TMWRK co-founders and Diplo's managers Andrew McInnes and Kevin Kusatsu lead Billboard's annual list of industry execs pushing dance & electronic music forward.
In a year when dance music continued to achieve radio crossover and style-spanning expansion, the genre also saw new players arise and familiar faces maintain their prominence.
The list was premiered by Anna Lunoe on her Beats 1 radio show, but here, we proudly present in full Billboard's annual Dance Power Players list of the top managers, live leaders and tastemakers who are driving the $7.3 billion global dance music industry, unranked and listed alphabetically after executive of the year.
The savvy shot-callers who helped their artists gain an audience in an ever-changing scene.
TMWRK’s star client Diplo had another massive year, releasing a pair of EPs under his own name, music with Sia and Labrinth as part of the trio LSD and as Silk City, his project with Mark Ronson. The latter duo’s hit “Electricity” spent 26 weeks on Hot Dance/Electronic Songs and won the Grammy for best dance recording. Diplo continued his longstanding Vegas residency, completed his goal of playing in all 50 states and announced a left-of-center booking at next month’s country music festival Stagecoach. Billboard Dance’s 2019 Executives of the Year, TMWRK has a deep client roster that also includes A-Trak and Cashmere Cat.
Billboard Dance’s 2019 Executives of the Year
Adam Alpert, 38 | CEO, Disruptor Records/Selector Songs
Alpert turned in another big year with his management client The Chainsmokers. The duo dropped their sophomore LP Sick Boy, which hit No. 53 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on Dance/Electronic albums. This fall The Chainsmokers embark on their World War Joy arena tour. They’ll bring along 5 Seconds of Summer, collaborators on “Who Do You Love,” a No. 5 Hot Dance/Electronic Songs hit. Meanwhile, Alpert’s client Lost Kings converted their popularity to hard ticket sales on a winter tour that included a number of sold out shows, while his group Young Bombs signed to Astralwerks. All three acts are playing Ultra Miami.
Matt Colon, 41 | Manager, YM&U Group Lawrence Vavra, 41 | Manager, YM&U Group
Colon and Vavra’s L.A.-based operation was acquired in 2017 by UK management company James Grant Group, which in turn sold to private equity firm Trilantic Europe last September. Now housed under the newly-created YM&U umbrella, Deckstar added rising star CRAY to its roster in 2018, while long-time partner Steve Aoki hit No. 89 on the Hot 100 with his BTS collaboration, “Waste It On Me.” Aoki also collaborated with fellow Deckstar client Blink-182 on “Why Are We So Broken” for his Neon Future III album.
Watse De Jong, 35 | Owner/Artist Manager, Watse Matter
2018 was another whirlwind year for De Jong’s star client Martin Garrix. The Dutch producer returned to the Billboard Hot 100 with his Khalid team-up, “Ocean” (No. 78), followed by the five-track Bylaw EP on his own STMPD RCRDS. De Jong helped drive the three-year-old label’s busiest run yet, with a focus on new talent like EAUXMAR and BeauDamian and a series of curated showcases at Tomorrowland, ADE and Ultra Miami. While overseeing the state-of-the-art STMPD recording studio in his hometown of Amsterdam, De Jong also co-owns Rollin Potato, a food truck company serving authentic Dutch fries at festivals across Europe.
Adam Foley, 43 | Manager, Red Light Management
Foley’s breakout client ODESZA spent 2018 touring their Grammy-nominated album A Moment Apart, with the extended run’s final show set for July at Los Angeles State Historic Park. The Seattle duo officially released live favorite “Loyal” in September, coinciding with its placement in an iPhone commercial with 25 million views on YouTube. Their A Moment Apart Remixes package garnered over 1.5 million plays on Spotify. Fellow Red Light client Bonobo also toured heavily in support of his own lauded album Migration, selling out two shows at London’s 10,000-capacity Alexandra Palace.
Mark Gillespie, 36 | CEO/Owner, Three Six Zero Group
Gillespie’s client Calvin Harris had another huge year, dropping the smash hit “One Kiss,” which earned Harris his first Brit Award. (He also took home the prize for producer of the year.) In addition to Harris’ longstanding Hakkasan Group residency, he landed a residency at Ushuaïa Ibiza and headlines Creamfields UK and Germany’s SonneMondSterne this August. Gillespie also added another massive star, Tiësto, to his roster. This year the Dutch icon had one of the biggest hits of his career with “Jackie Chan,” a collaboration with Dzeko, Post Malone and Preme that’s racked up 425 million Spotify streams.
