Nearly 7 years ago, Kevin King read a book entitled The Future of Music while working at Sony Music in New York City. The basis of the book dramatically changed the course of Kevin’s career. Sensing the shift in the music business, Kevin headed west to San Francisco and spent almost 5 years working closely with up and coming startups at the time, including iTunes, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, Napster and Real Networks.
Kevin has worked at most of the major labels during his 10 year music career. Most recently, he has devoted his career and passion to social and mobile music. He is currently the CEO of MusicHype, a social music and fan engagement platform specializing in the music vertical. MusicHype gathers, identifies and recognizes top fans based on their organic behavior.
MusicHype is powered by the Appreciation Engine, a proprietary technology which labels and artists can tap into to empower top fans. MusicHype has worked with OK GO, Thievery Corporation, Ke$ha, Manchester Orchestra, Sony, Warner Music Group, Cody Simpson, DoubleCross Vodka, Pledge Music and Eggplant Management.
Kevin sits on 2 advisory boards in the social music space, Blip.fm and Mobbase. He created the Blip.fm Sessions and executed more than 20 sessions with artists including: Plain White T’s, Gomez, Good Old War, One Eskimo and The Temper Trap. At Mobbase, Kevin has brought on more than 600 artists who utilize the platform to build and distribute mobile apps.
What are you working on right now?
MusicHype, 24/7. Although I would probably be doing this even if it wasn’t work. Currently, I am working with our team and the awesome guys at Pledge Music.
Where did the idea for MusicHype come from?
MusicHype was the brainchild of Jeff Mitchell and Annabel Youens in Wellington, New Zealand. Both Jeff and Annabel are big music fans and were shocked to learn that to date, music fans are rarely recognized for their affinity for various artists. With the advent of social and mobile, the time is right to change that.
What does your typical day look like?
A great deal of Skyping, product refinement and lots of in-person relationship building or schmoozing.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Being a latchkey kid most of my adolescence afforded me the ability to day dream a lot. The backs of envelopes and my lovely wife help bring ideas into executable phases.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
On-demand streaming music and leaning on the power of the crowd to help find and love new music.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I worked in the toy department at Brendle’s department store in Kinston, NC. I was 16 and was passionate about electronics, not kids toys. I learned that we are best suited to flourish when we understand and express our true passions in life; actually, make that what you do to earn money.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I wound have taken a few coding classes in the early 2000’s.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Trust your instinct and your gut.
Also, a favorite lesson I learned years ago while taking an Upright Citizens Brigade course was that when you’re taught improv, your first lesson is “yes-and.” So much of life is filled with “but,” “or,” and the flat-out “no.” “Yes” builds scenes. “Yes” builds ideas. The goal is to start thinking, “yes, I’ll accept your idea without debate.”
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Shared calendars are a huge problem for the vast amount of connected people and mobile device users around the world. I’ve tried them all, even Google Calendar. There is still room for a super simplistic shared calendar.
Tell us a secret.
I have an abnormal affinity for shoes.
What are your three favorite online tools and what do you love about them?
- Skype – I practically live on Skype, speaking to colleagues, thought leaders and clients around the world. I think Skype is one of the biggest developments in our society. I was able to interview for my role as CEO of MusicHype over Skype, having never met one person from the company in person. Amazing!
- 37 Signals (Basecamp/Highrise) – I like it for its ease of use, accountability and organization.
- Rdio/Spotify – I hear lots of new songs every day from artists I would have never heard of otherwise.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Hands down, The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk. No matter which line of business you are in, from fashion to publishing, music to mechanics, you are nowhere without customers and fans. The Thank You Economy lays out the best practices for engaging your consumer and fans in an organic and unobtrusive manner. This book is at the heart of what we are building at MusicHype.
What’s on your playlist?
If you weren’t working on MusicHype, what would you be doing?
I would be helping the world discover music via friends with the help of GrooveShark, Rdio, Spotify, Blip.fm and Deezer.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
- @pmabray – The godfather of reinventing the wine industry.
- @bigchampagne – The godfather of reinventing the music industry.
- @Oatmeal – Over the top funny.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
Who is your hero?
Do you use LinkedIn for more than a job resource site?
Yes, I use LinkedIn 15 to 20 times a day for networking. In fact, I pay for the premium service so I can reach out to anyone who makes sense to know for our business.
Are you experiencing Facebook fatigue?
Yes, I’m using Path more and more every day.
[box type=”note” border=”full” icon=”none”]This interview wouldn’t have been possible without a generous introduction by Paul Mabray. [/box]