Behind the Scenes at FMG with Pepe Verde, Director of Content Operations
A shared passion for music and technology is the driving force behind everything we do here at Feed Media Group (FMG). We take great care to build our expanding team with people who are similarly driven – people like Pepe Verde, our Director of Content Operations and key member of our recently created Music Team.
When it comes to music, Pepe has participated in nearly every corner of the industry. Over the years, he’s been a fan, band member, DJ, club goer, record store employee, record distributor, product manager, music curator, and more. All of this experience gives him an incredibly unique perspective in his role here at FMG, allowing him to approach things from a variety of different angles. Furthermore, as a fully bilingual Spanish speaker who began and spent much of his career in his home country of Spain, Pepe also has the ability to bridge the gap between multiple languages and cultures, a skill that’s invaluable at the intersection of business, technology, and music.
Pepe says his spark for music ignited at age 8, when his mind was blown listening to his sisters’ records including “El Rock’n’Roll de Elvis Presley” and “20 Éxitos de Oro de los Beatles.” As for his love of technology and computers, he says it began around the same time after watching a screening of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, in which the enigmatic, artificially intelligent character HAL 9000 captured his young imagination.
His interest in tech would continue to grow and lead him to study computer science in Madrid, where he met and joined a band called Protones. The band was garnering a significant following in Spain, so he took a job at a record store and put his focus in managing the band.
When digital music eventually came along, he found a way to combine his two passions into one. “It (digital music) was a perfect match for me, even though the two subjects, music and computers, weren’t thought to get along very well (unless you’re producing techno).” Pepe says. From 2002-2009, he worked in a variety of different roles at the independent record label and distributor [PIAS], including as product manager and head of label relations for digital music.
After meeting his wife and deciding the high-octane nightlife of Madrid was not for them anymore, Pepe relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he was hired in 2012 at Pulselocker. Pepe served as publishing and label relations coordinator, content manager, and head of music for the DJ-focused streaming service. He went on to work as a YouTube Claims Specialist and a music curator for SoundCloud before finding us here at FMG.
As part of FMG’s Music Team, a day in the life for Pepe includes–among many other duties and responsibilities–overseeing metadata and making sure the music that labels deliver is properly ingested and cataloged for streaming. Anyone in the streaming industry can attest that this is a massively important, highly complex operation.
“Smaller labels deliver every week, whereas large labels deliver almost every day,” he says. “It’s up to me to detect when something is not looking good.” If Warner Music Group goes too many days without delivering, for example, he needs to investigate. Some of the process is automated, but many others parts are still manual.
With a steady flow of new labels coming in and waiting to be integrated, the job is never quite done. “Everyone has their own metadata flavor, you kind of have to reinvent the wheel whenever there is a new partner,” he says. It’s just one of the important tasks happening behind the scenes at FMG that makes music licensing and integration easy for businesses.
In his role, Pepe also supports the Curation Team because he has a view of the metadata under the hood. Certain data has to be displayed, Pepe says, but some data is much more granular than others. He also keeps tabs on what music is popular on social media sites like TikTok. For Pepe, an appreciator of nearly all kinds of music, his favorite genres don’t rule his curation style. “When it doesn’t matter what your favorite type of music is, that’s when you become a good curator,” Verde says. “It makes for good representation and quality experiences for the end user.”
“When it doesn’t matter what your favorite type of music is, that’s when you become a good curator,” Verde says. “It makes for good representation and quality experiences for the end user.”Pepe Verde, Director of Content Operations, Feed Media Group
Pepe’s talents shine because he has analog knowledge plus digital acumen, not only understanding the metadata but writing his own queries – ie: how many songs from this provider? He points out: “Engineers know a lot about computers, but sometimes they need guidance from the music industry.” In that regard, Pepe and the music team act as the bridge to the different departments of Feed Media Group, acting as the cohesive agent.
“What I enjoy most about working at FMG is first of all, the amazing team,” Pepe says. “The company culture and the can-do attitude is also a big plus. And the camaraderie, and of course being surrounded by music lovers like me, is just the best. As someone whose brain has one hemisphere geared towards computers and the other hemisphere tuned to music, working in Content Ops at a company like Feed is the perfect fit. I am one lucky guy!”
Tune in to Pepe’s Feed.fm mixtapes here: