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Gaming the system

This story appears in ESPN The Magazine's Feb. 2 Music Issue. Subscribe today!

"THE GOAL OF any label is to expose artists to as many people as possible. So sports' ability to draw millions of eyeballs at one time, and in real time, is huge. In 2009, a boss encouraged me to reach out to sports networks, so I booked John Legend as a guest host on Mike & Mike, and then Train performed at the 2010 MLB All-Star Game. Those were big moments.

A recent example is DJ Snake and Lil Jon's "Turn Down for What." Sports was a main driver in making that song a hit, and the bond between music and sports will get even stronger because of social media. Twitter gives me more access to what athletes are listening to -- five years ago, you had no idea what resonated in the locker room. Now Kevin Durant tweets how much he loves Dej Loaf. When I see that, I'll email the leagues or the networks and say: 'This is happening. This is organic. Let's try to maximize this.'"