Stephanie LaFera, 39 | CEO/Owner, Little Empire Music
Since the early 2000s, the Los Angeles-based management company has helped develop the careers of such luminaries as Santigold, Nicole Moudaber, Rufus Wainwright and Galantis. LaFera guides her team smartly, leading initiatives that have seen LEM expand its team and its client base. In early 2019, the company promoted internally and added management representing 12th Planet, Phantoms, Behrouz and more. It also celebrated a Grammy nomination for LEM client CID for best remixed recording, non-classical. “Whether you’re an artist or a manager, it’s just not enough to rest on your past accomplishments," LaFera says. "Constant growth is needed to compete, and we’re going to continue that push in 2019."
John Shahidi, 39 | Co-founder/CEO, Shots Studios Sam Shahidi, 35 | Co-founder/Chief Creative Officer, Shots Studios
After signing Alesso to their roster of digital creators in 2017, the Shahidi brothers helped the superstar DJ hit new career milestones. Produced in-house and directed by their client Rudy Mancuso, Alesso’s “Remedy” video has clocked over 50 million views since August. Shots collaborators Alesso and actress turned singer Lele Pons also signed to Universal Music Group’s 10:22 pm imprint, cementing a new partnership between the label and Shots. In July, the millennial-focused powerhouse inked a Netflix deal for their first music signing, Brazilian singer Anitta, who boasts 36 million followers on Instagram.
Moe Shalizi, 28 | Founder, The Shalizi Group
Shalizi ended his run at Red Light Management to start The Shalizi Group, where he now directs his own team and client roster including Jauz, Ookay and Ghastly. His star client, Marshmello, continued dominating in streaming, touring and radio, becoming the 13th most streamed artist on Spotify and turning in massive collaborations with Bastille (“Happier”) and Chvrches (“Here With Me”). In February, Shalizi and Marshmello pushed boundaries by streaming a show inside the online game Fortnite. 10.7 million fans tuned in. Shalizi Group client Slushii also embarked on a tour in massive rooms in partnership with Up & Up Festival and Monster Energy.
Myles Shear, 26 | Founder, Palm Tree Management and Co-founder, Palm Tree Records
Shear got his big break managing Kygo, but as Founder of Palm Tree Management, he now handles the careers of eight clients including Jhart, Frank Walker, and Justin Jesso. In October of 2017, Shear and Kygo teamed with Sony Music to launch Palm Tree Records. The sublabel tapped former SiriusXM executive Ben Harvey as president. Meanwhile, Shears oversaw Kygo's 2018 Imagine Dragon's collaboration “Born to be Yours” and helped secure a residency with Wynn in Las Vegas.
Tim Smith?, 43 | Founder/CEO, Blood Company
Blood Company’s star management clients, Skrillex and Zedd (the latter co-managed with Dave Rene), both continued their reign at the top of the electronic space. Skrillex played clubs and festivals around the world, was announced as an opening weekend headliner of the new Las Vegas club Kaos and released his massive remix of Travis Scott and Drake’s “Sicko Mode.” Meanwhile, Zedd continued riding the success of his hit “The Middle” feat. Maren Morris (a Hot Dance/Electronic Songs No. 1 hit) and announced his debut Red Rocks show Zedd On the Rocks, which sold out rapidly.
Amy Thomson, 44 | CEO, ATM Artists
After going solo in 2017, Thomson managed DJ Snake's big Latin crossover. His bilingual smash “Taki Taki” featured Selena Gomez, Ozuna and Cardi B and reached No. 11 on the Hot 100 while topping Hot Latin Songs. Snake also launched his own label in 2018, became the fifth artist to hit two billion streams on Spotify and secured a top tier Coachella spot for 2019. Thomson further distinguished herself in 2018 by launching a music business course, all proceeds from which supported mental health charities.
Live music drives the dance music industry. Here are the top bookers and buyers in the business.
James Algate | Executive Vice President of Entertainment of Hakkasan Group
With more than 25 years of entertainment and hospitality experience, Algate leverages residency deals with top established and emerging electronic talents to put Hakkasan Group and its Las Vegas venues among dance fans' bucket lists. He helped secure an exclusive contract with hit-maker Calvin Harris, as well as filled the 2019 roster with celebrated names including Tiësto, Martin Garrix and rare performer Porter Robinson. He looks to the future with residences by Canadian breakout duo Loud Luxury and Jersey up-and-comer 4B. Algate also oversees project design and production at each new Hakkasan Group venue worldwide, including recent openings in Bali, Los Cabos and Jakarta.
