Jason Peterson is an experienced entrepreneur, attorney, and producer named one of the ‘Top 30 Entrepreneurs under 30’ by The Los Angeles Business Journal and a ’40 under 40 Power Player’ in the music and video industries by Billboard and Media Play News, respectively. He has worked in the entire media value chain from production and posts through marketing and distribution. Jason remains the youngest producer ever to produce a feature film in competition at the Sundance Film Festival (“The Beat,” Sundance 2003). His business GoDigital Media Group and its subsidiaries Cinq Music, ContentBridge, AdShare, VidaPrimo, and Latido Music build and collect revenue from a media market transforming from ownership to access rights. Prior to working at the intersection of media and technology, Jason was a producer, credited with seven feature films, nine television pilots, and numerous commercials and music videos.
GoDigital Media Group is a media and technology holding company engaged in intellectual property rights management and distribution through its operating subsidiaries. Years ago, before iTunes, Netflix streaming, and YouTube, GoDigital Media Group Chairman Jason Peterson presupposed a world where consumers would jettison their CDs and DVDs in favor of digital entertainment. He decided to do something about it, founding GoDigital Media Group (GDMG). Since then, GDMG has founded five brands at the intersection of media and technology to help content owners manage, market, and monetize their products in a complex digital world. The companies are Cinq Music, Grammy-winning record label; AdShare, the leading social media monetization service for music, film, television, and sports rights holders; ContentBridge Systems, digital supply chain software provider; Latido Networks, Latin music digital television network; and the most recent acquisition, mitú, a digital media company that brings a Latino POV to mainstream entertainment across multiple platforms. Several more are in the pipeline.
I grew up in Santa Barbara, CA, and have always been both left and right-brained, good in school, and interested in the arts. In grade school, I tried my hand at playing music, but I knew my potential was limited the day a friend sat down at the piano and played and sang the entirety of ‘Walking in Memphis’ by Marc Cohn after hearing it once on the radio. That’s a gift I don’t have. Then I tried my hand at directing a forty-five-minute action film in high school – which is very ambitious for a bunch of 17-year old’s. It was pre-9/11, and we broke more laws than can be counted, including breaking into an unmanned broadcast facility on top of the mountain in full fatigues carrying replica assault rifles. Many thanks to my dad for supporting the legal parts of the effort.
On the back of this experience, I decided to go to the University of Southern California (“USC”) for business and film school. I had the same experience with music – tons of talented creatives and no one to handle their business. Therein I found my niche: providing creative people with the business partner they need to be successful.
In 2001 at USC, as part of a business school project, I developed a forecast for the paradigm shift from physical goods like DVDs and CDs to digital goods. In 2002, I went on to produce a full-length music-centric narrative feature film titled “The Beat” with Scott Speer and Ryan Seashore that premiered at Sundance in January 2003. It was like an independent ‘8 Mile’ with Coolio and Brian McKnight and many developing artists. Scott Speer was really a director, and The Beat got our foot in the door producing and directing music videos for all of the major and independent labels, respectively. In 2004 I went to law school at Pepperdine. In 2005, while at Pepperdine, Ryan Seashore introduced me to Master P, who was at the time one of the ‘big 3’ rap moguls alongside Sean ‘P-Diddy’ Combs and Jay-Z. Master P showed up for a meeting at Jerry’s Famous Deli in Westwood with no grill, no chains, no entourage, looking like a normal person. He turned off his Blackberry on Suge Knight and listened to me talk for two hours. Master P gave me a five-year worldwide exclusive deal to do all his digital distribution. I had nothing, just an idea. I called Bruno Ybarra at Apple the next day and got a deal with iTunes so Apple would have Master P’s music. That was the genesis of GoDigital, and the rest is history.
How was your University time?
The University of Southern California for Business and Film school and Pepperdine for Law School were absolutely epic. I met a ton of great people, and the education set me up for success.
Why did you choose a career in this field?
Humans make decisions based on how they feel. Media generally and music specifically have an immediate emotional impact. Therefore, media is an important factor in our society’s development and brings joy to billions of people. I want to deliver joy and build projects that can be shared among billions of people.
What was your first job or nuggets from jobs you had that helped you get to where you are today?
Producing movies, commercials, and music videos. I took the prerogative to get involved and stayed focused on being the best at what I did.
Can you provide some book recommendations?
- The Startup Owners Manual by Steven Gary Blank. The Bible/Torah/koran of how to build a business
- Healing is Energy by Jerry Tenant. Life is all about how we feel, and this book is brilliant.
Things are changing very fast in the industry; how do you keep yourself updated. Please list techniques or newsletters, podcasts, events, etc.
I read all the industry-specific trade magazines—Music Business Worldwide, Billboard, etc.
Any advice about CVs?
Good work and capability speak for themselves on the page. Language proficiencies, successful outcomes, military service, awards, trade group memberships, board positions, etc. these all differentiate candidates.
Advice for someone looking for a job?
Network and build relationships of trust.
Why do you think you were selected among other candidates?
I founded the company.
Lessons from jobs that you couldn’t get.
Failure provides contrast. It shows you the path to success. Fail forward fast.
Also read How I Became the CEO of Cardinal