Jarret Myer is an American media entrepreneur who co-founded the record label Rawkus Records, influencer-powered, data-driven media company Big Frame, and UPROXX, which tracks the best of pop culture by tapping into the film, TV, music and sports zeitgeist on the internet. Myer is credited as Executive Producer on several music recordings and was once featured by New York magazine, along with Rawkus Records co-founder Brian Brater, on top of a list of most influential media types under 35.
He is currently the general manager of publishing for Woven Digital, tasked with scaling content in real-time and building the best up-to-the-minute content for the company’s audiences and brands to use as an engagement platform.
What's Your NativeAdVice:
How did you get into the Media industry?
Growing up in the wildness of New York in 80’s was a huge influence on me. It shaped my tastes and ambitions to have a career in media and entertainment. What I remember most, was seeing all the different styles and subcultures that existed in New York. I was always more of an observer or visitor to any subculture, but I understood that they all felt like families or tribes and they were built around brands. By a brand, I don’t mean Campbell’s soup, I mean a fashion, a band, a type of dancing or a type of music. Those are all brands to me. And that was what defined New York for me in the 70’s and 80’s. I would think, “How cool do you have to be, to have a brand that others want to build their tribe around?”. Def Jam or CBGBs comes to mind immediately. I decided that’s what I wanted to do for my career. An inspiration was that I had friends in high school that were doing things that felt adult to me, like putting out music on albums or singles. This had a huge impact on me, because nothing seemed impossible. If these guys can do it, so can I.
Tell us about UpRoxx. What inspired the idea and what is your vision for the company?
UPROXX started with the ending of Rawkus Records. Rawkus was an incredible experience filled with success, but towards the final years, it became clear that we built something on a model that was pre-Internet. Towards the end of the label’s 10 year run, we realized the whole world had changed. We built Rawkus to be the most culturally significant brand we could create, but we had to build that significance around the release of albums or tours. These things might only happen once a year. Meanwhile, there was this Internet revolution happening. The appeal was that we could focus on the community without having to be tied to the tent pole of an album or a tour. It was a revelation and I knew it was what I wanted to do next.
What industry trends are you noticing and how do you capitalize on them?
We are committed to delivering news, discussion and storytelling across all devices and platforms. Right now, video is the trend we are embracing the most to achieve this. Part of that process is that we are reinventing what video means as a storytelling device. For example, we are working with a number of documentary filmmakers who are used to making full length features, but together we are producing complete stories that are 5 to 10 minutes long.
You can never love, learn or laugh too much.
Our motto is to connect and inspire people through culture, be meaningful, authentic and out-care the competition.
Your advice to an aspiring entrepreneur?
The first thing I do when I talk to an aspiring entrepreneur or artist is try to talk them out that life path. Once I see that they can’t be talked out of it, I advise them to never give up. If you never give up, the chances of success are almost perfect.
Describe the ideal experience using UpRoxx.
As an UPROXX user, I have had some awesome experiences that would convert me to a loyalist (regardless of the fact that I’m the founder). Hopefully, others have stories like this too! One experience was when Anthony Bourdain, somebody I admire, was launching his new CNN show. He spent an hour chatting live with the UPROXX community. When a guest responds to your question in a live chat, you get a notification directly from the guest. The feeling I got from Bourdain responding to my question in near real-time rocked my world. It was a great example of how UPROXX can turn you onto something cool and connect with you in a unique way.
How do you motivate your employees?
I am all about team work and respecting the people who work for me. I try to give them as much information and data as possible so that they can manage their own success and at the same time be part of the team’s success.
One food and drink left on earth, what would you choose?
I love food and drinking, but I think red wine and pizza are a pretty perfect combination. That would be my choice. We live in a culture that craves craftsmanship. For me, wine is a fun and easy way to get a dose of craftsmanship.
What literature is on your bed stand?
I am always reading comics. Right now, I am reading stuff by Mike Carey and Neil Gaiman and, for fun, I am also reading “Legion”, an 80’s horror by William Peter Blatty. I am also always reading something about media and culture. Right now, I am re-reading “Faking It: The Quest For Authenticity in Popular Music” by Hugh Barker and Yuval Taylor. It has these great essays that question why we perceive some culture as authentic and some as phony. For example, were The Sex Pistols more real and authentic than Disco?
Role model - business and personal?
My role model is my wife. It’s the old cliché of calling your spouse your better half, but she is my way better half. She inspires me to be better personally and professionally.
I am very passionate about education in all aspects. In the future could see myself working on developing a school curriculum about culture, wisdom, happiness and finance. Information is literally at our fingertips now, but our primary teaching method is still to remember facts. We should be revamping the entire approach to what makes a person ready for success in the world.
Favorite travel destination?
I gotta go with New Orleans. I derive so much inspiration from a city that lives and breathes music and culture.
What's next for UpRoxx?
UPROXX is en route to becoming a household name and source for news and entertainment for this generation. We cater to an audience that craves an authenticity that they can no longer get from MTV, Entertainment Weekly or Rolling Stone. A whole generation is growing up with UPROXX as their source for content and they are building an emotional connection. That is why we are one the largest sites in the US. We just need to continue making great content and out caring our competition.