Alex Becket, Mac Clark, 38, Maria May, Hunter Williams, 40 | Agents, Creative Artists Agency
Becket was CAA's first electronic music agent, whose clients Rüfüs Du Sol and G Jones enjoyed critically-acclaimed albums and North American tours in 2018. Becket also landed residencies at Wynn in Las Vegas for Bedouin and Lee Burridge. Clark handles megastars The Chainsmokers, guiding the duo's foray into international arena tours and film via Kick The Habit productions. A project with TriStar Pictures based on the group's hit “Paris” is currently in the works. May steered David Guetta's eight-date sold-out European arena tour, as well as secured a 19-week residency at Hï Ibiza for Jonas Blue, a European sold-out tour for Paul Kalkbrenner and more.
Michiel Beers, 42 and Manu Beers, 38 | Co-founders/owners, Tomorrowland
Tomorrowland will celebrate its 15th anniversary this summer across two sold-out weekends in Boom, Belgium, but its co-founders remember a time when the world’s biggest dance festival wasn’t a sure bet. The Belgian brothers, who remain Tomorrowland’s sole owners, struggled to sell 10,000 tickets in the festival’s first two years. In time, their commitment to eye-popping stage design and big-budget lineups paid off. The 2018 edition drew 400,000 attendees from over 200 countries, while millions more watched the live stream. The siblings also staged the first Tomorrowland Winter in the French Alps, led by Boom regulars Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike and Martin Garrix, and launched the One World Radio station to mark the 15-year milestone.
David Brady | Founder, Spin Artist Agency
Brady’s long-running Spin Artist Agency represents big room talent like Drezo, Riva Starr and DVBBS throughout North and South America. The Canadian veteran also books top acts Armin van Buuren, W&W and Fedde Le Grand in his home country. Loud Luxury, the latest Canadian success story in Spin’s camp, capitalized on their hit “Body” with a new Hakkasan Las Vegas residency and key bookings on Electric Zoo’s main stage and Marshmello’s Red Rocks takeover. Meanwhile, fellow Spin signee Oliver Heldens sold out a string of fifth anniversary shows for his label Heldeep.
Alex Cordova, 40 | Managing Partner and Executive VP of Nightlife, Wynn Las Vegas
With three years at the helm of Wynn Nightlife in Las Vegas, Cordova oversees some of the boldest artist bookings on the Strip. In addition to big-ticket draws Diplo, DJ Snake, Alesso and The Chainsmokers at its flagship properties XS Nightclub and Encore Beach Club, Wynn also stages the three-day house and techno festival Art of the Wild featuring Ibiza favorites like Carl Cox and Jamie Jones. With XS celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Cordova locked in star resident Kygo through 2020 and helped engineer Drake’s first-ever run of five performances at the club.
Russell Faibisch, 41 | Co-founder/President/CEO, Ultra Worldwide; Executive Producer/talent buyer, Resistance Adam Russakoff, 48 | Director of Business Affairs, Ultra Worldwide; Executive Producer/talent buyer, Ultra
Swedish House Mafia chose Ultra's flagship Miami festival as the stage upon which to premiere its surprise reunion. It was the big finale for the event's 20th anniversary, and the company's year was well rounded with numerous Ultra and Resistance-branded events throughout Asia, South and Central America and Europe. In late 2018, Ultra survived a sudden shake up when its flagship Miami event failed to renew its contract with the City of Miami. A quick change of plans moved the famous annual festival from its downtown home to Virginia Key, and fans now prove their trust in the brand as they embark on a completely-new UMF experience.
The Brooklyn-based music collective and talent agency had huge reach this year, promoting shows by female-identifying artists in Germany, Italy, Poland, the UK, Canada, Mexico and across the United States. The talent roster includes 19 female-identifying artists, including Juana and Akua, who made their Boiler Room debut in March. The Discwoman founders also penned a piece for The New York Times about nightlife safety and inclusion for woman and non-binary people.
