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People On The Move: Mark Malek
MIXING IT UP
Mark Malek is a self-proclaimed “geek” who saw a great opportunity to capitalize on his artistic talents and hi-tech finance background to come up with a concept that’s sweeping the music industry. He is the founder of Lightspeed Digital Media.
The former Wall Street businessman (who worked at AT&T at the time this idea came to fruition) had an inkling that he wanted to do something entrepreneurial. He went out and raised money for a few start-up companies and landed a gig running Salesware. “We managed many major brands’ pipeline infrastructures into stores like Wal-Mart® and K-Mart®.” He did that for a while but remained an avid investor, hoping that one of his venture capitals would “bubble to the top.” Mark says, “Lightspeed Digital Media was one of those companies. Their technology enables real-time music collaboration and creation, linking musically oriented artists and fans alike. What drew me to this was the music thing.”
Malek often tried to collaborate on music with his younger brother Jason, who lives in Ocean Township (where Mark grew up), but he could never seem to get it together because of distractions and scheduling. The concept of this technology is something that made sense to the techie. What makes it practical is that it is in “real-time” online. Mark and his cofounders decided that this was something that people all over the world could use – at least as long as the technology would allow. They also decided that this was something people would actually pay to use. It was all systems go [in January 2006] when Mark and his team decided to launch their innovative business based on carefully studied economics.
The company has since grown in many different ways. Malek says they have become more of a media company. Word has leaked out, and record companies and artists have been turning to Lightspeed. The Marlboro father of two says it’s been great because the company hasn’t had to invest a whole lot on public relations. “We quickly got a lot of traction with record companies.” The social aspect is that people with similar music interests can log on and “talk back” to the artists during and after live shows online. “We have taken the venue experience, or the live experience, and combined it with the scalability of the Internet.” Mark says that “indie rockers” are really benefiting from using Lightspeed’s “Jam Now” capabilities online. He says it’s a place for them to showcase their work all over the world and get immediate feedback. It’s recorded, and can then be edited and either posted or downloaded.
Hip Hop artists are a huge sector of the music industry, using Lightspeed to broadcast live shows. Artists, such as Roots and Mims and Top 40 artist Secondhand Serenade, have been carried using Jam Now. Malek shares that Duffy and Fall Out Boy are two more slated for the second half of the year! He says that people in other industries have discovered the streaming site, too (i.e., comedians and religious evangelists). It works for anyone who wants to capture a large audience.
Lightspeed recently built a soundstage in Clifton, New Jersey, to provide ample recording space for bands and artists who want to perform and be recorded for broadcast. In the works are two websites for kids to virtually play music with one another…similar to Club Penguin. Lightspeed has licensed the infrastructure to them. Battle Rap is another site that is taking advantage of the technology. Malek says the possibilities are endless. “At the end of the day, together we are reaping some of the rewards from it. The Internet is here, and more and more people, especially the next generation, are going to use it for entertainment purposes.”
Mark has a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics, with minors in finance and accounting and a Masters in Business Administration in finance from Rutgers University. In his spare time he likes to cook; he also coaches soccer here in Marlboro, but his favorite thing to do is to jam and write songs!
Manhattan Steakhouse and David Burke Fromagerie
when people are not punctual
THREE PEOPLE YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE DINNER WITH
Mozart, Martin Scorsese, and Albert Einstein
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