Updated: Feb 24
Although this year has certainly been a challenging one for the music business, it has also allowed for incredible accomplishments and social progress. As 2021 comes to a close, we wanted to take this chance to highlight some of the most influential and promising young entrepreneurs in the music industry for this year. The music business is one of the broadest industries in the world, and the projects that fans love only get accomplished due to hard work from expansive teams of talented industry professionals. These important players in the music industry are so often overlooked and under-appreciated, and as a young person within the competitive music business, it is nearly impossible to find a spotlight. In order to combat these common oversights, we have curated a list of 5 young professionals who represent the future of the music industry. These individuals along with countless other up-and-coming entrepreneurs give the current industry hope for what is to come in the future, and the innovative ideas of these talented break-through creatives deserve all the recognition in the world.
1. Justin Goldman, 22:
Kicking off our list is 22 year old Justin Goldman. Having graduated from the Bandier Program for Recording and Entertainment Industries at Syracuse University just last year, this young manager and entrepreneur has already made quite the impression on the music industry. During his time in college, Justin has represented huge names in hip-hop including Flo-Milli, Yung Gravy and Jashiah for their record and publishing deals through his management company Pr1me Sound. During his junior year, Justin announced the formation of JustGold, his record label distributed by Caroline, a division of the Capitol Music Group. At the young age of 20, Goldman had already established himself as a manager and businessman, signing well known artists such as Millie Go Lightly straight out of the label's official launch. Prior to the creation of JustGold, Justin held A&R internships at 300 Entertainment and Atlantic Records, as well as music magazine The Fader where he further developed his superb skills in recognizing talent. In the last few years, Justin has made even more strides in his management career, having negotiated millions in record publishing contracts for huge names within the industry, and his label has become a significant player in the music business. His recent success even earned him a spot in Forbes Music 30 under 30 list for 2021. Justin Goldman’s career has just begun, and with the long list of achievements he has completed thus far, we can expect amazing things as he progresses in the music industry.
2. Arjun Mehta, 25
Next up we have CEO and Co-Founder of Moment House, Arjun Mehta. Back in 2019, Arjun combined his passion for music with his skills in product design and software engineering to launch Moment House, a digital platform for high-concept live- stream music performances and other online ticketed performances. After being funded by several investors including Scooter Braun, he built a company of over 50 employees that hosted Clive Davis’ private virtual Grammy gala this year as well as presented web concerts by Tame Impala, St. Vincent and Kygo. Now at the age of 25, Mehta has hosted events with high profile celebrities and even oversaw the ticketing for Justin Bieber's New Year's Eve livestream. Arjun graduated from University of Southern California’s renowned Jimmy Lovine/ Dr. Dre music business program back in 2018, and he has been unstoppable in his entrepreneurial endeavors ever since. He has been recognized time and again for his creative techniques, and just recently, Variety named him one of Hollywood’s New Leaders of 2021. Moment House’s innovative outlook on the live music industry has made their success quite impactful on today’s music business. Since its launch, the company has produced over 700 “moments,” and in addition to securing $13.5 million in funding from investors including Scooter Braun, Jared Leto and Halsey, Arjun and his team are helping artists and performers become more creative about what they can offer their superfans.
3. Olivia Rudensky, 24
24 year old Olivia Rudensky is living every superfan’s dream. After several years of running a popular fan account for Miley Cyrus, she scored the role of official Marketing & Digital head on the singer’s team. At just 12 years old, Rudenskey was the owner of Cyrus’s most followed social media update account, and since then she has worked tirelessly to turn her passions into a career. Rudensky attended Syracuse University’s Bandier Program for Recording and Entertainment Industries up until 2019 where she perfected her management and music marketing skills. Now in her role within Miley Cyrus’s team, Olivia leads all things digital outreach and fan engagement, and this year, she executive-produced Cyrus' quarantine Instagram Live talk show 'Bright Minded: Live with Miley,' which amassed more than 10 billion digital impressions. Olivia is also the CEO and founder of Fanmade, which is a digital platform that utilizes the fan perspective to create personalized marketing campaigns for artists, brands, and influencers. Just recently, Olivia’s many accomplishments have landed her a spot on Forbes 30 Under 30 list, and her potential within the music business is impossible to ignore. In such a short time, Olivia has built up an eclectic resume, proving herself as an entrepreneur, manager, and influencer. Her unique origin story gives her an in depth understanding of the fan perspective, and her creative approach to digital marketing makes the projects she works on extremely influential to the ever changing music industry.
