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6LACK Partners With Endel to Release Alternate Wellness Versions of New Album

R&B singer 6LACK has partnered with Endel to create alternate versions of his latest album Since I Have A Lover that is specially formulated to promote “restorative rest and mental balance” as part of BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month. One alternate version is designed to promote sleep, out July 8, and the second will promote focus, out July 24.

To promote the collaboration, 6lack will host a live pre-listening session on the Endel app on July 6, and two in-person events will take place in LA and Berlin that same day.

Endel is a start-up that creates what it calls “functional sound,” a form of ambient music that supports listeners day-to-day wellness needs, including sleep, meditation and focus. While Endel’s proprietary music-making technology is powered by artificial intelligence, Endel does not create new songs out of thin air. Instead, it generates ambient soundscapes by rearranging pieces of music provided by artists in ways that Endel says promotes specific wellness goals.

6lack joins the likes of other artists like Grimes and James Blake who have partnered with the soundscape start-up in the past, however, the alternate version of Since I Have A Lover is a new kind of partnership for the wellness brand because it is the first full album Endel has remixed and released on streaming services.

In March, Oleg Stavitsky, co-founder and CEO of Endel, told Billboard he felt this was a way for the soundscape company to help major labels evolve. “We can process the stems [the audio building blocks of a track] from Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue and come back with a functional sleep version of that album,” Stavitsky said, adding that Endel was in talks with all the major labels about trying this at the time.

Since then, Endel has partnered with UMG to do just that, and Since I Have A Lover marks the companies’ first attempt. Their partnership came as a surprise to some, given UMG chief Lucian Grainge‘s negative recent remarks about AI and functional music. Lamenting that functional music drives streaming dollars away from pop music and towards rain sounds, white noise, and other ambient recordings, he said in a memo to staff in January that “consumers are increasingly being guided by algorithms to lower-quality functional content that in some cases can barely pass for ‘music.’”

But at the time the partnership was announced, Michael Nash, UMG evp and chief digital officer, praised Endel for “utiliz[ing] their patented AI technology” to create ambient music because it is “anchored in our artist-centric philosophy” and “powered by AI that respects artists’ rights in its development.”

Endel’s ambient soundscapes have been on streaming services since 2019, thanks to UMG competitor Warner Music Group. Known to be bullish in its investment and partnership strategy with emerging music tech companies, WMG signed Endel to a 20-album distribution deal.

“This is about letting people experience my music in a new way,” 6LACK says of his collaboration with Endel. “These sounds can be for rest and relaxation, or for helping you feel inspired and creative. It’s for finding a sense of balance in life. Since I Have a Lover has plenty of magical sounds, and combined with Endel’s AI and science, it was easy to create something that felt healing.”

“Using AI to reimagine your favorite music as a functional soundscape, designed to help solve the biggest mental health challenges we’re facing as a species, is our mission. 6LACK’s openness to experimentation and his ability to let go and trust the process was crucial to the success of this project,” says Stavitsky. “We’re extremely proud of the result and can’t wait for millions of people to experience the healing power of these soundscapes.”