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.
They may not get the shine of the DJs on stage, but they work just as hard making sure the parties are packed, the music is perfect, and that the artists are where they need to be. We’ve decided to shine the light on the behind the scenes movers and shakers that are helping you making you move and shake.
Today we highlight Pete Gross, the Director of Music and Entertainment at Summit (summit.co) where he books and curates all talent and also drives all of Summits music initiative. Current and past projects focus around building a studio, distribution of live music, and organizing festivals and events on the mountain.
Pete also runs KPG Entertainment Group which operates in the following areas: artist management, talent buyer, brand integration
How did you start your career in the electronic music business?
Throughout my college years at Villanova I worked for Live Nation at their venues across Philadelphia including The Tweeter Center, Electric Factory, Festival Pier, TLA, The Tower etc. I also started an independent concert & event promotion company while in school and ending up producing an event a week for 2-3 years. Electronic Music was always a passion of mine, so working events with LN or actually booking artists and producing events sparked my passion.
What is the best part of the business?
I think the overall progression and promise of where it will go. Not necessarily the direction but the potential of influence and exposure EDM offers. While its been present in many countries for a long time, the past 5 years have really pushed it into the limelight. EDM bursting into a multitude of sub-genres. Artists touring all over the world, playing shows in countries that never had been able to host them. DJs collaborating with some of the biggest non EDM artists in the world. The potential of where this could all go is huge…just depends on how it will unravel.
What are the biggest challenges?
I think EDM has to be very careful with its image. While its been around for a long time, its just hit the US and many people are still naïve of what it fully encompasses. There’s a lot of negative press around the genre yet an opportunity for artists, event producers, etc to change that image and make it positive.
What career advice would you recommend to someone just starting off?
Experience as much as you can, through that you’ll be able to find the specific area you want to work and specialize in. Hustle and work hard. Always work harder than your boss. Squeaky wheel gets the grease.
As the EDM industry continues to grow, what do you think the secrets to longevity in this business will be?
The brand and the ability to adapt to an every changing industry. The music industry is so tough for some to survive long term because of all the new and changing components that make it up. As we’ve seen with the festival scene, more and more are coming up, some have failed and gone under, some have survived and are crushing it. The businesses that can establish a brand and not necessarily sell just what their events/labels offer, but more so the community they have been able to curate and the experience they create, will be the ones to flourish long term.
What does electronic music mean to you?
It’s a cool movement, and a movement I’m happy to be on the ride... so many of my friends are as well. In reality, most people don’t experience the amount of music/shows etc as us industry cats do. So to be able to utilize electronic music and create an event/experience where anyone can come from their regular life, let loose, and party with friends is something really special to me. This is music in general, or what live events provide and offer. Just happy I can do the same using electronic music.
What cities/regions do you think electronic dance music is best thriving?
Well you have all the majors that for the most part have held it down for a while. Domestically, LA, SF, NYC, Chicago, Miami. We’ve seen Vegas come to take of the top positions in recent years buy more so growing so far because of the money and the scene it offers, not necessarily growing organically like all other markets have to. Boston’s been doing some good numbers, Austin as well. Besides you traditional Euro markets, South America is the next continent/region to explode. It already has.
If you weren’t in the music biz, what would you be doing?
That’s a good question…trying to start a business in some other sector.