How Massive Act is helping musicians make it big in the music business

25 Oct 2018

Carolina Castilla. Image: Massive Act

Carolina Castilla tells us how Massive Act is hitting all the right notes with its software solution to help navigate the music industry.

Carolina Castilla is the CEO of Massive Act, a software platform that makes live music performances easy and accessible for musicians.

With Massive Act, musicians and industry professionals can find intuitive tools to help them manage logistics and make connections for revenue opportunities, such as booking, endorsements and sponsorships.

Castilla has been a music business entrepreneur for 16 years, working in the music industry in various management, PR and events roles. She previously served as tour and hospitality manager for Depeche Mode, Coldplay and David Guetta, and was a general producer at Audio Engineering Society conferences.

‘When I was touring, I realised that most of the processes of touring could be streamlined and if an artist doesn’t have a manager, it is almost impossible for them to succeed’

Describe your role and what you do.

Basically, I ensure everything in the company runs smoothly. I talk with developers, designers and the entire team; strategise customer acquisition; and very often participate in investor meetings and pitch events.

How do you prioritise and organise your working life?

We set our long-term and and short-term goals, and we use Agile product management methodology, always prioritising customer feedback.

What are the biggest challenges facing your sector and how are you tackling them?

According to our experience and the insights that the market is giving us, there are still many bands, DJs and musicians in general without knowledge of the industry that enables them to convert their vocation into a profitable and sustainable business. Massive Act gives them tools that allow them to transform their project into a real business with defined commercial proposals so that the main players in the sector can get to know and contact them.

Musicians only got 14pc of the $43bn generated by the music industry in 2017, and it mostly came from touring; we are making touring easier for them.

What are the key sector opportunities you’re capitalising on?

The main opportunities we see are: the high growth of live shows in the music business, the lack of digital administrative resources at festivals and venues, and emerging artists’ lack of general business knowledge.

What set you on the road to where you are now?

When I was touring, I realised that most of the processes of touring could be streamlined and if an artist doesn’t have a manager, it is almost impossible for them to succeed. Big artists have have huge teams that took years to build; my motivation is making the entry to the industry easier for new performers, managers and agents that have not built a network yet.

What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?

Giving big responsibilities to people in the team with little experience. The technology environment needs to be collaborative, and trustful people with little experience have some challenges fitting with an established team. Even though I tried to do my best welcoming the person and giving independent tasks that do not depend on others, their performance affected the company goals.

How do you get the best out of your team?

We have a very collaborative team; we share the same values so the working environment is very nice. I recognise the type of tasks people enjoy doing and that keep the team motivated, and we trust each other and believe we are solving a problem.

STEM sectors receive a lot of criticism for a lack of diversity in terms of gender, ethnicity and other demographics. Have you noticed a diversity problem in your sector? What are your thoughts on this and what’s needed to be more inclusive?

Massive Act has a big team of all ethnicities. Sometimes, when you work in a male environment of super-smart people, being a woman CEO requires more strength. I had to deal with very disrespectful people, and sometimes I had to raise my voice with investors and mentors talking in a condescending way. I was even told by one of my investors that I would have it more difficult because I was a woman and Hispanic.

I try to treat everybody as equals. I like to have ladies on my team – it brings balance. I think there is a lot of buzz around the subject but not much change, but it is good that at least there is a buzz. I think the solution comes from home, from how families are raising children, and education about the subject in the schools. I just think it is ignorance more than anything else.

Who is your role model and why?

I know it sounds clichéd but I really like Elon Musk. I’ve dealt with tons of stress with my start-up, and I can imagine the levels of responsibility and criticism he deals with. I always admire smart people. I don’t know much about his personal life, but I think what he has accomplished is very impressive. I really like SpaceX and I wish I had been part of the ‘PayPal Mafia’.

What books have you read that you would recommend?

The Theory of Moral Sentiments by Adam Smith.

What are the essential tools and resources that get you through the working week?

Slack, Jira, Trello and InVisionApp are very useful for designing teams. SendGrid, Mixpanel and Xtensio as well. I also use Keynote a lot, almost every day.

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