2 Minutes With … Alex Akimov, Musician, Music Manager and Entrepreneur

He founded Simple Social and Sound.Me

Migrating to the U.S. at 19, Alex Akimov transitioned from touring guitarist to pioneering music manager. Alex and his wife Lani used early social platforms to amplify the fame of boy band New District. After attracting industry leaders and collaborating with top labels on campaigns, Alex launched Simple Social in 2017, a digital marketing agency that works for some of the world's biggest artists. Leveraging insights from courses he took at L.A. Music Academy and MIT, Alex introduced a "trigger markets" approach to boost artists' global traction. By 2022, he founded Sound.Me, an AI-powered platform with nearly 1 million users, redefining influencer collaborations and music promotion.

We spent two minutes with Alex to learn more about his background, his creative inspirations and recent work he's admired.

Alex, tell us …

Where did you grow up and where do you live now? 

I grew up in Moscow, but have been living in Los Angeles for more than half of my life. L.A. is home.

What is your earliest musical memory? 

I was watching a documentary about John Lennon called Imagine. I remember seeing it for the first time and being awed by all the success The Beatles had. I thought to myself: "I wanna do that!"

What are your favorite bands/musicians today? 

I'm a fan of Coldplay, and Taylor Swift's new album is amazing. I also really like Kendrick Lamar and Trippie Redd. And the Odetari is so unique—I've never heard anything like it before.

What is one of your favorite projects you've ever worked on. 

Due to my contractual obligations, I'm unfortunately unable to share specifics about the projects. However, we can certainly discuss the types of music I enjoy promoting the most. Pop and hip-hop are at the top of my list. Pop has such universal appeal. It's thrilling to see a song I'm promoting in the U.S. gain traction internationally. You never truly know what will resonate, where it will catch on, or how it will spread. Hip-hop, in contrast, has a more raw and localized nature. The genre is vast, with each subtype resonating differently depending on the city or state. The local approach to hip-hop is fascinating. I love promoting an artist in a single city and watching that slow but steady growth until, eventually, the entire country catches on. 

What is a recent project you're proud of? 

I am immensely proud of the indie artists I work with. It's particularly heartening to see those who are tenacious: constantly releasing new music, engaging genuinely with their fans and persisting despite the challenges. Breaking through is tougher these days, but their dedication and effort never cease to inspire me.

What is one thing about how the music world is evolving that you're excited about? 

I'm excited about the rapid growth of the creator economy and advancements in AI. I own an AI-driven platform called Sound.Me, and the capabilities of machine learning amaze me. Additionally, the transition of music videos into AR and VR is thrilling. This evolution promises to elevate the user experience to an entirely new dimension.

What is someone else's work, in music or beyond, that you’ve admired lately? 

I watch and analyze different albums and singles, so I can learn what others are doing. I'm really impressed with Olivia Rodrigo's album rollout. It hit almost half a billion streams on Spotify in under a week. Great job by her team!

What is one book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring? 

I don't watch much TV, but I recently saw an inspiring movie called A Million Miles Away. It's based on the true story of an immigrant from Mexico who became an astronaut despite numerous rejections. His dedication is commendable. As an immigrant myself, I understand the challenges of starting anew, but persistence always pays off. Never give up on your dreams!

Who is an artist you admire outside the world of music? 

My mom is an artist, so I grew up surrounded by art. I draw inspiration from Raphael, Michelangelo, Picasso and Monet. Dali is remarkable. I'm as fascinated by the PR surrounding his persona as I am by his actual art.

Who is your favorite fictional character? 

Batman and James Bond. I love gadgets!

Who is someone worth following on social media? 

I follow a lot of A&R and label executives. I'm always excited to see what new artists and genres are being signed. Mike Caren, Jeff Vaughn, Julie Greenwald, Aton Ben-Horin, and more.

What is your main strength as a marketer/creative? 

Analyzing data both before and during campaigns is essential. I place great emphasis on consistent optimization of ads and prioritize transparent communication with clients at all times.

What would you be doing if you weren't in the music business? 

I didn't expect to be in the music business at all—haha. I would probably keep playing guitar and touring or try to produce music. Other than that, I love animals, so maybe something with them!

2 Minutes With is our regular interview series where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

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