Raedio President Benoni Tagoe 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 start a company that could create and place audio through podcasts, in movies and TV shows, on planes, in cars – everywhere, really. The limit does not exist for them.

“We call it Raedio, an audio everywhere company, because we want to exist wherever audio exists,” Tagoe said.

Tagoe, the company’s president, said that as he noticed more and more companies were focusing on video, emphasizing audio in the same way was a no-brainer. “I feel like in a lot of cases the audio can sometimes travel faster and farther.”

Thus was born a home for a record label, publishing house, music supervision, music library, and events (like the recent Hoorae Kennedy Center takeover). It currently has several signed artists, including TeaMarr, NCognita, and Josh Levi. He also introduced The Read as his first podcast and provided musical supervision for television and film productions including “P-Valley,” “Woke” and “Power.”

But the road to Raedio started at least a decade ago. Tagoe had just left his position on the Jonas Brothers management team when he began working with Rae on his critically acclaimed web series “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.” Initially, his role was to help draw as many eyes to the series as possible. As the show became more established and garnered more attention, Tagoe and Rae began to think of ways to expand. Discussions of merchandising and even cookies and candy came into play, but music was the idea that really stuck. Original earworms (à la Booty Shawts by the Doublemint Twinslisten)) and music by emerging artists of the time became part of the show’s DNA.

The soul of that transcended the web series when Rae struck a deal with HBO for his first network show, “Insecure.” Outside, the music was an integral part of the show. Notably, he became a main character on the show, showcasing familiar favorites and introducing fans to new artists and tracks. They even began to be approached for musical opportunities, creating an open path for Raedio to form.

Issa Rae and Benoni Tagoe at Raedio’s Friends and Family Dinner in Los Angeles on October 22, 2021.

Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for Raedio

Tagoe and Rae thought Raedio was important for several reasons. One being how tattered the music industry can be for artists. In a interview 2021 for the Los Angeles Times, Rae said music was an “abusive industry” and had to “start over”.

“And finding out how artists were treated at other labels… Being a creator myself and knowing what I want in terms of a relationship with a production company or a producer, I like to think we’re more supportive to artists than a lot of other labels and companies out there. I want to revamp things,” she told the LA Times.

While Raedio’s mission isn’t explicitly to solve the problems that exist in the music industry, many of the company’s decisions are aimed at doing a better job than most. He works with his signed artists, a majority of whom are women, to market, promote and place their music in as many places as possible to increase exposure. Its entire board is made up of women and people of color. And it just announced the finalists for its Google-sponsored creator program in which four women (Jae Stephens, Dri Jack, Suzi Analogue, and Caroline Ho) will receive funding, resources, and mentorship to align them with the opportunities in the world. music industry.

“Keeping an eye out for women, keeping an eye out for underrepresented communities is just part of our brand makeup,” Tagoe said. He sees Raedio as a disruptor.

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

Josh Levi, left, Issa Rae, TeaMarrr, NCognita and Benoni Tagoe attend Raedio's Friends and Family Dinner in Los Angeles last October.
Josh Levi, left, Issa Rae, TeaMarrr, NCognita and Benoni Tagoe attend Raedio’s Friends and Family Dinner in Los Angeles last October.

Randy Shropshire via Getty Images for Raedio

Tagoe added, “A lot of times when an artist comes along and they’re looking for a deal or a partnership, we’re a viable option because we’re able to be creative in how we do our deal stuff, that’s where we can be creative and how we work with artists. And although we have a label and we have a publishing house, we have musical supervision, we entered music as a resource. We didn’t come into music to be a competition for everyone.

The company is still young, so there’s still a lot to learn, he said. His current focus is on creating best-in-class content while looking to work with other companies and more to create the sounds you hear when a car starts, the beeps made by hospital equipment, and more. still long term.

Raedio has a lot to do this year. In January, the company signed a podcast development deal with Audible. (Raedio just won a Webby for the scripted “Insecure” podcast, “We Stay Looking.”) The company will also lead music supervision for Rae’s upcoming HBO show, “Rap Shit,” which is a musical – a project. very different from other productions he has worked on. And, of course, he’s looking to push his artists NCognita, Josh Levi and TeaMarrr as they release new music this year.

“At the end of the day, I hope we have the same heritage as some of the places I looked up to before,” Tagoe said. “I want to have a legacy like Def Jam, where they stood for something. And when they came on the scene, they had an impact, and there are things that we still talk about today that were based on their impact. Or even like Rock A Fella or Murder Inc. and Bad Boy. Ultimately, I want people to say that Raedio contributed to one or more eras of music.

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