2 Minutes With … Joe Aboud, Founder & CEO of 444 Sounds

On connecting with artists from different walks of life

Joe is a music executive at the intersection of artist development, marketing and commerce. His consultancy 444 Sounds handles strategy and promotion for record labels, distributors, artists and artists' managers. His clients include Warner Records/Major Recordings, Concord Music Group, Sony Music, UnitedMasters, Brianna Mazzola, Cash Cash, Anees and Tank God. The company also delivers marketing solutions with an emphasis on fan community building.

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

Joe, tell us …

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I was born in Miami and then moved around the South before landing in New Jersey. I now live in New York City.  

Your earliest musical memory.

As a kid, my parents would take me to buy albums on release day—1999 was a good year with Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Destiny's Child, Backstreet Boys and Dido

Your favorite bands/musicians today.

Some of my favorites are Lana Del Rey, Maisie Peters, LÉON, Robyn, Disclosure, Cigarettes After Sex, Kylie Minogue and Lennon Stella.

One of your favorite projects you've ever worked on.

Joel Corry's "Head & Heart" (feat. MNEK)

A recent project you're proud of.

I worked on the first musical collaboration from THE Dalai Lama. It's a collection of mantras set to original music. The feedback from fans around the world has been incredibly powerful.

One thing about how the music world is evolving that you're excited about.

It feels like the best time in music for independent artists to have the opportunity to succeed. While the major label system has its advantages, it's not a "one size fits all"  model, and it's nice to see artists have more options than ever before.

Someone else's work, in music or beyond, that you admired lately.

Chappell Roan has done an incredible job of cultivating a fanbase and spotlighting the LGBTQ+ community in a way that feels authentic. She is a great example of an artist who took the time to develop, and evolved into a version of herself that fans deeply connect with. 

A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.

Ted Lasso. Watching Ted find joy in each experience, regardless of whether it was a "success," and always maintain a positive attitude, made me want to incorporate that outlook into my own life. 

An artist you admire outside the world of music.

Aureta Thomollari's style seems effortless, yet larger than life.

Your favorite fictional character.

Scooby Doo was always my favorite cartoon. The Mystery Inc. gang was an unlikely group of friends who teamed up for good—we love that! 

Someone worth following on social media.

@TheCut is always running stories on the most interesting topics that you wouldn't find anywhere else.

Your main strength as a marketer/creative.

Being able to connect with artists of different walks of life. It helps me better understand who they are and assess what we need to show the world, what fans would connect with.

Your biggest weakness.

I find it challenging to separate work from my personal life. For most artists, their music is their life, and that doesn't pause on nights and weekends. I'm always "on," but I'm trying to be better about it. 

Something people would find surprising about you.

Even though pop and dance are my favorite genres, I enjoy working on music that I wouldn't normally listen to. I've marketed artists from metal and hip-hop to R&B and indie, and it's been such a fun experience. 

One thing that always makes you happy.

When music brings fans together, and when live shows are truly an immersive EXPERIENCE. That can be Chappell Roan fans dressing up, Taylor Swift fans exchanging friendship bracelets, or Lady Gaga fans celebrating their individuality at the Monster Ball, which blurred the lines between fantasy and reality. 

One thing that always makes you sad.

Internet trolls and seeing fans spew negativity. 

What you'd be doing if you weren't in the music business.

I can't imagine a world in which I'm not working in music—but real estate development and travel have always piqued my interest.

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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