Industry Focus: Jon Winter- Head Of A&R, Monstercat
Welcome to Magnetic’s Industry Focus, a series where we highlight the major players working behind the scenes of the EDM biz. These are the folks running the record labels, representing the artists, promoting the shows and just getting it done. Today, we highlight Jon Winter, Head of A&R for Monstercat.
Monstercat has been one of the fastest growing labels in the industry, much of which is attributed to the incredible research on the A&R side of things. Under Jon's dierection, Monstercat has been responsible for discovering now mainstage and future mainstage acts such as Krewella, Pegboard Nerds, Haywyre, Aero Chord, and many more. He's made it more than just a label, as it helps developing artists manage all aspects of their career, making sure that only the highest standards are met and maintained.
Take a read:
How did you start your career in the electronic music business?
In 2010 I met Mike Darlington and several other friends who all shared the same love of electronic music in Waterloo, Ontario. Because I was DJ’ing regularly at that time I came across a lot of exciting music and artists, who I wanted to support. As a group, we then decided the best way to combine our love of electronic music and to help out our friends out was to start a label in order to showcase their talent. Immediately after its inception it began to take off and that’s how Monstercat was born.
What is the best part of the business?
Working with up-and-coming talent is by far my favorite part of being in the industry. Myself, as well as the rest of the music team at Monstercat, always have our eyes and ears open for relatively unknown artists. Being able to work with these artists on their release campaigns and providing them with assistance on career decisions (ie. Signing with management, Booking agents, etc) feels very rewarding. These days it takes more than just making music to be a successful artist and early on it can be very overwhelming for them.
What are the biggest challenges?
I love scavenging the net for new music and new talent but I don’t always have a lot of time for that. It’s something that I wish I had infinitely more time to do because there is so much great music out there, but other label duties will always come first. I spend a good chunk of time each week scouring the net for fresh talent. Even when I’m at home I’ll naturally be looking for new music. It’s one of those challenges will always be there because there’s not enough time in a day, but with so much musical talent out there it’s always worth making time for.
What career advice would you recommend to someone just starting off?
Look beyond the limits and endeavor for that dream career. No matter what it is that you want to do in this industry, there are opportunities out there waiting for you and nothing will be more rewarding than doing what you love. Don’t be afraid to work extra hard, because your hard work and dedication will set you apart from the rest. Most importantly, don’t wait for something to happen, make something happen as it’s the only way to get to do what you love.
As the EDM industry continues to grow, what do you think the secrets to longevity in this business will be?
I think it goes without saying that creating a unique and innovative brand is important if you want stand from the rest of the pack. Think outside the box and be consistent with quality but don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. With Monstercat we are very community oriented and we involve the fans in our journey as much as possible. This is something that I feel hasn’t gone unnoticed and has played a huge role in our success.
Did you start off as a fan of electronic music and then became involved on the business side, or did business bring you into the electronic music world?
I started as a fan of electronic music and learned about the business side of things as time went on. I work with some very knowledgeable co-workers, artist managers, and other industry people who have taught me a lot over these past couple of years. There is a lot to learn, but we have never done things the traditional route. We learned about the electronic music industry as we developed and grew Monstercat, which was great because it meant we were starting from scratch in every aspect and that allowed us the freedom to be innovative in what we do. The best part of us all starting off as fans is that we are constantly looking at what we do with the fans in mind.
Where do you see the most innovation in the EDM industry (i.e. technology, music, experience, nightclubs, behind the scenes, etc)he?
Social media is ever changing and it has always been very interesting to learn how knowing your fans and creating content that is designed for each platform can lead to large amounts of organic growth and even virility when done properly. Social networks are always changing so we have seen a major shift in how artists and labels are adapting, this means using different types of media such as video clips to grab your audience’s attention in their feed.