President Raedio hopes to revolutionize audio everywhere

When Issa Rae and Benoni Tagoe launched Raedio in 2019, they knew they didn’t want their company to be just another record label. They wanted to create a company that could create and place sound on podcasts, on movies and TV shows, on planes, cars, anywhere, anywhere. For them there is no limit.

“We call it Raedio, the company that delivers sound everywhere, because we want to exist wherever there is sound,” Tago said.

Tago, the company’s president, said that as he noticed more companies were focusing on video, it was easy to focus on audio in the same way. “I feel that in many cases sound can travel faster and farther.”

As such, it has become home to a record company, a publishing company, music supervision, a music library, and events (such as the recent Hoorae Festival). Takeover of the Kennedy Center). It currently has several artists signed to it, including Baby Tate, NCognita and Josh Levi. He also introduced The Read as his first podcast and provided music oversight for television and film productions including “P-Valley”, “Woke” and “Power”.

But the path to Raedio began at least ten years ago. Tago had just left his position on the Jonas Brothers management team when he began working with Ray on her critically acclaimed web series The Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl. Initially, his role was to help bring as much attention to the show as possible. As the show grew in popularity and received more attention, Tago and Ray began to think about how they could expand. There was talk of merch and even cookies and candy, but the music was the idea that really caught on. Original earworms (a la Booty Shawts by Doublemint Twins), and the music of up-and-coming artists of the time became part of the show’s DNA.

The soul of it went beyond the web series when Rae landed a deal with HBO for her debut network show, Insecure. Outside the gate, the music was an integral part of the show. In particular, he became the show’s protagonist, featuring familiar favorites and introducing fans to new artists and tunes. They even began to be approached for musical opportunities, thus creating an open streak for the formation of Raedio.

Tago and Ray considered Raedio important for several reasons. First, how uneven the music industry can be for artists. AT 2021 interview for the Los Angeles Times, Ray said that music is an “offensive industry” and that she needs to “start over”.

“And to find out how artists were treated on other labels… Being a creator and knowing what I want in terms of relationship with a production company or producer, I would like to think that we are more artist friendly than a lot of other labels and companies out there. I want to change everything,” she told the LA Times.

Although Raedio’s mission is not to fix the problems that exist in the music industry, many of the company’s solutions are aimed at doing the job better than most. He works with his signed artists, most of whom are women, to sell, promote and get their music in as many places as possible to increase exposure. Its entire board of directors is made up of women and people of color. And the finalists for the Google-sponsored Creator Program have just been announced, in which four women (Jay Stevens, Dree Jack, Susie Analogue and Caroline Ho) will receive funding, resources and mentorship to provide them with opportunities in the music industry.

“Following women, following underrepresented communities is just part of our brand,” Tago said. He considers Radio a destroyer.

“The thing is, Raedio always asks why. There are a lot of things going on in the industry that are just the status quo, and that’s okay, but I always ask the question why,” said the president of the company. “And so asking this question of why and finding opportunities to change the way things are done really works well for us.”

Josh Levy (left), Issa Rae, TheaMarrr, NCognita and Benoni Tago at the Radio Family Dinner in Los Angeles last October.

Randy Shropshire via Getty Images for Raedio

Tago added, “Often when an artist shows up and is looking for a deal or partnership, we are a viable option because we can get creative with how we do our work. deals, this is where we can get creative and how we work with artists. And although we have a label and a publishing house, we have musical oversight, we came into music as a resource. We didn’t come into music to compete with everyone.”

The company is still new, he says, so it still has a lot to learn. His goal right now is to create best-in-class content, while he looks forward to working with other companies and more to create the sounds you hear when your car starts, the horns that hospital equipment makes, and more in the long run.

Raedio has a lot going on this year. In January, the company signed a contract with Audible to develop podcasts. (Raedio just won a Webby Award for writing the Insecure podcast spin-off We Stay Looking.) The company will also lead the musical oversight of HBO’s upcoming Rae show Rap Shit, which is a musical—a project very different from other productions he worked on. And of course they want to push their artists NCognita, Josh Levi and TeaMarrr to release new music this year.

“When all is said and done, I hope we have the same legacy as some of the places I looked up to before,” Tago said. “I want to have a legacy like Def Jam where they stand for something. And when they got on stage, they made an impact, and there are things we still talk about based on their influence. Or even like Rockefeller or Murder Inc. and Badboy. At the end of the day, I want people to say that Raedio has contributed to an era or eras of music.”


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