19. Maykel PironCEO & Co-Founder, Armada Music
“It seems like we’re heading on the right path again,” says Maykel Piron, sizing up the dance music game as it stands. “After a long and difficult period for the music industry, we’ve finally been seeing a turn-around.”
Piron has been a behind-the-scenes player long enough to witness several evolutions. A Dutch native, he was introduced to the industry at the age of 19, when he worked in the DJ promo service department at Dance Connection in Holland. This early start propelled him into the world of A&R, eventually leading to the foundation of Armada Music in 2003 with David Lewis and scene figurehead Armin van Buuren.
Armada grew to be one of the most renowned labels in trance and progressive house, with releases from greats like Markus Schulz, BT, Dash Berlin, Paul van Dyk and more. Piron specifically picks out Armin van Buuren’s 2013 single “This is What it Feels Like” as a defining moment for the label, who released the song “totally independently.”
“Everybody said we needed a US label in order to create a hit over there,” Piron says. “We proved everybody wrong. The team worked very hard, and as a result, we reached the most important chart in the world. The song even received a Grammy nomination on our own imprint, which is pretty unique.”
The single went on to hit platinum status and beyond in multiple countries. “Dance music is global,” the Armada CEO reasons. “It makes me feel proud to work on this type of recording from Amsterdam and to be able to conquer worldwide charts.”
“There are so many aspects of our industry which excite me,” Piron says. “Right now, I’m mostly excited about the growth in streaming through Spotify and the growing availability of this service throughout the world. Streaming is the future, and it’s clear our industry will become healthier because of this.”