live touring with a small RapCaviar tour.
By poaching Basa, YouTube is hoping that he will be able to go beyond the success of Spotify and Apple Music.
Indeed, the industry has optimistic hopes for YouTube Music. The new music streaming service was supposed to launch on May 22nd, though sneak-peek reviews have been largely positive.
Post-launch, the plucking to Basa suggests a rap-heavy approach, one that smartly harnesses a freshly-surging genre. Basa, at times called the “most important tastemaker in hip hop music,” will undoubtedly create stiff competition for lauded playlists like RapCaviar.
In a statement released by YouTube, the company’s global head of music, Lyor Cohen, heaped praise on the new recruit. “Tuma brings a deep knowledge of the music industry with many years of experience at BET, MTV, Revolt, and most recently, Spotify,” Cohen pronounced.
“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.”
Basa’s jump comes at a prickly time for Spotify. The platform is delicately dialing back a failed ‘Hate Conduct Policy,’ one that created serious tensions with the rap community. Fairly or otherwise, ‘Hate Conduct’ was viewed as a racist attack, with rapper XXXTentacion and R. Kelly the first to be punished by the policy.
Spotify has since reinstated XXXTentacion’s coveted RapCaviar playlist position, though R. Kelly appears permanently penalized.