When news broke earlier this year that Jaz-O, Jay-Z’s longtime friend-turned-foe-turned-friend-again from Marcy Projects, had signed with Roc Nation, most reports glossed over exactly which company the rapper had signed with.
His deal, for his Kingz Kounty Media Group, is actually with Equity Distribution, the independent distribution arm of the Roc Nation family of companies, distinct from the Roc Nation label.
Launched relatively quietly last year, Equity Distribution is a global music-distribution platform that allows artists to retain ownership of their masters. The platform boasts partnerships with 125 digital service platforms in different territories across the world.
Chanel West Coast, Vado and Mariahlynn are among the independent artists that have signed distribution deals with Equity, while veteran rapper Jadakiss’ label (SoRaspy) and Jaz-O’s Kingz Kounty company have inked deals with Equity for their respective artists.
“We want to help create a viable path to sustained growth for every independent artist we work with, so they can remain in control of their careers,” Equity president Krystian Santini tells Variety. “EQ empowers artists and labels, by providing a home for them to grow and a team to support them, without taking their masters or limiting their freedom of movement. “
The company aims to do that by providing resources including digital strategy support, in-house marketing services, synch and playlist promotion and publishing administration.
While the deal with Jaz-O was struck in April, the company only recently officially announced it. A teenage Jay-Z made his first recorded appearance on Jaz-O’s song “HP Gets Busy,” and Jaz went on to produce several songs over the years for the rapper, as well as working with the Lox, Rakim, Queen Latifah and others.