Kevin Gimble | Co-head of Electronic Music, United Talent Agency Steve Gordon | Co-head of Electronic Music, United Talent Agency
The Circle Talent Agency co-founders sold their company to United Talent Agency in 2018, coming on board to steer UTA's electronic music department. They brought with them major signees Kaskade, Marshmello, Illenium and more. Gordon worked closely with Excision to launch the Bass Canyon event, which welcomed 40,000 attendees across three days. He also booked Marshmello's sold-out 22,000 capacity show at L.A.'s Convention Center. The pair worked together on Kaskade's 31,000-ticket Sun Soaked event, the artist's biggest show to date, and secured 70 artists on the bill of EDC Vegas.
Adam Lynn & Zach Ruben | Co-founders, Prime Social Group
The Columbus, Ohio based Prime Social Group remains one of the Midwest’s largest promoters, delivering headliners including Migos, Kaskade, Halsey, Diplo, ODESZA and Khalid to multi-genre festivals including Breakaway and Prime. Under the direction of co-founders Adam Lynn and Zach Ruben, the company sold more than 125,000 tickets in 2018 and this year expands to 11 festivals. Their Prime Brands opened offices in Nashville in 2018, and the newly launched Prime Artists recently closed a six-figure deal for upcoming hip-hop artist Kid Quill.
Paul Morris, 47, Lee Anderson, 37, Sam Hunt, 38, Cody Chapman, 30, Jay Moss?, 32and Matt Rodriguez, 45 | Agents, Paradigm Talent Agency
Paradigm Talent Agency continues its reign as one of the top booking agencies in the dance/electronic space, with clients including Diplo, DJ Snake, Zedd, REZZ, Tiësto, Above & Beyond and ODESZA among the agency’s considerable client list. Major accomplishments this year include REZZ’s 15-city sold out tour, Zedd In The Park, which brought 16,000 fans to the L.A. State Historic Park in July, the launch of ODESZA's destination festival Sundara, Diplo’s renewed Las Vegas residency, Above & Beyond’s best dance recording Grammy nomination and the release of David Guetta’s seventh studio LP.
Randy Phillips, 64 | CEO, LiveStyle Gary Richards, 48 | President of North America, LiveStyle
This Los Angeles-based live event conglomerate has its hands in some of dance music's biggest annual events. In 2018, LiveStyle acquired online electronic music retailer Beatport. Phillips and Richards also helped oversee operations for Disco Donnie Presents Sunset Music Festival in Florida, React Presents Spring Awakening in Chicago, and LiveSyle's flagship festival Electric Zoo in New York, among others. Richards also launched All My Friends, and successfully sold out the inaugural Friendship festival cruise in less than 36 hours before announcing the lineup.
Ferry Rais-Shaghaghi, 32 | Head of Electronic Music, APA
Rais-Shaghaghi was named head of APA's electronic and dance department in June of 2018, and in his short time, he secured Las Vegas residencies for clients Matoma, Chantel Jeffries, Crankdat, Nora En Pure and Sigala. He played an important role in tour strategies for Two Friends, who increased venue sizes and sold out the duo's winter run. Under his leadership, APA secured Nora En Pure's Coachella appearance in April of 2019, and nabbed festival spots for his clients at EDC Las Vegas, Electric Zoo, Lollapalooza, and more, increasing APA's festival business by 33 percent.
To mark the 25th anniversary of his Insomniac juggernaut, Rotella acquired 50 percent of European events company ALDA and debuted two editions of EDC China, in Shanghai and Guangdong. At home, the flagship EDC Las Vegas successfully shifted from June to the cooler climes of May for its 22nd edition, introducing Camp EDC and drawing 400,000 attendees. Ever devoted to the city that made him, Rotella launched the back-to-basics Secret Project festival in downtown Los Angeles and took full operational control of HARD Summer following Gary Richards’ move to LiveStyle. (The 2018 edition hit 165,000 attendees across two days.) In 2019, Insomniac will add EDC Korea and HARD Taiwan to its international portfolio.
Jason Strauss, 45 and Noah Tepperberg, 43 | Co-owners, TAO Group Jonathan Schwartz, 36 | Partner, TAO Group
Since the Madison Square Garden Company acquired a majority stake in TAO Group two years ago, Strauss and Tepperberg’s expansion plans have focused on Asia. This April, a new outpost of TAO’s flagship nightclub brand Marquee opens in Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands hotel. The lavish three-level club boasts a functional indoor Ferris wheel and, thanks to Schwartz’s high-end connections, a first month lineup of Tiësto, Above & Beyond, Afrojack and Steve Aoki. (TAO already opened LAVO at the Marina Bay Sands, with speakeasy Avenue and sushi bar Koma coming in 2019.) With stalwart properties from Las Vegas to Sydney, and recent openings like the Feroce dining concept at New York’s Moxy Chelsea hotel, each new TAO venture takes meticulous planning. “You can’t rush,” Tepperberg told Billboard last June.
