CEO by Day, Raver by Night: 5 Powerful Business Executives Who Love EDM

Tony Hsieh: CEO, Zappos

Tony Hsieh

In his 2010 book Delivering Happiness, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh was effusive in his praise not only for electronic dance music, but also the overarching rave culture zeitgeist. In a wide-ranging 2015 interview with Quartz, Hsieh described how he harnesses the ethos of rave culture and implements it in his company in order to keep his employees happy. In his book, Hsieh even tells a visceral story about a rave he attended in 1999.

"The entire room felt like one massive, united tribe of thousands of people, and the DJ was the tribal leader of the group," he wrote. "I made a note to myself to make sure I never lost sight of the value of a tribe where people truly felt connected and cared about the well-being of one another."

Arturas Karnisovas: EVP, Chicago Bulls

Arturas Karnisovas

Arturas Karnisovas

Sports and electronic music go together like whiskey and cola. However, it's the DJs and athletes who are usually rattling speakers and backboards—not executives. Enter Arturas Karnisovas, who is the Executive Vice President of the Chicago Bulls, home to legend Michael Jordan, who helped the team raise a staggering 6 NBA championship banners.

In a report published by The Denver Post just last month, readers were introduced to the raver side of Karnisovas, who 11-year NBA veteran Jared Jeffries said loves "hardcore" electronic dance music and even blasts Armin van Buuren, Kaskade, and Calvin Harris in the gym while working out. In a follow-up report by NBC Sports Chicago, Karnisovas playfully made light of Jeffries' comments while expounding on his passion for EDM. "Jared (Jeffries) talks too much," he joked. "…I’m very diverse in terms of music that I play. I’m all over the place. I was just first generation of EDM and techno and house. I actually know that house came from Chicago, Detroit area. That’s some history there too."

David Solomon: CEO, Goldman Sachs

David Solomon

David Solomon

Is there anything more lit than quarterly earnings calls? More dope than low risk, high yield investments? Just ask David Solomon. By day, Solomon runs Goldman Sachs, one of the nation's largest investment banking enterprises, and by night, he DJs as an electronic dance music artist named D-Sol.

Solomon, who banks north of $15 million annually in his role as CEO, isn't in the music business to make money. In 2017, Goldman Sachs spokesperson Jake Siewert told the New York Times that Solomon uses electronic music as a respite and as an outlet to maintain his work/life equilibrium. “David’s always believed that having a wide range of outside interests leads to a balanced life and makes for a better career. He’s preached that regularly to younger employees in the firm and tries to lead by example," Siewert said. Moreover, D-Sol donates all of his music-related income to charities battling the opioid epidemic.

Evan Spiegel: CEO, Snap Inc.

Evan Spiegel

Evan Spiegel

Snap Inc. has grown to become one of the most renowned and influential tech companies on the planet. Its flagship product, Snapchat, single-handedly initiated a paradigm shift in the way we consume and share content and it serves as the bedrock of the trailblazing company. The organization's CEO, former Stanford University wunderkind Evan Spiegel, harbors a different bedrock—electronic music.

In February 2017, Business Insider published a report about Spiegel's musical interests after perusing his public Hype Machine profile. At the time of publishing, he had smashed the 'play' button on Louis The Child’s “Love Is Alive” and Lost Kings' “Phone Down," two monster singles in the future bass genre. At one point in time, Spiegel also even kicked the tires on starting a record label.

Elon Musk: CEO, Tesla and SpaceX

Elon Musk

As polarizing as he is prolific, Tesla and SpaceX boss Elon Musk is also an EDM head. Back in January 2020, he added another title to his illustrious résumé—DJ.

What started out as a tongue-in-cheek venture actually proved to be a legitimate one after he dropped his infectious house tune "Don't Doubt Ur Vibe." “I wrote the lyrics & performed the vocals!!” Musk shared on Twitter at the time." “This song is hard."

He may have great taste in music, but not baby names. Here's to you, baby X Æ A-12