Apple Music today announced it is throwing its considerable weight (well-over 20 million subscribers at last count) behind developing artists with a new program called Up Next. The initiative kicked off with artist 6lack (aka Ricardo Valdez), a 24-year-old rapper from Atlanta, according to Billboard.com.
As part of the program 6lack appeared on “The Late Late Show With James Corden,” where he will be introduced by Beats 1’s Zane Lowe. Apple Music will also promote 6lack’s songs on their playlists and on the iTunes store.
Each month Up Next will select a rising artist for which Apple Music said it will use “all of its resources to give their music visibility to new audiences.” This will include a introductory documentary shot on each artist (watch 6lack’s below), an audio EP from a live session which will include an interview and live performance on Beats 1 and an appearance on “The Late Late Show With James Corden” which Apple Music has partnered with.
One might reasonably wonder what the criteria might be for an Up Next artist, considering that 6lack has been signed to LVRN/Interscope since August and his current single “PRBLMS” as of today has close to 18 million views. In truth, however, Apple Music has been working with 6lack for much longer.
Just over a year ago, when 6lack was only signed to LVRN ,he caught the attention of Carly Chery Apple Music’s head of artist curation who brought him to Interscope’s attention, who quickly signed him. Interscope has spent the last eight month building early momentum at radio, press, touring alongside LVRN who they now have a joint venture with.