Artist marketing veteran Dionte Goodlett has been tapped to lead A&R for Platoon, the artist-services company acquired by Apple in late 2018. Goodlett’s hire arrives on the heels of his departure from Apple Music earlier this year after spending seven years in artist relations with the company, and marks what he calls a full circle moment.
“To be coming back to the Apple family in this new capacity feels really good,” says Goodlett, who was drawn to Platoon for its artist-friendly deal structures. “It’s really just about giving artists the flexibility to create the best product in the marketplace. If they want to bring on editorial teams to help them, or if they want to use the in-house teams that Platoon provides, they have the freedom to do either.”
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Goodlett’s initial signings as part of his new role include New Orleans hip-hop artist Kiddo K and Virginia-based alt-pop singer Reece. He’ll also be working closely with Nigerian singer-songwriter Adekunle Gold, who’s part of Platoon’s efforts to introduce African artists to U.S. audiences while honoring their roots. Gold’s single “Sinner” recently peaked as the No. 1 Trending video on YouTube Nigeria, as well as Apple Music and iTunes Nigeria’s Charts in August.
Says Goodlett: “When you see records like ‘Essence’ from Wizkid and Tems that can break through here in the U.S., there’s a want and need for music like that. And I think Adekunle is the next person up to break that mold. His music just has feel-good sensibilities. It provides groove, it provides a soundtrack to so many moments in our lives as we — fingers crossed — come up on a post-whatever world and we get back to some feel good music. We’re putting him in with U.S. producers and writers for the first time and seeing the music and connections coming out of those sessions, it’s amazing.”
“I love his tenacity, honestly. Dionte is the guy to say, ‘I got it’ and he really does,” adds Gold of working with Goodlett. “We’ve been working for the past six months, and he’s opened my mind to a lot of new and different things. I can easily share my mixes with him and he gets it. There’s no one better to have on your team.”
Since it was founded in 2016 by Denzyl Feigelson and Saul Klein, Platoon had a few early successes in the U.S. (the company was the first distributor for Billie Eilish before she signed to Darkroom/Interscope). But its biggest hits to date have been primarily with UK artists like Jorja Smith and African acts like Mr Eazi. That’s why Goodlett is looking forward to helping the company break more acts Stateside, as well as build on the success of current signings like Holly Humberstone, Victoria Monet and Amaarae.
“We’re just hoping to shed the light on the work that not only Denzyl has done but also the amazing team like Grace [Hsiu], Brianna [Agyemang], Lucie Watson, Drew Lam and the UK team, Linda [Ayoola] in Africa,” Goodlett says. “We really have a lot of amazing and special people so it’s really just shedding light on the entire team.”
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