Jim Wong | Managing Director, Live Nation Electronic Asia
In 2017, Live Nation tapped seasoned Hong Kong-based promoter Jim Wong to head up its new Live Nation Electronic Asia division. The company’s expansion into China, which officially launched with Tiësto’s ‘Club Life: China’ tour, now includes Chinese offshoots of the Live Nation-owned Creamfields festival in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu. Wong will also stage the first edition of LA festival HARD in Taipei, Taiwan this May.
Joel Zimmerman, 40 | Partner/head of electronic music, WME Samantha Kirby Yoh | Partner, WME
WME star clients Kygo and Calvin Harris all maintained major momentum this year, with Kygo riding the success of 2017’s Kids In Love LP and 2018’s album remix package, and Harris continuing to dominate the charts with his hit “One Kiss.” Up next: Harris launches his Ushuaïa Ibiza residency and headlines Creamfields, and Kygo headlines Electric Forest, Firefly and Hangout Festival. L.A.-based producer Kayzo also joined Zimmerman’s roster at WME this year.
Here are electronic music's most trusted curators, from label executives to streaming upstarts.
Brett Alperowitz | General Manager, Casablanca Records Kristina Grossmann | Sr. Director of A&R, Casablanca Records
2018 saw Casablanca Records build on its esteemed reputation with a crop of present-day success stories. Under Alperowitz’s steady leadership, the label delivered Tiësto’s biggest U.S. hit with “Jackie Chan” (featuring Post Malone, Dzeko and Preme), which spent 19 weeks on the Hot 100, peaking at No. 52. Fellow Casablanca recruit SG Lewis clocked 20 weeks on Billboard's Dance/Mix Show Airplay chart with “Hurting,” featuring AlunaGeorge. Guided by Grossmann’s ear for new talent and senior marketing director Michael Cariglio’s marketing savvy, the label that ruled the disco era stays on the pulse with its ALT:Vision Records partnership, which includes ones to watch Medasin and K?D in its stable.
Andre Benz, 22 | Founder/CEO of The Nations
The Nations' title is becoming more fitting by the day, having now surpassed a collective 40 million YouTube subscribers across its genre-based channels. The massive network is led by Andre Benz, 22, who has taken his knack for discovering talent and created a fully-staffed record label that focuses on artist development. The burgeoning imprint is called Lowly. and has released a whopping 300 songs in 2018 alone. The label spans a multitude of genres and has been a critical springboard for acts such as alt rocker Arrested Youth who recently went on his debut tour as direct support to YUNGBLUD for 20 dates.
Craig Kallman | CEO/co-chairman, Atlantic Records; founder, Big Beat Records Gina Tucci, 36 | GM/head of A&R, Big Beat Records
Started in the then-21-year-old Kallman’s New York bedroom, Big Beat is thriving three decades later, with a roster of commercial chart-toppers and ascendant newcomers. Alongside streaming and radio wins for marquee artists David Guetta, Clean Bandit and Robin Schulz, Galantis recently entered the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart at No. 17 with “Bones” (featuring OneRepublic), and Chromeo earned a 2019 Grammy nomination for their LP, Head Over Heels. Meanwhile, the label’s singles-led approach looks to the future via new recruits like Rebuke and Cloonee. With diversity a key focus at Big Beat (Tucci is one of 15 women on the core staff), the label released over 50 tracks in the past year by or featuring female artists -- many of them A&Red by women under Tucci’s leadership.
Josh Carr-Hilton, 33 | CEO/founder of The District
Vancouver-based media company The District continued putting up big numbers as the management operation for influential online music platforms including Proximity, Trap Nation and MrSuicideSheep. Under the leadership of Founder Josh Carr-Hilton, The District amassed 86 million subscribers and 1.5 billion monthly streams, making it one of the internet’s vastest and most dominant tastemakers.
