How Marshmello Built One of the Most Successful Brands in Dance Music

Marshmello at Lollapalooza Argentina in 2017. (Source: Facebook)

Marshmello has become one of the most successful brands in dance music, and in a new feature story in Billboard, the DJ/producer and his manager discuss how they built it.

Of course, Marshmello wouldn’t be famous without his music. But the business and brand strategies that he and his manager Moe Shalizi used are a key part of the equation.

Why Marshmello wears a mask:

Shalizi: “It doesn’t matter who’s under this helmet. The ethos of the brand is creating something that doesn’t symbolize one person as an icon, but a movement of people.”

How the mask creates curiosity:

Marshmello: “It’s not every day you see something like Marshmello … You’re like, ‘Wait, what does [he] even do?’ You search and find the music.”

How he’s instantly recognizable, unlike many DJ/producers:

Shalizi: “It’s like Coca-Cola … When you see red and white, what do you think? We created an unforgettable ­character; a logo, essentially.”

How wearing a mask helps him avoid the spotlight:

Marshmello: “Everybody says, ‘Man, you have it made.’ … [Fame] is such a volatile ­situation, and it’ll usually change people for the worse. I’m happy not to be in that.”

Why he turned down offers from major labels:

Shalizi: “[The offers] weren’t genuine … It was like, ‘We don’t know if you’re real, but we’re willing to throw sh#t at the wall and see if it sticks.’”
Marshmello: “We bet on ourselves.”

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