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Gamma CEO Larry Jackson Says Drake Is ‘Bigger’ Than All Artists of the ”70s, ’80s & ’90s Combined’

Gamma CEO and last year’s Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Power Players’ Executive of the Year Larry Jackson sat down with Joe Budden for a one-on-one interview that launched June 6. Jackson, who was once Apple Music’s global creative director, had an interesting thought to share about Drake’s streaming numbers. About an hour into the interview, Budden asks whether or not Drake’s business deals are “a point of contention with his peers.” Choosing not to go into detail, Jackson says, “I can’t answer that question, that’s not appropriate of my place, I have to definitely display good cultural etiquette.”

Budden then explains a theory he has about the Toronto rapper’s relationship with Jackson and his label, Gamma. “My wild theory was that Drake had to have some type of hand in Gamma, which is why he’s promoting [Rick] Ross albums and Sexyy Red, and he must have some type of deal that’s not even available to other people to whereas he gets to be the owner and player,” he shared. “Like he’s twofold right now and it seems to be causing a lot of trouble.”

The executive then asked if Budden wants the truth and began talking about how he and his partner, Gamma president Ike Youssef, knocked on doors because they believed in their idea for their label. “Private equity was investing so much money into catalogues because capital was cheap in 2019, 2020,” he said. “Interest rates were very low so borrowing capital was easy.”

Jackson then said streaming has made it easier for investors to predict “insight into recurring revenue,” but still no one believed in their vision of “investing in the frontline business.”

He finally got to Drake and their relationship, and puts the artist’s streaming numbers into perspective. “The thing I will say to you about [Drake] you just mentioned, is that if you look at his music, he’s bigger than the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s combined,” he said. “I don’t mean like one artist from that era, I mean all of those eras combined.”

“All the things that we achieved when I was at Apple, with the individual that you’re noting [Drake], imbued me with the confidence and the courage of my conviction to go out and do what we’re doing right now,” Jackson continued. “Can you put a price tag on that? No, you can’t.”

Back when Jackson was Apple’s global creative director, he was instrumental in launching Drake’s OVO Sound Radio on Beats 1 in 2015. Also, Drake’s 2016 album Views was an Apple Music exclusive a week prior to the project being available on other streaming services such as Spotify and Tidal. At the time, Views set a streaming record with 1.04 million equivalent album units in its first week, and debuted No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart.

You can watch the full interview below.

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