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Apple acquires A&R startup Platoon with focus on new & emerging artists

Apple has reportedly acquired the talent-scouting and development startup Platoon, a firm set up in the UK by Saul Klein and Denzyl Feigelson, with the latter formerly an Apple executive responsible for the popular iTunes Music Festival.

Founded in 2016, Platoon is a London-based creative services firm that provides artist development and a variety of video, audio, and marketing services to singers and bands. The company has worked with successful artists including Stefflon Don, Jorja Smith, Billie Elish, Jacob Banks, Rex Orange County, Mr Eazi, and Yebba, with many signing with major record labels.

Music Business Worldwide reports Feigelson will continue to lead the 12-person team from its Tileyard headquarters and recording studios in London. The company will also continue to work with artists to provide tour support, content creation, marketing on social media, and global expansion.

A source close to the company advised "The Apple deal gives Platoon the backing and resources to accomplish its vision and continue its goal to develop original music and visual content - while leaving artists free to sign with who they want and distribute their music where they want."

Feigelson previously worked for Apple for over 15 years in the fields of artist relations and live events, including creating the iTunes Music Festival that ran until 2017. He also was the founder of Artists Without A Label, which then became AWAL under the ownership of Kobalt. Saul Klein was one of the co-founders of LoveFilm, a mail-based DVD rental service that was acquired by Amazon.

Apple's interest in Platoon and its services is likely to be a move to integrate the iPhone producer more with the music industry. It is also far from the only purchase Apple has made to help bolster its position, with the October acquisition of Asaii likely to help Apple Music refine its recommendations and to discover upcoming talent prime for A&R development.

In May, a report claimed Apple Music is forming a global music publishing division led by former legal director of iTunes International Elena Segal. The creation of such an arm would allow Apple to work with artists directly, rather than dealing with record labels or publishers, which could enable it to form more lucrative deals with musicians and have more creative control, as well as a level of exclusivity.