Blake Coppelson, 25 | Founder/CEO of Proximity
Proximity's lightning bolt emblem has become one of dance music's most recognized symbols, acting as the face of the ever-growing YouTube channel which has accrued nearly 3.5 billion views to date. The curation behemoth, founded by Blake Coppelson, has taken this invaluable asset and leveraged it to form partnerships with entertainment giants like Hakkasan Group, NASCAR and more. Proximity continues to be the go-to hub for pop-fueled dance records from A-listers like Zedd and DJ Snake, as well as booming up-and-comers with crossover appeal.
Mike Darlington?, 29 | Co-founder & CEO of Monstercat
Monstercat is one of the largest and fastest-growing independent labels in electronic dance, partly because Darlington never ceases to innovate. At the start of 2018, Monstercat made room for growth and experimentation with Instinct and Uncaged, two distinct brands within the label umbrella dedicated to melodic sounds and energetic bass tunes, respectively. It marked its presence with large-scale events at Miami Music Week, Amsterdam Dance Event, as well as stages and art carts at Tomorrowland and EDC Vegas. It continued its cross-platform relationship soundtracking the popular video game Rocket League, and earned more than 1.5 billion streams (not including Chinese DSPs) with notable releases including Noisestorm's “Crab Rave,” Conro's EP All Eyes On Me, Stonebank's “What Are You Waiting For” and more.
Geronimo | VP of Electronic and Dance Music Programming, SiriusXM
With a reach of 34 million listeners, Geronimo's six satellite stations help move the needle of the collective industry culture. In 2018, Geronimo broke records including Fisher's “Losing It” and Shallou's “You & Me” with first radio airplay, helped push Loud Luxury's “Body” to international acclaim, and championed rising stars Midnight Kids, PNAU and Porter Robinson's Grammy-nominated side project Virtual Self. When Avicii passed away in late April, he immediately led the charge on a 10-hour broadcast honoring the legendary producer's life and legacy, weaving artist and fan interviews into cuts from his catalog. Geronimo continues to keep SiriusXM relevant as a presence at international dance festivals including Ultra in Miami, Electric Zoo and EDC. He even launched Insomniac Radio on SiriusXM and the popular new channel Diplo's Revolution.
Neil Jacobson, 41 | President, Geffen Records
Two years into his tenure as the President of Geffen Records, Neil Jacobson continued delivering massive hits in the electronic space. This included DJ Snake’s global smash “Taki Taki,” a collab with Selena Gomez, Ozuna and Cardi B that spent 25 weeks on Hot Dance/Electronic Songs, peaking at No. 2. (The track also reached No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100.) Geffen artist Griffyn also had a breakout year, turning in his Gravity Pt. 1 EP and a maintaining a heavy tour schedule that included sold-out dates across the country. Altogether, Geffen artists (including the white-hot Billie Eilish) were streamed roughly 250 million hours on Spotify last year.
Austin Kramer, 34 | Global head of dance/electronic, Spotify
Since 2015, Kramer has been king of Spotify's electronic dance curation. In 2017, he overhauled its electroNOW playlist into mint, the streaming platform's go-to destination for the newest in the genre. In 2018, mint surpassed the five million subscriber mark, celebrating with a charitable line of merchandise in partnership with mental health non-profit To Write Love On Her Arms. Kramer has helped support the rise of future house and melodic bass as well as the return of drum and bass and hardstyle throughout the U.S.
As Beats 1’s tastemaker in chief, Zane Lowe championed electronic music via his World Record and World First features, securing premieres from Disclosure, Diplo and James Blake. On her own Beats 1 show, Lunoe matches Lowe’s talents as a curator and interviewer with her weekly Dance Chart radio show where she champions new, boundary-pushing electronic music. Together the hosts helped Apple Music reach 50 million paid subscribers across 115 countries.
David Massey | President and CEO of Arista Records
The industry veteran spearheaded the re-launch of legendary label Arista Records, building a dynamic team around him and signing viral phenomenon Dynoro with the help of Matthew D'Arduini, svp at Sony Music Entertainment. Dynoro's remake of "In My Mind" has amassed over a billion total streams to date and sets the bar high for the fresh imprint.
Steve Martocci | CEO/co-founder, Splice
After raising $35 million from investors in 2017, Martocci’s music creation and collaboration platform has released sought-after sample packs from the likes of Nicky Romero, Guy Gerber and Deadmau5’s mau5trap roster. Splice, which now boasts 2.5 million users, raised an additional $57 million in its latest funding round. The company also revealed it has paid out $15 million to artists since 2013.
