A2IM Featured Executive is a series that spotlights independent music industry executives who are making moves in their fields. To submit yourself or a colleague for consideration, fill in this form.
This week, meet Paul Loeb, Founder and CEO of DropTrack, an AI-powered music promotion platform. Loeb brings over 20 years of experience as a seasoned engineering and product leader in the music and tech industries; including roles at Beats by Dre, Apple, and Ticketmaster/Live Nation.
Tell us about how you got your start in the music industry, and how it lead to the work you do today.
I’ve been a musician for as long as I can remember. Growing up in Colorado, I started playing piano when I was five. I picked up the clarinet and trumpet in grade school and played in several orchestras. I went to college at the University of Southern California, where I played lead trumpet in the infamous Spirit of Troy marching band.
While in college, I also started DJing at fraternity parties. Getting paid to party and play music… what a life! I realized I wanted to produce music but I didn’t have the technical skills. So after graduating from USC, I enrolled in an audio engineering course to learn about music recoding, mixing, and how to use Pro Tools. I studied under Roger Nichols, the legendary producer for Steely Dan and John Denver. After completing what seemed like a never-ending series of exams, I’m now a Certified Pro Tools Expert.
After school, I started a record label, No Ego Records, as a vehicle to promote both my own music and music from talented friends I met at school. Since starting the company in 2010, we’ve signed over 50 artists and released over 100 tracks. One of the things I learned from starting a label is how important music promotion is; you can put out great songs, distribute them to Spotify, Beatport, etc. – and then what? How do you compete with thousands of other great songs which are put out every single day. How do you cut through the noise?
What I did at the time was hire an independent DJ promoter, as was the status quo for most indie labels. This was usually a consultant who charged you a fortune, and pitched your music on your behalf. The promoter would send an email blast to their list of contacts, and then maybe they would follow up, or maybe not.
I thought, there has to be a better way!
And so, DropTrack was born. Using my background in software engineering, I originally built DropTrack as a tool for myself to use and promote the music from my record label. I could use my DIY tool instead of paying a fortune to consultants and independent DJ pluggers. Once I started having success with DropTrack – using my own software to secure music placements – I thought it would be a useful tool for other independent labels as well, so I turned it into a product. And the rest is history!
Is there a success story or career milestone that you are most proud of?
One of the earliest signs of success that I was building something useful with DropTrack was when I used my own software to secure a sync placement for a song on my record label. I licensed a track to the show Workaholics on Comedy Central, and they had a budget! They paid real money; way more than the minuscule royalties from streaming or downloads. This was the spark which led me to transform DropTrack into a product for others to use. Since then, we’ve had countless success stories of our customers getting their songs played by DJs or radio stations, placed on playlists, and licensed for sync opportunities. One recent example is country singer/songwriter Louisiana Claude Hitt, who used DropTrack to secure over 20 playlist placements for his music in one month and received over 17,000 streams on Spotify.
Are there any projects you’re working on or company updates that you’re most excited about?
I’m super excited about bringing AI to DropTrack. There’s a lot of hype around AI, and we’re not just using it as a buzzword. Our engineering team comes from Microsoft, Google, and Apple, and we are developing new technology specific for the music industry. There has been a lot of buzz about using AI to create music, but we are the first to use AI to promote music. We just released our first AI-powered feature, an “AI-Powered PR Agent.” By simply uploading your song, we can generate a personalized press release for your music and identify the best opportunities for your particular style.
Outside of your work in music, do you have any other particular interests?
Aside from DropTrack, I DJ and produce music as Really Cute Cats. My style is mostly house music (dance/electronic), but I’ve produced records in several genres including pop, country, and hip-hop. If I could spend my time doing nothing else, I would be in the studio working with the world’s most talented vocalists and musicians.
Connect with Paul below!