Josh Carr-Hilton was one of those kids who listened to everything – and he still does.
“I grew up with my dad and mom listening to classical ’70s music on the radio and then being kind of forced into the golden oldies,” recalled the founder and CEO of the District, Canada’s largest independent music network of record labels, brands and marketing companies.
Eventually, Carr-Hilton found trance and hip hop and began creating his own mix tapes for parties on Friday nights.
“That was kind of the early days into music curation,” said Carr-Hilton, whose company manages Trap Nation, the 31st-largest channel on YouTube.
“I had zero plans to be in the music industry,” he added, saying he kind of fell into it six years ago and got an incredibly fast crash course in how the industry works.
“I was very, very green and have been a decent problem solver in my life,” said Carr-Hilton, who suspects his outsider’s perspective may have contributed to the company’s success in an established industry that is being forced to adjust to technological advancements.
After a bachelor of arts at Simon Fraser University, Carr-Hilton went on to work at BroadbandTV for several years.
In 2013, he founded the District and Seeking Blue Records a few years after all the major players started racing to develop brands online and connect with consumers on digital platforms. It was a wild, wild west where the needs of creators were sometimes sidelined by big business interests.
“I really hated that part. I really had a lot of respect for the creativity that was going into a lot of what these people were putting their passion into every day,” said Carr-Hilton.
“We stepped in and grew so fast and so efficiently that we got to a point where people were listening.”
The company has worked with tier-one artists including Galantis, Martin Garrix, David Guetta and Tiësto, and has helped propel the careers of up-and-coming names.
Where you live now: Downtown Vancouver
Highest level of education: Bachelor’s degree, Simon Fraser University
Currently reading: Marching Powder: A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America’s Strangest Jail by Rusty Young
Currently listening to: Heiress by Novo Amor
When you were a kid, what you wanted to be when you grew up: I’ve always loved the gravity of the ocean and being outdoors. My dream when I was young was to be a marine biologist
Profession you would most like to try: Documentary filmmaker and photographer
Toughest business or professional decision: We face a number of difficult challenges as a business growing in the music industry. The harder decisions we face are usually related to the ethical consequences of commerce and art
Advice you would give the younger you: Resolve your trust issues in yourself and those around you. Pushing yourself into challenges that have greater odds to fail can teach you the fastest lessons
What’s left to do: Support my amazing family, support my team as best as I possibly can and hopefully help my daughter Madison accomplish great things in her lifetime. The work I’ve been putting in to support mental health issues in our community and the degradation of important ecosystems has given me so much happiness in the last six months. I hope to keep expanding that and use our platform to pull as many people along that ride as possible
Join us to celebrate the 2018 Forty under 40 Awards January 24, 2019, at the Vancouver Convention Centre. For tickets and event info visit www.biv.com/40-under-40.