IndustryPlug Exclusive: Steve Rifkind Defines ADD52 Pt. 2

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In the first part of our IndustryPlug exclusive with music industry veteran Steve Rifkind, we revealed how ADD52 was born, how he stays on top of what’s current and hot and why multi-channel networks are the new wave in media. Today, we’re going to reveal why Rifkind’s partnership with mogul Russell Simmons has worked so well for so many years and what he misses about older methods music before the digital era.


Here is some knowledge dropped by Steve Rifkind about the ever-changing music industry as we’ve seen it and as we know it today:

1. Thoughts On the Comeback of Vinyl

Vinyl is making a comeback through to DJs. I miss that. I used to wake up Saturday morning and take my son and I would go to Tower Records on Sunset. I would hang out there for three or four hours. I miss retail, all facets of retail. From Walmart, to a Target even to the music store.

2. On How the Function Of A&Rs Has Drastically Changed

I mean, what I believe is that everything that you do online, you need an offline component. All the young A&Rs right now, I feel bad for them. They’re talented, but they’re not being guided. It’s like putting a band-aid on something and getting a quick fix. There’s no more artist development—if you look at some of the great record labels, A&M Records, Geffen Records before Geffen became a major, they had the best A&R people in the world. They would take an act for nothing and turn it into a Guns ‘N Roses. Even what Russell did with Dej Jam and what I did, nobody is taking anything from the ground floor anymore and taking their time. 

3. Do All YouTube Talents Have the Work Ethic To Make It?

I think that their work ethic is there. You can have the biggest record in the world and if you don’t have the work ethic, that’s something that you’re born with or that you can learn. To me, if you can make a great record, then make a great record. If you can put it up on YouTube, great and if not, there’s other things that can be done. But, I don’t think they’re lazy, I think they’re innovative.

4. How Balance Is Maintained Between Himself and Russell Simmons

We speak five or six times a day, but Russell is a big thinker and he thinks big, so he can throw an idea out and then my job is at that time is to see how we can do it. If he wants to invent something, we’ll keep bouncing ideas off of each other on how to make it work and then once we both feel comfortable with the way to make it work, then we shoot it and vice versa. I call him every morning, I give him an update on what’s going on with the records; what’s going on with this, what’s going on with that… there’s no more ego in this. And it’s been great.

5. ADD Will Follow the Journey of ADD52 Artists

Yeah, 100%. Content is key, so, I said it earlier. I feel like what Russell has done with Def Comedy Jam and with what we do Wednesday nights with Russell Simmons Presents: All Def Comedy, we do a comedy show. So, between the music and the comedy, I feel like that’s what’s going to make our channel. And like I said earlier, music makes all the trends.



We here at would like to thank Steve Rifkind for taking the time out to share his knowledge and give the world more insight regarding and how it will leave a major imprint on the music and technology industries. Check daily for more exclusives and the latest news in all things music, Hollywood, tech and branding!


View Part 1 of Steve Rifkind’s IP interview here.


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