David Ponte is a sales and marketing veteran and is the Co-Founder and CMO of Audiomack, a music discovery streaming platform dedicated to moving music forward. In this role, David, or “Ponte,” is responsible for overseeing the Audiomack brand, perfecting the user experience, and all marketing and external communications worldwide. Ponte is a graduate of the University of Hartford.
Prior to Audiomack, Ponte was a sales executive at Operative Media, where he sold multi-million dollar advertising deals to Pandora and a host of other global publishers. After spending several years at Operative Media, he decided to work with Nexage, where he handled accounts for leaders in the mobile publishing space such as MLB, the Weather Channel, and Univision.
In 2013, Ponte left Nexage (later acquired by Millennial Media then Verizon) and started Audiomack. Under his leadership, Audiomack’s creative brand has branched into exciting new content, including the first-ever Trap Symphony with Migos, and a host of additional video and written content helping music fans connect with their favorite artists in meaningful ways.
What’s your background?
My musical background began solely as a passionate fan always looking to discover the new hot artist or sound. The biggest thrill for me was putting on a new song that would get my buddy to turn the volume all the way up in the car, or would get the entire party moving on the dance floor. In university, I used to burn three, four or five CDs for our parties and then wait by the CD player to swap them out once they were done.
My career background was mainly in the online and mobile advertising industry. I would help online publishers (websites or apps) make money through advertising. Some of my clients included big companies like the Weather Channel, Univision, the NFL or MLB, but also much smaller companies. Once we decided to start Audiomack, based on our experience, my partners and I knew that as long as we could generate traffic, we could make money through advertising.
Do you see Audiomack as the go-to over other competitors?
I do! The primary reason why is that we put our users’ (artists and fans) needs first. When you’re a smaller company going against much larger competitors, you must have a keen understanding of people’s needs, especially those that aren’t being served by those giants. For us, it means being more accessible. It means being completely free for artists and for fans, while allowing music to be played offline and highlighting emerging artists and trending songs.
With other services charging artists money to gain access to features, such as extra downloads, how have you been able to remain free?
We’re free because of our ability to identify advertisers that want to market their products and services to our influential audience of artists and tastemakers.
What do you think is the main reason for your growth in Africa?
Again, I think it’s because of the accessibility of the free app, but also because of our desire to highlight and support emerging talent in the region. There are so many talented artists across the continent, and they are influencing music and culture around the world—in the UK, the US, Latin America and more. As a free platform, all artists throughout the region can use and benefit from our tools, services, and exposure to a global audience. We’re making a concerted effort to enlist artists and tastemakers from the continent, educate them on how Audiomack can help further their careers, and support their music worldwide.
What is Audiomack planning for Africa in terms of supporting artists and marketing?
One of our 2020 initiatives is to move AMP (Audiomack Monetization Program) out of beta so that all artists can sign up for the platform and begin monetizing their streams immediately. We have thousands of artists signed up currently, many from African and European countries, but the goal is getting everyone access. In order to do this and scale effectively, we have to work out payment systems for all of the countries in Africa. A challenge, but achievable!
We are also supporting local music events taking place near the end of the calendar year ( Mainland Block Party, Afronation, Afrochella ) as well as hiring people throughout the region to help with signing artists up and helping us with marketing campaigns. I’m eager to launch an office in Nigeria, Ghana, and/or South Africa by the end of 2020 as well.
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