There’s rarely been a time in Sujit Kundu’s life when he didn’t hold down at least two jobs. In college, he ran an event promotion business. After graduation, he added the job of managing a nightclub. Today he is both the SVP of promotion at Universal Records’ Universal Motown Division and founder and CEO of probably the leading DJ management firm, New York City-based SKAM Artist (SKAM stands for Sujit Kundu Artist Management). Artists that SKAM have and currently represent is a who’s who of the DJ and EDM (Electronic Dance Music) worlds, and include Lil’ Jon, Jermaine Dupri, Nick Cannon, Swizz Beatz, Will.I.Am, Samantha Ronson, and more.
The nature of his work means he rarely gets a moment to himself. “Life for me is crazy,” says Kundu with a good-natured laugh. “It’s nonstop. Airport to airport, office to office, meeting to meeting, club to club. I’m always on the go.”
To meet the demands of his career, Kundu needed a phone built for productivity. That’s why he chose BlackBerry. His BlackBerry Passport Silver Edition powers everything he does.
“Whether I’m in a cab promoting artists via social media or on BBM trying to get a client into a club in Tokyo, my BlackBerry is working for me. This thing means business. My life is a constant hustle, and this is the device that keeps up with me.” Watch the video below and also visit Sujit’s page on BlackBerry.com, as well as learn about our other Influencers, Duff McKagan and Mackenzie Health hospital:
Started On A Bet
Born in Boston and raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles, Kundu was always passionate about music. But he didn’t expect to wind up with a career as a promoter and record executive. That happened by chance, while he was still in high school.
“For me, it all started as a bet,” he recalls. “My boys were trying to throw backyard parties and couldn’t pull it off, so they bet me that I couldn’t do it. I looked at it, thought it looked pretty easy, and ended up throwing my first party at this failing nightclub called the Ice House.”
Unfortunately, things didn’t exactly go as planned. The party was a complete failure, with only about 20 guests showing up. At this point, most people would decide promotion wasn’t for them and bow out. Not Kundu. First, he worked all summer to repay the man who funded the party. Then he threw himself back into promotion with a vengeance. Before long he was successfully promoting parties with thousands of guests.
“I remember the first time there were 4,000 people at a party I hosted,” says Kundu. “It was the craziest rush. I knew then that this was my life; this is what I wanted to do.”
Rocketing To Success
But Kundu was still a teenager. Once the initial excitement wore off he wasn’t sure a career in the music industry was a wise choice. After graduating high school, he tried to forget promotion and focus on economics and accounting at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
It didn’t stick. By 19, he was general manager of Santa Barbara’s number-one nightclub. Shortly thereafter, Kundu set up another firm, Baby Ree Productions, that produced tracks for Mariah Carey, Nate Dogg, Ja Rule, and Warren G.
Fast forward to graduation. After receiving his degree in economics and accounting, Kundu dissolved Baby Ree and joined MCA as VP of promotions. At the same time, he launched SKAM Artist to represent nightclub DJs and musicians.
Driven by Kundu’s ambition and determination, SKAM rose quickly in the fledgling EDM industry. But it wasn’t making much money; even the highest-paying jobs brought in only a few hundred dollars. For a while, it looked like SKAM would never be more than a side project. Then EDM went big and everything changed.
Thanks to the digitization of music and the rise of streaming services such as Soundcloud, DJs went from background figures to full-fledged celebrities, and EDM became a $6.2 billion global industry. With independent DJs in greater demand than ever and artists from other genres, such as hip hop, jumping on the bandwagon, Kundu soon found his clients generating upward of five figures per show. Today, SKAM is one of the biggest players on the nightclub scene, responsible for managing more than 70 DJs and musicians worldwide, including managing all of the aforementioned household names.
BlackBerry Hub Handles It All
Not many could handle Kundu’s two-job work days. “My day begins at 6 a.m. and often ends with me watching the sunrise the following morning,” he says. “Keeping up can be insane, so anything that can help me become more efficient is key. A lot of people ask me how I do so much in one day. How am I so efficient? And the answer is simple: my BlackBerry.”
In the music promotion industry, moving quickly is essential. Fast responses are the difference between gaining a client and losing them to a competitor. Kundu’s BlackBerry Passport Silver Edition has proven itself a vital tool for staying ahead, especially compared to the laptop that he used to haul around.
The BlackBerry Passport’s keyboard and BlackBerry Hub software sold Kundu on the device. With the keyboard, he’s able to type out emails quickly and efficiently, without having to spend time correcting his writing. And with the Hub, he can keep track of messages from every email account and social profile he manages.
“Access and information are key. Getting information as fast as possible and responding as fast as possible gives me a competitive edge over the guy next to me,” says Kundu, “and the Passport’s keyboard together with the Hub equip me to do that. Whether I’m at a festival in London or a club in Omaha, the BlackBerry Passport allows me to be efficient, save time, and make money.”
BBM Runs Vegas Nightclubs
BBM has become a cornerstone of nightclub management in Las Vegas, with organizers turning to the platform for everything from DJ management to coordination of club security. Because it’s fast, discreet, and reliable, it’s the perfect medium through which nightclub staff can communicate – and one that works in the noisy nightclub atmosphere to boot.
“In the nightlife world, BBM is the bible,” Kundu says.
So Kundu’s Passport has become doubly valuable in communicating with clients and industry contacts. It lets him connect in a way that other text messaging systems and phone calls don’t.
“I use BBM for pretty much everything,” he says. “When I’m in a club, maybe there’s a VIP that wants to hear a specific song – the DJ isn’t looking at his text messages, but he’s always looking at BBM. Even if he doesn’t respond to me, he’ll see the message and put the request through. A lot of times it’s also come through when I’ve had people stuck outside or in need of something.”
“Just A Nerdy Indian Kid”
Sujit Kundu has lived in the fast lane since he was a kid with wild dreams about music promotion. Thanks to BlackBerry, those dreams are now a reality. Kundu’s BlackBerry Passport is the only device capable of keeping up with the demands of his career and life – and it’s what helped him to rise to the top. “I was just a nerdy little Indian kid who wanted to build something special with his friends,” he muses. “Now, between Universal Motown and SKAM, I manage the careers of over one hundred artists at the top of their industry. When I find something to keep me sane, like my BlackBerry Passport, I stick with it.”
And as he drives himself to ever greater heights, he’s convinced plenty of skeptics along the way.
“Every time I pull out my BlackBerry at dinner, everyone has something smart to say. The first thing I offer in response is how much I love it. After the initial surprise, they want to touch it, they want to try it; next thing you know, they’re asking if I can get them a free one.”
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