As college students across the country head back to school this fall (virtually or not), a team of music executives aim to discover the next generation of star artists right in the classroom.
Quadio, a music collaboration platform for college students founded by Joe Welch and Marcus Welch, is partnering with Disruptor Records — the label helmed by The Chainsmokers manager Adam Alpert — on the new independent record label Quadio Records, which will mine its roster from the platform’s more than 12,000 college-level users, the companies announced today (Sept. 16).
Quadio combines the features of SoundCloud and early Facebook: It allows users to share original music, comment feedback and collaborate on songs, and requires a college email to join. It first launched as a website in late 2018, but after Quadio introduced an official app in March — just as the coronavirus pandemic made virtual collaboration a necessity for musicians, Quadio experienced a surge of activity, and more than 20,000 new songs have been uploaded on the platform since February.
“It has always been Quadio’s mission to showcase and to champion the massive untapped potential and artistry of college creatives,” Marcus Welch tells Billboard. “The app was our first step, and one that uncovered just how much unbelievable talent there is out there. The launch of Quadio Records is our next step towards our mission, and one that we couldn’t possibly be more excited about.”
Under the terms of the partnership, Quadio Records releases will be distributed worldwide through Disruptor, and artists on the label will benefit from Disruptor’s promotional, marketing and artist development power as well.
“Quadio has created an ecosystem where young musicians can nurture and enlighten one another, allowing them to collectively identify the most exciting new voices of tomorrow from their earliest works,” Alpert tells Billboard, noting that Quadio’s team has “a clear vision to help those artists realize their potential and I am happy to put the full resources of Disruptor behind them.”
Based in New York City and helmed by vice president Abir Hossain, Quadio Records will seek out “multidisciplinary creatives with a point of view” on the platform who are looking for professional guidance and support. The label has already signed the artists TALIA, Rightfield, Zack Cokas, Healer and DASHA, who says she feels “blessed” to be among the first signees. “Quadio Records is a family,” she continues. “They represent genuine dedication to art and will stop at nothing to make things happen.”
Hossain, who previously worked in A&R and artist management at companies including bitbird, PRMD Music and Ovation Entertainment, adds that “I want to take the best of what I’ve learned from previous management companies and record labels to create a label that’s proactive, operates with urgency, and provides artists a level of service that’s unparalleled.”
The announcement is the latest move in a busy summer for Quadio. Following the app’s launch, Quadio kicked off a series of virtual, off-platform “clubs” for users, and the first three events — two songwriting sessions and one artist management bootcamp — sold out within 24 hours of being announced. Last month, more than 400 artists participated in a “Quadio Collab Challenge” contest seeking out the best song collaborations born on the platform, with the grand prize of a mentoring session with Hossain himself.