Russell Simmons Taps Ex-Machinima Exec to Head All Def Digital

At NMR we’ve been paying close attention to the collision between the world of music and the world of professional YouTube. That’s why we’ve been paying special attention to news from Def Jam Records founder Russell Simmons’ multimedia venture All Def Digital. The company, which was born as a collaboration between Simmons and DreamWorks’AwesomenessTV, will add former Machinima exec Sanjay Sharma as president and chief operating officer.

All Def was originally conceived as a music and comedy network built around the creative instincts of Russell Simmons and the digital media expertise of DreamWorks and AwesomenessTV. Simmons told Variety that after a little over a year of operations he was “ready to take All Def Digital to the next level” and that part of that would be finding executive leadership. Sharma, who formerly served as executive vice president of strategy and business development at Machinima, knows a thing or two about taking a fledgling YouTube network to the next level.

All Def was originally conceived as a comedy and music network with an urban sensibility. For a star and star-maker like Simmons, bringing his brand to YouTube is a natural choice. The platform has already supplanted some of the traditional elements of music industry A&R by providing a repository of self-made stars who have already begun to build themselves an audience. The platform also provides opportunities for promotion that street marketing could never match.

All Def has already made some waves with original content like “Blackie Sack,” a comedy that follows the first African American hackey-sacker, and the animated series “Counterfit.” Sharma’s job will be to expand on that success and build new partnerships to expand the network’s reach and talent roster.

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More All Def Digital:

Russell Simmons Announces All Def Digital YouTube Channel At CES

Russell Simmons and AwesomenessTV Founder Brian Robbins’ All Def Digital YouTube Channel Goes Live               

Russell Simmons Contrite About ‘Harriet Tubman Sex Tape’ In First YouTube Interview Since Controversy [VIDEO]