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.
Meet Jeff Rimmer - the man behind BEATGASM. He's shaping music streaming with his passion for emerging talent, live experiences and sense of community within the scene. Jeff and his team will be throwing one of the largest parties at Miami Music Week, FREE with download of the BEATGASM app. Be sure to stop by the BEATGASM Hotel at The Clevelander Hotel to catch some of the best DJs in the world!
How did you start in the music industry?
I started in radio. I worked as a board-op and then worked my way up to on-air and then switched over to the digital side of things. Simultaneously, I was always involved with making music and I started a recording studio in Virginia Beach. I also started a music program for teens who were homeless or living in domestic violence shelters. It was an afterschool/weekend program where they could learn to write, record, sing and play instruments in a real studio environment.
Did your career introduce you to electronic music or were you always a fan?
I was always a fan of electronic music. I used to throw parties (and by parties, meaning just us – no one ever came) with my little sisters and we would use hangers and other props and act like we were performing. I would do this alone as well a lot, and probably still do :)
During the time I had my studio in Virginia Beach, it was a hot bed for hip-hop. Pharrell, Timbaland, Missy Elliott, Clipse and Teddy Riley are all from Virginia Beach and all had studios here. I worked a lot with hip-hop but I would always infuse electronic and early 90s dance sounds into my productions.
How has the business evolved since your early years
I think the biggest change has been the shift from labels and radio stations deciding who and what the hits are to fans becoming the true tastemakers. Because of social media, fans are driving and pushing artists more than labels could ever do just on their own. Before, “underground artists” were just that; underground. Now they are underground with 3 million followers and sold out gigs. This is why the discovery element of BEATGASM is so important to me.
If you could offer advice to someone just starting out what would it be?
Dream. Keep your dream, whatever it is, alive and well. Keep that as your motivation to remain passionate. Take that passion and make your dream as big as possible no matter how far-fetched it seems.
So, What is BEATGASM?
BEATGASM is electronic music. We are a digital platform that is dedicated solely to electronic music. We offer streaming music via curated stations, partner stations, local stations and user-generated stations. We have a team of DJ’s who spend their nights playing in front of crowds and their days behind our platform curating the best and most relevant stations. We are a brand, a community and overall a continued experience of what electronic music really captivates. We bridge the gap between live experience and digital streaming.
What inspired you to launch the concept?
As the VP of Digital Strategy for Max Media (a TV/Radio group), I oversaw our digital platforms across the US. We had a station in Denver that was dedicated to EDM. The station had to flip formats and we moved it online. It was getting a lot of buzz. At that time, I decided to go to the owners of Max Media and an investor in NYC and create BEATGASM as its own entity that could be a national (and soon to be international) digital platform. One of the biggest inspirations for me with BEATGASM was the fact that I never could really get my music heard the way that I wanted to. I wanted to create a space where up and coming artists could be aligned with the heavy hitters but actually get the attention and focus they deserve.
What differentiates BEATGASM from other streaming platforms?
Other than the fact we are dedicated only to electronic music, there are different variations but here are 3 to highlight:
1) Our local stations – we cater to each city that we have. Electronic music sounds different in every city, we want to fully represent those sounds. We also want to promote the local music and musicians that are in each of those scenes/communities.
2) Our experiential side of things - we are fully integrated with live music. That’s where the emotion really is. We aren’t just a digital platform and don't want to just live online or on someone’s phone. Music is about experience and we would be missing the mark if we didn't incorporate that. This is why we are launching with our Miami Music Week event – THE BEATGASM Hotel.
3) Music Discovery – I think this phrase is truly played out but we dive into on a deeper level. Sure, there are other platforms that help you discover music and do a good job of it. However, we are truly dedicated to giving up & coming artists the outlet and voice they deserve. Artists can submit to us their tracks and our team of curators find where their music fits and programs them in our stations alongside of the larger names and mainstream artists. Most digital platforms right now give you the opportunity to upload your music but rely on you alone to self-promote your music. We are that promotional vehicle. This portion of our platform is going to grow tremendously – we have big ideas that will be implemented soon.
Emerging artists can submit their music for thousands of users to hear, do you hope to play a major role in the success of fresh talent?
We aren't trying to become a record label or compete with record labels, what we do want to do is provide a platform where people can happen upon you and don’t have to know your name or your tracks. They’ll discover you organically through streams curated to their taste. We want to help artists reach the right listeners ears just as much as we want listeners to be able to find and discover new talent and sounds that they like. We just want to freshen up music discovery.
How has technology helped or hindered the evolution of music streaming?
I think technology has been a huge asset. Napster did a lot of good and some damage to the industry. Napster was great because it opened up the floodgates for people to realize that there could be a new and effective medium to distribute music. The problem was that there was such a bitter and negative taste in everyone’s mouth after “the fall of Napster,” that strict rules and regulations went into play that make it difficult for digital music providers and can ultimately hinder the growth of the industry. I personally think that BEATGASM and other streaming companies are great for the industry and should be viewed as a promotional forum just like radio is, ultimately making them a more robust music discovery platform. We really believe there is a solution that can be made between the streaming companies and the labels and that everyone should work together for the betterment of the industry. On another note, I think other streaming providers are not hitting the mark when it comes to music discovery because they are too focused and rely on algorithms and recommendation engines that have to cover multiple genres. That’s why we are focused on only one – so that music discovery doesn't remain at the surface.
What is your end goal for your listeners?
Our end goal is wherever our listeners take it - we have a vision of cultivating a community that spans a digital and physical environment, where listeners can go to discover the latest tracks and sounds and movements within the industry with one another. We are both an artist and fan-driven platform and we remain fluid so that we can allow the artists and fans to really shape our outcome. We will also be expanding to listeners in Latin American and Europe, which can really change the game of us bringing global music to a local scale.
Tell us a bit about THE (FREE) BEATGASM HOTEL [MUTTE MIAMI] PARTY at the Clevelander Hotel next week?
Basically this is our coming out party. We wanted to do something that represented our beliefs and focus of music discovery and experience. So we chose to take over The Clevelander (the center of all of South Beach) and rebrand it as The BEATGASM Hotel. We have over 140 Djs over a 4-day period. These artists all vary in their career, we wanted up and comers side by side with the bigger names and all in between. We wanted to have the newer guys playing with the staples of the industry and those guys who have been doing it for over a decade. Basically we wanted to pay tribute to the industry itself and do it in the form that is only fitting, a 4-day party.
Can we expect more surprises from BEATGASM this festival season?
Our plan is to be at the festivals without being in them - we want to amplify the experience outside of the event. The festivals are well-oiled machines, and we want to add to that experience without diluting ourselves at an already awesome event. But yes, many more surprised to look forward to.
Don't forget to download the free app for FREE entrance to the BEATGASM Hotel Pool Party, commencing Thursday March 26th to Sunday March 29th.
Doors open at noon sharp and close at 5:00am!