A little over a year ago, Andrew Batey, the co-CEO of Beatdapp – an auditing and fraud detection software for music labels and streaming services – conceived of an eccentric artist collective that would bring him and his fellow Beatdappers right back to their roots.
“The plight of the artist has always been near and dear to my heart and, because of this, Beatdapp was created with artists in mind,” Batey explains. “But as we kept building and getting bigger, the artists were slowly removed from the equation because we started dealing mostly with labels and streaming services. Eventually, we had to take a step back and remember why we’d started.”
Once Batey had his tech-heavy team on board and a clear-cut mission in mind, the next step was putting themselves in the hard-to-fill Hard Bottoms of the artist. Though Batey has championed recording artists for most of his career – even Beatdapp’s digression from the artist per se is only slight as the software still indirectly ensures entertainers are being rightfully compensated – he admittedly had no idea what they actually went through to produce even a single song.
“I’d never really gone through what an artist goes through from start to finish. So, I just thought it’d be really amazing if we put a project together where we could walk a mile in their shoes and understand their journey, says Batey. “I figured, maybe if we can better understand our heroes and some of what they undertake to be successful, it might shed more light on the importance of the products we’re building, and this could strengthen the industry as a whole. After six studios, four cities, and two countries, I think we learned just how hard creating [a song] can be.”
Today, that same artist collective Batey and the Beatdapp team envisioned in 2021 is now signed by the Universal-backed label Daydream Records and known as Urban Outlaws. Urban Outlaws is a rotating roundup of musicians, producers, and industry talent tasked with creating the five-song EP titled Undefined that will become the sound of Summer 2022.
“I thought ‘Could we make an EP with five different songs and have every song be from a different genre?’ We wanted something with such solid vibes, you could [ostensibly] put the EP on with a group of friends, and when a song switched, no one would really question why the genre had changed,” explains Batey. “The music industry sometimes treats fans like they have to fit into one genre. It’s like, ‘These are the country-music fans, these are the hip hop fans, etc.’ But with music, I feel like no one sticks strictly to just one genre. People tend to like a lot of different things – it’s the industry that forces them into a box.”
Undefined’s first single, “Drinkin’ Drinks,” is a high-energy country-music cut slated for release on April 22. Written with good times and better wine in mind, Ryan Hurd, Nathan Spicer, Matthew McGinn, and Ryan Beaver took the single to new lyrical levels, while artist Kurt Steven added smooth, cool vocals to the mix. Finally, the boozy bopper was produced and mastered by Jeff & Justin Johnson and Billy Decker, respectively, imbuing the song with the crisp, clean finish of an ice-cold beer. The remainder of the EP’s tracks will be released every six weeks or so throughout the summer.
“This project gives us the opportunity to work with different artists and producers that we’ve known throughout the years who maybe aren’t ready to release something under their personal name, but want to put great music out as part of an artist collective. That’s also why we at Beatdapp donated about $500,000 in NFTs to the project – we wanted to give the participating artists something of value to use as far as album covers and internet identities. The album cover
for “Drinkin’ Drinks” is now believed to be the most expensive cover of all time, valued at over $250,000.”
With over one-million members from varying music fandoms committed to promoting Urban Outlaws’ first drop and a plethora of other fun, promotional ploys to get the project off the ground, Urban Outlaws’ Undefined is absolutely set up for summer success. But the best thing about Batey’s labor of love is this:
“All proceeds from this project are going to MusiCares. They’re an amazing organization that support entertainers in their times of need – they really do right by the artists. We decided all the money made from this project would go to charity. We aren’t taking a penny.”