Patrick Moxey, 52 | Founder/president, Ultra Records; president of electronic music, Sony Music David Waxman, 48 | GM/senior VP of A&R, Ultra Records
In 2018, Ultra saw major releases from new and established artists, including Sofi Tukker's Grammy-nominated debut LP, Steve Aoki's Neon Future III, and Black Coffee and David Guetta's international hit “Drive.” The label's YouTube channel surpassed 15 million subscribers and nine billion views. Ultra also made forays into the explosive Asian dance market by launching Asian social media channels and opening an office in Singapore.
Maykel Piron, 44 | CEO/co-founder of Armada Music
Nadine van Bodegraven, 37 | COO
George Hess, 59 | US Label Representative & Radio Promoter
Loud Luxury's “Body” was 2018's song heard 'round the world, and it gave Armada Music its biggest international hit of the year. It's a jam that continues to build momentum, on top of hits from the independent label's big boss Armin Van Buuren, fan favorite Lost Frequencies, ARTY and more. Most recently, Armada signed DubVision and Y.V.E. 48 as well as the UK's Cooltempo Records, Parisian label Yellow Productions and its sub-label Africanism. These additions will further push Armada's international sound, while strong relationships with streaming platforms and radio will ensure the label's music stays spinning worldwide.
Pete Tong, 58 | DJ, BBC Radio 1 Annie Mac, 40 | DJ, BBC Radio 1
Pete Tong’s iconic Essential Mix celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2018, inviting a who’s who of dance music to mix live from BBC Radio 1’s studio. Tong is also continuing his lucrative Ibiza Classics orchestra tour into 2019, with two shows booked at London’s O2 Arena. Meanwhile, Mac uses her radio platform, Annie Mac Presents event series and Lost & Found festival to promote gender equality and emerging talent.
Ben Turner, 45 | Co-founder, IMS/AFEM; founder/owner, Graphite Media
Turner’s International Music Summit returned to Ibiza, Spain, in 2018 with a focus on wellness and a show-stopping opening party at IMS Dalt Vila. This year’s 12th edition will address gender equality in the industry, aided by the she said.so network. As co-founder of the nonprofit Association for Electronic Music (AFEM), Turner backed key mental health and harm reduction initiatives, while working behind-the-scenes on his client Richie Hawtin’s CLOSE live shows.
On a decades-long mission to get dance music played on the radio, Promo Only Promotions President Cary Vance is hired by labels to service their records to radio and mixshow programmers. Vance’s efforts have delivered a plethora of tracks to the top of the charts, helping propel the year’s biggest dance hits including Fisher’s “Losing It”, Silk City’s “Electricity” and Marsmello feat. Bastille’s “Happier.”
Toby Andrews | General Manager, Astralwerks Jeremy Vuernick | EVP A&R, Capitol Music Group; head of A&R, Astralwerks
After moving its headquarters from New York to the iconic Capitol Tower in Los Angeles, the 25-year-old Astralwerks pulled off a bold future-focused relaunch. With Andrews overseeing a team of new hires as GM, Vuernick came on board to head the label’s reenergized A&R department. The team’s early wins included the signing and release of Marshmello’s blockbuster single “Happier,” featuring Bastille, which peaked No. 2 on the Hot 100 and went double platinum in the U.S. Astralwerks also released Fisher’s runaway hit “Losing It,” earning a Grammy nod and the producer’s first No. 1 on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart. 2019 promises new albums from stalwarts the Chemical Brothers and new signee Illenium, while last year’s Ninjawerks compilation partnered the label with esports celebrity Ninja.
Luis Estrada | Managing Director, Aftercluv, Universal Music Latin America
Estrada, who joined Universal Mexico in 2001 and swiftly opened its New Trends Division, remains a tireless champion for dance music in Latin America, Mexico and the Iberian Peninsula. Now at the helm of Aftercluv, Universal Music Latin America’s multifaceted dance division, Estrada oversees operations in nine countries and a roster of 13 artists that includes Mexico’s electrocumbia sensation Raymix, whose breakout hit “Oye Mujer” spent 31 weeks on the Hot Latin Songs chart in 2018. The exec regularly collaborates with global superstars eager to break Latin America, guiding successful campaigns for Axwell and Ingrosso, Alesso and Tiësto. Aftercluv also introduced house and techno festival The Social to Mexico City and Bogotá, Colombia.
