Today we’d like to introduce you to Justin Ramirez.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My entire life, I’ve been an entrepreneur. I remember reading business books in grade school and enrolling myself into real estate courses in high school. My first serious venture was in 2008. I started a music publication and independent label from my college dorm room that highlighted hip hop culture and its diversity. Our business had writers from universities all over the U.S. that wrote articles about “smart hip hop” and featured up and coming artists that we felt depicted hip hop culture in a positive light.
We built a substantial following and became very familiar with event production, music management, and social media marketing. Our website and articles garnished millions of views and I got to work with artists like J Cole, Ab-Soul, Aloe Blacc, Pacific Division, and many more. I built the indie label for 5 years while climbing the corporate ladder with a fortune 50 technology company.
Over the last decade, I have become very passionate about entrepreneurship, philanthropy, technology, and artist development. I spend a lot of time coaching emerging artists and entrepreneurs on building and growing their businesses. My passion for artist development is what fueled the launch of Plyte, which is a platform my team and I built to help emerging artists achieve exponential growth. We equip them with smart tools that help manage their fan relationships effectively.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The road has been anything but smooth! Fortunately, I’ve been able to find awesome mentors that have guided me through my entrepreneurial journey. The best advice to date was to never give up! I preface with this advice because that has been the single piece of advice that has kept me going through all of the adversity I’ve faced.
My wife had a massive stroke in 2016. This happened three months after I decided to take the full-time plunge in entrepreneurship. We spent a year and a half rehabilitating to get her back to a place where she was self-sustaining again. This was the hardest time for me because I genuinely wanted to quit. I was demoralized and broken. My wife is more important than any business idea and she needed me during this time of her life, but it kind of felt like I had to abandon my business.
I credit my wife for being the reason I kept going because during her recovery process, she made me promise that I wouldn’t stop building Plyte. I remember her going into surgery and saying to me, “Promise me, do not quit!”. At that moment, I did not know how it was going to get done, but I mentally committed to moving forward to build the business.
I know this is a very exaggerated example of adversity, but I share this because something changed in me after going through this. I became fearless. I became ready for whatever life challenged me with next.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
At Plyte, we help emerging artist achieve exponential growth. Today’s emerging artists are required to excel at a wide variety of skill sets reaching far beyond creating great music. Plyte empowers artists to make smart decisions on their business based on data, fan feedback and industry expert guidance. We provide artists with powerful tools to help them grow in their craft and multiply their fanbase.
With Plyte you can create albums and playlists, photo and video collections all on your own dedicated profile page and custom link/URL. This gives fans one centralized place to engage and share an artist’s content across all of their social networks.
Artists can also build and export their email subscriber (fan sign-up) list and use our built-in e-newsletter engine to create and send-out e-mail campaigns directly within Plyte.
Artists are also able to receive star ratings and fan feedback on their individual songs and video/photo collections. For deeper level feedback and insight, artists can book a coaching session with one of our music industry professionals to learn about the opportunities with their brand and business.
At Plyte, we are most proud of the culture that we’ve built. The founding team has an altruistic view on how to empower artists and it shows in the solutions we’ve built. It genuinely is a holistic approach to artist development.
What were you like growing up?
Growing up, I was the oldest of five kids in a single parent home. Naturally, I saw myself as a father figure to my younger siblings so I was always focused on setting the right example. I was a varsity basketball and track athlete and 4.0 student. I was very involved in the community and would take up any leadership opportunity I could find. I was the team captain, peer mentor, and member of the National Honor Society. Despite all of these things, I still could not shut out my love for music and hip-hop culture.
Growing up, I would sell mixed CD’s of my favorite artists to my friends and family. Yup, five bucks a pop! I had friends in school that did music, so I would help with their music promotion by sneaking their songs onto the CD’s I would sell. I didn’t know what I was doing then, but these types of marketing and promotional strategies started to give me my business reputation in the music community. It also helped build a pipeline of artists that I would use to build my publication and independent label while at Loyola Marymount University.
- Website: www.plyte.io
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @plyte.io