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In an industry struggling to transform in order to thrive in a rapidly changing and increasingly digital market, a young beatmaker turned renowned music producer found an opportunity to change how music artists interact with brands by becoming a disruptive entrepreneur.

When Alex “da Kid” Grant began creating beats in his bedroom, he didn’t have his sights set on the entrepreneur’s life. But a passion to elevate music and a penchant for questioning the status quo led him to wild success.

After years of producing some of the most popular hits for artists like Eminem, Rihanna, Dr. Dre, and Imagine Dragons under his record label KIDinaKORNER, Alex was perplexed with the fragmentation he saw between artists and brands eager to leverage their star power to get attention for their products. “I just kept seeing artists agreeing to work with brands out of necessity rather than the relationship aligning with their true artistic roots,” Alex shared.

“I kept asking myself why it had to be that way. Both the artists and the brands seek similar things: they both want to be relevant in today’s culture.” Yet, artists feel forced to do things that don’t align with their artistic values, often feeling like they must “sell part of their soul” to earn a living.

The music industry has struggled with declining sales for nearly twenty years due to online file sharing and streaming, and artists are increasingly pressured to make deals with brands in order to succeed. Adding pressure to the pot is the simple fact that it is becoming more and more difficult to get attention—as an artist or a brand—in a world inundated with noise.

Enter Alex da Kid

Alex understood that people make purchases based on emotion, and music—the most primitive form of communication—inherently conjures up emotional reactions in people. He saw an opportunity to bring together brands and artists in new ways that helped brands gain more attention while allowing artists to express themselves in ways that preserve their artistic integrity.

In partnership with WPP, the world’s largest communication services group, KIDinaKORNER has quickly transformed itself into a multimedia creative agency. Alex’s role in this process is key. Because he can relate to and resonate with artists, he’s able to bring together artists and brands to collaborate so both parties win and feel fulfilled.

“The timing was right,” Alex shares. “Most brand marketers were failing to understand the power of music and sound as a fundamental core of their campaigns, often only thinking about music as an afterthought. We are now able to create multimedia campaigns that not only get peoples’ attention, but keep their attention.”

KIDinaKORNER is building a reputation as a one-stop-shop for creation, production, strategy and media planning that pairs artists with brands in ways that provide space to innovate. Their growing list of clients includes JEEP, Budweiser, IBM, Target and Southwest.

When I asked Alex about his vision for KIDinaKORNER, he replied, “My goal is to have no barriers to ideas. Success in today’s market is all about innovation and disguising yourself is becoming more and more difficult. You just have to have great ideas.”

Alex sees an opportunity for new, smaller and more agile companies to move into the aging music industry. Companies that are intentionally built to compete and add value in today’s shifting landscape. “The big, established labels are established for a reason – their business model worked really well for a long time. But wholesale changes to the way people experience music has provided the opportunity and the need for a new generation of competitors unbound by yesterday’s legacy. That’s what I’m building,”  says Alex.

 

This article was found on Forbes.com