One of dance music’s biggest stars has expanded his business with an eye on further mainstream success. Grammy Award-winning producer Afrojack has signed an exclusive worldwide deal with Universal Music Group, clearing the way for Island Records to release the Dutch artist’s debut album, led by current single “As Your Friend” featuring Chris Brown, later this year.
After years of controlling his output through his own Wall Recordings, the producer — who scored an international smash with Pitbull’s “Give Me Everything” in 2011 — says the deal was simply the best way to gain new fans while still catering to longtime supporters.
Afrojack has risen through the dance world without major-label backing thanks to his propulsive spin on house music, heart-pounding live shows at festivals like Ultra and Coachella, production credits on hits by Brown and David Guetta, and a hands-on leadership role at Wall Recordings.
“I’m 25 years old — I’m just having fun,” says Afrojack, born Nick van de Wall. “I don’t have a plan for world domination. I’m just riding the wave and bringing people with me.”
“It’s very hard to coordinate your marketing and promotion on a worldwide scale with a network of independents,” says Afrojack’s manager, Hugo Langras. “Afrojack is a globally touring artist, with records we feel-especially the material he’s made for this album-really need globally synchronized campaigns. The only type of corporation that could deliver that to us was a major label.”