Kush Fernando | Co-Founder – Brownies & Lemonade Jose Guzman | Co-Founder – Brownies & Lemonade Chad Kenney | Chief Creative Officer – Brownies & Lemonade
This Los Angeles-based party brand hasn't taken a week off in nearly three-and-a-half years, hosting secret guest lineups in warehouses and club venues around the city boasting huge stars from Skrillex to Alison Wonderland, Madeon and more. B&L has taken its show on the road to host stages at Ultra Miami, EDC Vegas, Holy Ship and more, and its lineups have proven to be breeding grounds for the electronic dance stars of tomorrow.
Robby Engle, 27 | Dance Programmer/Editor – Apple
In 2018, Engle helped Apple's dance listenership by nearly 40 percent. He relaunched, rebranded and reskinned its dance playlists, including changing A-List Dance to danceXL in March 2019. He overhauled the Beats 1 One Mix show to better showcase emergent talent while offering DJ guests choice of theme. Engle oversaw the launch of weekly DJ Mixes including sets from deadmau5's TESTPILOT, Carl Cox, and Major Lazer, and he secured an extended version of Marshmello's popular Fortnite set.
Lori Giamela | VP of Rhythm Promotion, RCA Records Rob Inadomi | Senior Director of A&R, RCA Records Matt Goldman | Senior Director of Marketing, RCA Records As vp of rhythm promotion, Giamela helped push five tracks to the top of Billboard's Dance Club Songs chart in 2018, including Alan Walker, Noah Cyrus and Digital Farm Animals' “All Falls Down” and Kygo's Miguel collaboration “Remind Me To Forget.” Inadomi expanded RCA's dance roster, signing Oliver Heldens and more alongside his duties running A&R for Walker, Kygo, Lost Kings and Martin Garrix. Goldman spearheaded Walker's marketing for 2018 album Different World, as well as The Blaze's DANCEHALL and Lost Kings' Paper Crowns.
Ben Hogan |Agent, United Talent Agency
The United Talent agent oversees a roster including NGHTMRE, Slander, Snails, Ookay, Elohim and Goldfish. Snails sold over 70,000 tickets during his 54-date fall tour, which included a massive Red Rocks show in October. NGHTMRE sold out cross-country venues including The Shrine, The Bill Graham Civic and Terminal 5 and has a summer festival schedule including Coachella, Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo. Meanwhile Slander had their biggest tour to date last fall, with their two Palladium shows in Los Angeles selling over 7,000 tickets.
Lionel Marciano | Manager, Black Coffee, Virgil Abloh (DJ)
Under Marciano's watch, South African house producer Black Coffee played influential venues and events including Terminal 5 and Tulum’s Day Zero, while also continuing his residency at the Wynn in Las Vegas. Marciano also locked in a Wynn residency and festival sets at HARD Summer, Oasis Festival and more for his client, the fashion designer and producer Virgil Abloh.
Nick Royaards, 32 | Manager, Tomorrowland Artist Division
Royaards and Michiel Beers direct Tomorrowland’s artist division, where they oversee the management of Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Lost Frequencies and 3 Are Legend (DV&LM & Steve Aoki). Together, Royaards and Beers produce and manage DV&LM’s event concepts including House of Madness, Garden of Madness and Bringing The Madness. The 2018 edition of the latter show attracted 84,000 in fans in Belgium last December. The arena concept has also seen sold-out shows in Mexico and Germany. Playing more than 150 shows in 2018, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike return to Ushuaïa Ibiza this summer for their weekly residency. Royaards and Beers also manage Belgian artist Lost Frequencies, who has amassed almost two billion streams in less than five years.
Phil Quist | Agent, Creative Artists Agency
Quist has been a key member of the electronic music team since the beginning of his tenure at CAA, helping identify and sign acts including The Chainsmokers, Cheat Codes, Kungs, and Elephante. The TKTT, Quist now represents a cross-section of artists that also includes Fetty Wap and Robin Schulz.
Billy Woodford | Founder, NoCopyrightSounds
NoCopyrightSounds has quietly brewed one of the largest and most loyal digital networks, nearing six billion YouTube views with its 21+ million subscribers. The label's influence goes beyond YouTube, however. Best known for breaking international star Alan Walker with the initial release of "Fade" (which later transformed into global hit "Faded"), NCS has a booming Spotify fanbase as well, with its flagship playlist hosting approximately 620,000 followers.
Contributors: David Rishty, Kat Bein, Katie Bain, Jack Tregoning