4. Rakiyah Marshall, 29
Long Island native Rakiyah Marshall is truly an inspiration to every young girl that aspires to make her mark on the music industry. This 29 year old entrepreneur is experienced in many aspects of the music industry, and the combination of her eclectic resume and self-starter mindset has allowed her to turn heads with her innovations within the music business. Rakiyah Marshall took the time at home during the pandemic to create her own business called Back Blocks Music. She took the leap from her corporate job to become the CEO and founder of this Nashville-based independent music publishing and development company after observing how social platforms such as Tiktok prove to be a perfect opportunity to scout out talented yet unsigned artists. The company name Back Blocks Music accurately portrays Rakiyah’s refreshing approach to developing artists using innovative and original tactics. Marshall graduated from Seton Hall University in 2013, where she studied broadcasting, interactive media, and business administration. Prior to creating her own company, Marshall worked at Universal Music Group as a marketing and promotions coordinator, which eventually turned into a full time job. Over the span of her career so far, she has racked up many accomplishments and honors including becoming a member of the Recording Academy, a 2021 Billboard Power Player, and being named Country Swag’s Women of the Month this last February. Along with running her business, Marshall is an advocate for female empowerment within the music business. In an attempt to inspire young girls, she has said, “As a female, confidence is key. We can do whatever we want and how we want to do it and be great at it. There is nothing that can stop us, not a man, not a corporation, nothing. We are powerful and we are amazing.” The music industry can expect huge things for Back Blocks Music thanks to the progressive action of Rakiyah Marshall.
5. Gibson Hazard, 24
One name constantly being brought up in conversation about the current music business is Gibson Hazard. At just 24 years old, this music photographer, videographer and director is making his mark on the music industry, having established a name for himself through his extensive resume and work with high-profile artists. Gibson Hazard is notorious for his fresh approach to video and photo production techniques in music, and his unique talent for placing audio in creative, yet functional ways has made him one of the top videographers in the business. Hazard is based in Los Angeles, and during the last 4 years, he has worked on massive projects that range from tour and music videos to producing a series of visuals to correspond with the Record of the Year Nominees at this year's Grammys. He got his gig at the Grammys after producer Ben Winston approached him to help make the often middle-aged ceremony feel more relatable to young fans, and he stepped up to the challenge in order to create an engaging experience for all viewers. His extensive resume includes creating tour videos, music videos and promotional visuals for high-profile artists including Drake, Lil Nas X, Lil Uzi Vert, Billie Eilish, Diddy and more. This promising young content producer has worked to develop a platform and brand for his work. He has proved himself as a successful businessman and entrepreneur as well, having created his own production company, Hazard Studios, to create and promote his projects. In 2018, he worked with 7 time Grammy Award winner Billie Eilish to create the video accompanying her Where’s My Mind Tour, and just last November, he co-directed Lil Nas X’s “HOLIDAY” video. At 16 years old, Hazard began selling custom tour posters on eBay made from album covers. This inspired him to create designs with photos of his own, introducing him to the world of tour photography. He first experimented with videography techniques while on tour with William Bolton, where he was asked to make videos documenting the group’s daily life. Hazard made the decision to pursue music photography full-time a few years back after dropping out of Chapman University. His expertise has extended beyond the music industry as well, with projects like Kobe Bryant’s tribute and Nike visuals. Gibson Hazard is a creator unlike anyone else in the industry, and his talent has just recently landed him a spot on Forbes bestowed 30 Under 30 list. His innovative ideas and savvy skills provide the ideas and talents that the progressive music industry is looking for.
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