Pete Gross [Summit]
Pete is the Director of Music and Entertainment at Summit (summit.co) where he books and curates all talent and also drives all of Summit’s music initiatives. Additionally Pete also runs KPG Entertainment Group which operates in the following areas: artist management, talent buying, and brand integration.
It’s inspiring to even be considered influential in the space. The work of my friends and the other people on this list continues to impress me. EDM is in a constant state of transformation and it’s exciting to be a part of the movement.
Stu Hackley [Disco Donnie Presents]
Originally from Annapolis, Maryland, Hackley attended the University of South Carolina, where he graduated with a degree in Sport & Entertainment Management. Although his love of electronic dance music started in 1999, it was in 2010 Hackley first produced a series of college events that sparked his interest in the live entertainment profession. Then in 2012, Hackley began work for Disco Donnie Presents, a position which transformed his adoration for the genre into a talent buying career. Currently, Disco Donnie Presents produces nearly 500 clubs shows annually in over 40 U.S. markets, for which Hackley selects performing talent.
It’s an honor to play the role of the talent buyer as it’s an opportunity to help develop talent and connect it to the fans in the ever-evolving world of dance music.
Ben Hogan [Circle Talent Agency]
Ben Hogan started working professionally in dance music at the age of 17, throwing all ages dance events in Baltimore, MD. Seeing dance music’s imminent rise, Hogan quickly teaming up with Steez Promotions to work on events like Starscape and help cultivate and integrate a younger, fresher audience that would help expand the company’s club events in Baltimore and other northeast markets. Those years spent as a street team leader, ticket hustler, and local promoter in the early bass music scene helped to cultivate Ben’s eventual transition to Circle Talent Agency. The move to Circle would foster Ben’s decision to relocate to Los Angeles at age 22 as a full time agent working under the tutelage of Steve Gordon and Kevin Gimble. Hogan has since then built an impressive roster that spans the full field of genres in dance music, from powerhouse DJ acts like BRO SAFARI, OOKAY, ETC! ETC!, SLANDER and SNAILS to live, production based acts like EOTO and LUCENT DOSSIER EXPERIENCE that tour nationally. Ben has focused on his ability to work with acts from inception and help grow them to the top of the industry. Now at age 25, Hogan has ambition to continue growing his roster and take on more challenges and projects in the near future to reach new heights.
As an Agent, being influential means cultivating a roster that best echoes the current sonic condition – a roster with integrity and forward thinking producers that drive music into the future. Influence is also garnered through leading by example, by being a positive force in the music scene, and by earning trust and respect to the point that people look to you for answers to all of our biggest questions as we grow together.
Latane Hughes [Windish]
Latane Hughes is an agent at The Windish Agency and is based in Los Angeles. He is 29 years old and hails from Houston, Texas, where he cut his teeth in the music business booking, managing, and playing in punk rock bands throughout high school. He graduated from the Thornton School of Music at The University of Southern California in 2008 and began his first job out of school as an assistant at Paradigm Agency in Monterey, CA. He later moved back to Los Angeles where he worked as an assistant at Creative Artist Agency while also promoting and deejaying club nights in LA, as well as serving as a talent buyer for SnowBall festival in Colorado for the first three years of the festival including the founding year. In 2011, he left CAA to join The Windish Agency as a full-time agent. Latane now maintains an extensive roster including some of the biggest headlining acts in the business, some of which include: Flume, Cashmere Cat, John Talabot, Aeroplane, Lido, Snakehips, Bixel Boys, Trippy Turtle, Tiger & Woods, Gryffin, Kap Slap, Party Favor, Wave Racer, and Poolside.
I think that being an influential figure in dance music today means being able to create your own lane while also recognizing, respecting, and helping propel your peers around you. Dance music as a whole has always been about community, both on the fan side and the talent side. I believe the artists that can consistently deliver unique and quality music while also bolstering the musical influence of peer artists end up having the most influence in the electronic music space. An obvious example would be Diplo, who influences both as an amazing deejay/producer and also as a label head who pushes the community forward via Mad Decent, his BBC mix series, and his events. One example that particularly inspires me is DJ Tennis. He is an incredible techno & house deejay who also strongly influences the underground dance community with his Life and Death label, and as if that isn’t enough already, he is also a very well respected European booking agent for a wide range of great deejays in both the underground and mainstream worlds. To that note, the same thinking applies on the business side of dance music. I believe the most influential behind the scene figures are the ones who develop artists into something special while also improving the framework of the existing community in the process. Instead of simply using their business peers (promoters, labels, fellow agents) as stepping stones to success, they also help improve those who have supported them in their rise, which ends up strengthening the community and benefitting everyone in the long run.
Brett Kernan [Splice]
Brett Kernan, 26, does business development at Splice, a tech startup that connects musicians and their tools with the cloud. Splice aspires to transform music creation, collaboration and distribution by applying the principles and technologies that revolutionized computer programming to music producers. To date, Splice has raised $7.3 million from Union Square Ventures, True Ventures, Scooter Braun, Tiesto, Steve Angello, WME, AM Only and others. Joining prior to fundraising as the first employee, Brett has been integral to advancing Splice’s network by acting as the bridge between the software and music industry. Since launching in September, Splice has experienced rapid growth, scaling to over 100k users. Previously, Brett helped grow and launch the redesign of Dancing Astronaut, a popular dance music blog. He also advises several major management groups, record labels, and blogs. Brett resides in New York City.
Being an influencer means creating value by empowering your peers – from connecting dots to envisioning new ideas. The culture of this space is about building each other up so we can realize the future together.