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A2IM Featured Executive: Yiannis Karavassilis, COO & Head of Label at CloudKid

Yiannis Karavassilis, COO & Head of Label at CloudKid, is an experienced music industry professional who has spent the last decade managing and developing independent record labels. Over the course of his career, he has signed and developed hundreds of artists and helped them establish successful careers in the music industry. As a recording artist himself, Karavassilis has a unique and fresh perspective on what artists need and how to develop talent. He is well-known for his innovative marketing strategies and his ability to identify trends and talent at very early stages.

Tell us about how you got your start in the music industry, and how it lead to the work you do today.

The journey started right when I graduated from audio engineering school. I found my first internship with a small local independent label in The Hague in the Netherlands, where I grew up and was educated. From very early on, I was extremely focused on the Youtube music curation scene and managed to propel a lot of artists careers by building extremely fruitful relationships with these curators. That’s what led me to build a special bond with one of them, CloudKid. I decided to work together with Gereon, the CEO and Founder, to develop a record label off the back of the explosive growth and engagement the channel was getting, and that’s where we are today, still a YouTube curation channel with 5 million subscribers and a successful record label with over 400 releases to date.

Is there a success story or career milestone that you are most proud of?

Discovering one of our artists, ‘Silent Child’ is one of my proudest moments. I remember sitting in a cabin in the woods listening to hundreds of demos on SubmitHub. Right at the end of that session, I heard a demo he sent and was immediately hooked. He was a young guy who was close to being evicted from his home with very little self esteem. We signed his first ever song and within a year propelled him from 0 monthly listeners and no income, to millions of monthly listeners and a stable monthly income from his royalties where he is now able to build a beautiful life around. We still work with him and it’s been incredible seeing his confidence grow as an artist, producer and person.

Are there any projects you’re working on or company updates that you’re most excited about?

We’re working on some amazing artists currently, to name a few Jake Daniels, Silent Child, Stileto, Cheska Moore. They all perfectly represent the sound we have coined as ‘villain music,’ songs that we’re able to push effectively and efficiently through our Spotify playlists and channel which is branded after this specific sound.

Outside of your work in music, do you have any other hobbies/ particular areas of expertise/interest?

Outside of my full time job as a music industry professional, I am also a recording artist and quite the prolific singer-songwriter. In the last 4 years, I have released over 50 songs and amassed hundreds of million streams on my original music. I live and breathe music and art, as it has always been my biggest passion and probably always will be.

Anything else to add?

My biggest insight would be to be your own biggest fan, genuinely believe in what you do and never conform to the idea of something being ‘industry standard.’ The beauty in what we do as a label is the ability to challenge those notoriously old-fashioned mindsets and standards and instead, do the work, sign artists and develop them in the way we would like to see them done.

About A2IM:
A2IM is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit trade organization headquartered in New York City that exists to support and strengthen the independent recorded music sector. Membership currently includes a broad coalition of more than 700 Independently-owned American music labels. A2IM represents these independently owned small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) interests in the marketplace, in the media, on Capitol Hill, and as part of the global music community. In doing so, it supports a key segment of America’s creative class that represents America’s diverse musical cultural heritage. Billboard Magazine identified the Independent music label sector as 37.32 percent of the music industry’s U.S. recorded music sales market in 2016 based on copyright ownership, making Independent labels collectively the largest music industry sector.

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