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SoundCloud enters artist development JV with Kei Henderson’s Third & Hayden

Music executive Kei Henderson has entered into an artist-development joint venture with SoundCloud.

According to a press release, the deal will see Henderson and SoundCloud develop “the next generation of artists” via the label arm of her Atlanta-based music company, Third & Hayden.

LA-based singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Jordan Hawkins and Atlanta rapper Key! are the first signees on the Third & Hayden label.

SoundCloud says this new joint venture is part of its so-called ‘roster’ business which it adds “is focused on providing independent artists with bespoke tools and services to advance their careers”.

This top-tier of artist service offerings sees particularly successful independent artists ‘sign’ direct to SoundCloud. These deals see the company pay advances and invest in artist marketing etc. (just as a traditional record label might).

Earlier this year, SoundCloud struck a joint venture deal with Solid Foundation, the management and creative services arm of the media conglomerate QC Media Holdings, both owned and operated by music industry veterans Kevin “Coach K” Lee and Pierre “P” Thomas.

Third & Hayden, which runs label, management, and publishing services, will operate out of Atlanta’s BNDWTH Studios.

In addition to Hawkins and Key! on the label side, the company will manage a range of acts including Ben Reilly, Asiahn, Kenneth Whalum, Annahstasia, and Nutso Thugn.

Henderson managed Key! early on in 2011 who then introduced her to 21 Savage in 2014 whom, SoundCloud says, “she transformed from a local Atlanta champion to a global phenomenon in a short period of time”.

Henderson then became one of three co-founders of label management and publishing company SinceThe80s – under Motown and Capitol – where they developed multiple artists including Jordan Hawkins.


In February, MBW told you all about how SoundCloud is becoming more of an artist services business.

In October, SoundCloud launched a creator dashboard and a new name for its artist services platform, which is now called SoundCloud for Artists.

‘SoundCloud for Artists’ was formerly known as ‘Repost’ which SoundCloud acquired in May 2019 for around $15 million.

The artist services part of SoundCloud’s business has accelerated since Repost was acquired back in 2019, with Repost playing a central role in this services strategy.

For its 2020 report, SoundCloud organized its business into two divisions:

(i) SoundCloud Network, which covered the firm’s main business inclusive of listener subscriptions to its streaming service plus creator subscriptions to its distribution/services business; and

(ii) ‘Creator Services’ which covered the gross royalties being pulled in by music distributed to other services by SoundCloud on behalf of artists signed up to Repost By SoundCloud and Repost Select.

(SoundCloud said that, from 2021 onwards, it’s organizing its business slightly differently, once again into two operating divisions: (i) Fans will cover ads and subscription money accrued by its consumer-facing streaming service; and (ii) Creators will pull together the subscriptions paid by creators to SoundCloud / Repost alongside the spoils of the monetization of their music on other platforms.)

“We want artists to find success as independents to set the foundation for long-term careers and move through their careers with leverage, and creative control.”

Kei Henderson, Third & Hayden

Kei Henderson, founder of Third & Hayden, said: “We want artists to find success as independents to set the foundation for long-term careers and move through their careers with leverage, and creative control.

“What we were able to build with 21 Savage early and again with SinceThe80s is the blueprint for the way we’re working with our artists and I’m so thankful to have been a part of both of these brands from the start.

“SoundCloud is typically one of the first touch points for indie artists and I feel a great part of my career has been brand building with artists from day zero – for this reason they’re the best partner for what we’re building. We’re being intentional on ground up development.”

“Kei has a proven track record of finding and fostering the next generation of talent so partnering with Third & Hayden was simply the right fit.”

Jessica Rivera, SoundCloud

Jessica Rivera, SoundCloud’s Global SVP & General Manager, said: “Kei has a proven track record of finding and fostering the next generation of talent so partnering with Third & Hayden was simply the right fit.

“We’re excited about developing this joint venture with such a respected industry leader and creative who shares SoundCloud’s dedication to providing solutions and empowering artists as they take their careers to the next level on their own terms.”Music Business Worldwide

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