CEO/Founder, Systemic & Outside The Box Music
Charles Alexander is an independent singer/songwriter, digital music & media strategist and music technology educator. He is the founder & owner of Systemic, a label services company specializing in streaming marketing & strategy and Outside The Box Music, a management and digital services company.
He manages the career of Keeley Valentino, whose song “Nashville” has garnered over 14 million spins on Spotify and indie pop phenom, Jilian Linklater. He also has worked with such diverse artists as Ryan Cabrera, Keb’ Mo’, SHEL, Gabe Dixon and Noah Guthrie.
He helps artists, musicians & songwriters create and extend their online presence. He implements strategies and runs campaigns on behalf of his clients to increase fan acquisition, fan engagement, as well as, create brand awareness.
He is also the co-founder and former owner/partner of Streaming Promotions.
He has been quoted in The Washington Post, NPR and The Tennessean and featured on the front page of the international music technology blog, HypeBot.Com. He has been a speaker and panelist at SXSW, Music Biz, CD Baby DIY Conference, Leadership Music’s Digital Summit, Americana Music Conference, The International Folk Alliance and has contributed to the national discussion on SOPA, the online piracy bill.
He established “Rock The Net”, a digital music initiative geared towards educating artists, songwriters, artist managers and other music business professionals on how to leverage the internet to further their careers.
He’s has been a NewSong Music Competition Regional Finalist and performs at venues like The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, Tennessee on a regular basis. He speaks at national & regional indie & digital music events and is an ardent advocate for independent music.
I am an artist, scientist and tech entrepreneur. I believe in using technology and data as a tool for leveling the playing field in music & technology. I try to be passionate and authentic in whatever I do and we try to do it with integrity.
My Daily Thoughts:
Goal of the Day: To get a new listener or view for an artist or partner I care about or work with #MusicMonday
Thought of the Day: “If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane” – Robert Frost
Action of the Day: Love hard and slay dragons.
Deed of the Day: Be kind, be generous, be brave.
Tip of the Day: Get a short nap in. It will change your attitude and perspective.
A Day in My Life:
What do you love most about Your City? How important music is to Nashville’s fabric. It is infused everywhere. Even in the sound of the construction cranes.
Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant? Dulce de Leche latte and Chorizo Burrito at Eighth and Roast on Charlotte Ave.
What are you doing at:
6:00 AM – Waking up after 5-6 hours of sleep. Taking the wife and kid to work and school respectively.
10:00 AM – Working at the office or my fave coffee spot.
12:00 PM – Favorite Lunch spot/meal? Taj Indian Restaurant
7:00 PM – Having dinner with family & falling asleep on the couch
11:00 PM – Getting back to work. Until around 1 or 2 AM.
What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)? Dulce De Leche or Cuban Latte and never more than 1.
Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account? Google Keep & Chrome Browser. Instagram @petesouza
What should everyone try at least once? Gulab Jamun
Where do you enjoy getting lost? Any good concert or trout stream.
My Pic of the Day:
https://www.instagram.com/p/BrHEqOPBzvV/ (my daughter, my heart)
My Native AdVice:
How did you get into the industry?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve sung. My mom says I sang complete verses before I spoke complete sentences. My kindergarten teacher wrote in my report that I daydreamed a lot and sang all the time.
I get my music from my late dad’s side of the family. I sang with my cousins growing up and we even had a family band. I learned to play the guitar cause one of my older cousins played guitar. He seemed to be popular with the girls in the neighborhood so…
I spent most of my professional life looking at data and analytics in the bioinformatics/analytics side of biomedical research. So from there it was just a short skip and a jump to look at analytics and data in the music industry. It was my niche. At the time, there were not many people in the business side of music in Nashville that had that skill set. We then parlayed that particular expertise into leveraging streaming music platforms.
Career advice to those in your industry?
Just because a particular skill or expertise is obvious or comes easy to you, doesn’t mean it isn’t extremely valuable. Often times it is what sets you apart from everyone else.
Any emerging industry trends?
Data, content and emotion is king. Whatever or whomever manages to integrate all those elements into a platform, app or coherent strategy will win all the marbles.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
The experience and our commitment to their art. We just love music and technology. We are good partners not just because of our expertise, but because we are passionate advocates. We try not to onboard anything that we are not fans of first.
How do you motivate others?
Finding their passion and matching a need we have with their passion. It isn’t always possible but we try. Also by giving them enough runway to fail and embracing their failures as much as their successes. Nothing else helps you learn as quickly as failing.
My Native AdVantage:
What are my aspirations?
Personal: To be happy & healthy and supporting my daughter and spouse in their own dreams. That really makes me happy. I also want to enable meaningful change in the world with respect to justice for all people.
My goal for our business is to make us an internationally recognizable brand that empowers music and art that changes the world.
My Biggest Success?
The first time I ever played The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. And every time since.
My Most Challenging Moment?
When I decided to leave my home country of Malaysia and come to the United States to go to college. It was the first time I had ever left the land of my birth and everything I knew growing up. It was such a profound life experience.
There were so many people along the way who helped me find my feet and establish new roots. Not least of which was my wife. There was no way I could have been successful without standing on the shoulders of these giants.
I still count some of them as my closest friends. But more importantly I now know I can overcome any obstacle with the right people around me.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.
– Robert Frost
My Favorite People/Role Models?
John Grady (former President, Sony Nashville)
Chris McMurtry (Head of Music Product, Exactuals)
Steve Earle (Musician)
Bruce Springsteen (Musician)
Tom Frederick (Professor, retired)
Tom Prasada-Rao (Musician)
David Goldstein (Professor, retired)
Al George (Chief of Pharmacology, Northwestern)
What Else to Know? (Events, Shared recent articles, Questions you devise etc)
At SXSW 2019, hosting a panel on streaming music:
with my friends Brad Belanger (manager, Sam Hunt) & Rachel Whitney (curator, formerly Pandora, now YouTube)
with Spotify playlist curators SongPickr and IndieMono
CD Baby DIY Conference
Get Your Music On Spotify Playlists