Nas’ Mass Appeal Jumps Ship from Universal to Sony Music’s The Orchard

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Nas’ Mass Appeal has partnered with Sony Music’s The Orchard. Photo Credit: Coup d’Oreille

Nas’ Mass Appeal media and record company has officially jumped ship from Universal Music Group, inking a strategic partnership with Sony Music’s The Orchard.

The Orchard just recently announced the high-profile deal with Nas and Mass Appeal via a post on its Daily Rind blog. For background, the 47-year-old Nas – who reportedly made at least $40 million from Coinbase’s IPO last month – co-founded Mass Appeal back in 2014.

Artists including De La Soul, Dave East, Run the Jewels, and Nas himself have released music via the seven-year-old label, which in August of 2019 unveiled an agreement with UMG to discover and promote emerging hip-hop acts in India.

Also worth highlighting is that Nas released his first seven studio albums via Sony’s Columbia Records (which co-financed Hip Hop Is Dead, Nas’s eighth album, with UMG’s Def Jam in 2006).

Under the UMG partnership, Mass Appeal operated out of Universal Music India’s Mumbai headquarters, and upon detailing the professional union, the Nas co-founded business revealed that it and the Big Three label had already signed popular Indian rapper Divine.

The 29-year-old boasts about 1.78 million monthly plays on Spotify (as well as a seemingly larger presence on YouTube), and Mass Appeal India’s YouTube videos have garnered a cumulative total of over 250 million views since the channel launched shortly before the aforementioned UMG alliance came to light.

But now, as initially noted, Mass Appeal has jumped ship from UMG by finalizing a deal with Sony Music’s 24-year-old distribution and marketing company, The Orchard.

Though the financial terms of the just-confirmed Orchard-Mass Appeal arrangement haven’t been publicly revealed, the latter entity will work to “sign and develop artists directly, utilizing The Orchard’s comprehensive suite of services and global value proposition.”

Addressing his label’s Orchard deal in a statement, the one-time Grammy winner (and 14-time nominee) Nas emphasized the strategic partnership’s far-reaching potential, including with regard to spaces aside from music.

“This is a full-circle moment for me. To come back to Sony Music with my own label is a major milestone. We see this multi-phase initiative as an opportunity to continue to push the culture forward, educate, and inspire. It’s what we do it for, I couldn’t be more excited,” said the New York City native, who contributed to DMX’s Exodus posthumous album, which will release tomorrow.

“We are thrilled to be reunited with the team at The Orchard,” added Mass Appeal CEO Peter Bittenbender. “What Brad and his staff have built over the past few years is beyond impressive, and we can’t wait to help supercharge their place in Hip Hop with all the incredible talent and projects we have lined up, including a major project for our Hip Hop 50 platform.”

Showtime and Mass Appeal announced Hip Hop 50 – “a multi-year cross-platform programming partnership…to celebrate Hip Hop’s 50th Anniversary” – about one week ago. The project is set to encompass “original series, films & experiences,” according to its official teaser trailer.

Finally, Sony Music late last year acquired Probity, a UK-based music-merch business, as well as Human Re-Sources, J. Erving’s artist distribution and services company. Human Re-Sources was promptly folded into The Orchard.