Eli is an A&R at 12 Tone Music Group, an independent record label founded in 2018 by legendary executive Doug Morris. 12 Tone serves as a home to releases from the likes of Anderson .Paak, Joji, Rich Brian, NIKI, 88rising's 'Head In The Clouds' compilations and many more. Eli himself has had a truly impressive career path so far, having worked in various roles at several major music companies and record labels.
You've worked at Def Jam Records, Scooter Braun Projects, and on Lil Pump during Gucci Gang’s virality - what consistencies have you found when it comes to your work regardless of company or project?
A consistency I noticed most is the artists and projects that really took off, always had speculation and non-believers. For example, I’d say most people couldn’t imagine the impact that Justin & SB Projects would have with the “Purpose” album. Or the success that an EDM act like Axwell Ingrosso could have under urban label Def Jam and Steve. Or that a seventeen-year-old SoundCloud rapper could have a #3 song on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s the plays that most people don’t see coming that have the largest punch. Another consistency is that for all these projects there was a solid gameplan in place. These artists made an impact with the quality of their music, but the team and leaders around those projects consistently found ways to keep pushing the project upwards to its peak positions.
With 12 Tone being home to such high-caliber artists, what do you look for when signing a new artist to the roster?
The largest aspect we look for when adding a new addition to the roster is to look for a project or artist that can cut through the noise. 20,000 songs get uploaded to Spotify every day, so when projects from 88Rising or Lauren Daigle, who are vastly different artists, have their highest streaming days over a year after a release that says it all. It shows that people really care about the music, the artists are proud of what they put out, and the team is dedicated to working it from start to finish.
We spoke recently about the abundance of data and how it can be overwhelming at times. What kind of information do you find consistently helpful when approaching a campaign?
Data is a great way to identify certain projects that are moving, but I would say it is just one of the puzzle pieces required to identify the whole picture. Just because numbers say you should, or shouldn’t move forward with a project, that is just one indicator and one shouldn’t follow it blindly. The most important aspect at the end of the day is a relationship and trust with the artists. Artists will put their all into a project and vision, and a team needs to do its best to execute that dream. Without that relationship and trust, I believe a project can’t properly live up to its full potential from both the artist or the label side.