Exec Profile: Mark Weiss of 237 Global

Mark Weiss


237 Global

Years with Company: 9

Address: New York, Nashville, London, Los Angeles and Valencia

Web: 237global.com

Email: [email protected]

Clients: The Band Camino, Wiz Khalifa, Panic! At The Disco, Smashing Pumpkins, Weezer, Avril Lavigne, New Kids On The Block, Shawn Mendes


Giving his business a name that’s a subtle nod to Stephen King, Mark Weiss founded 237 Global to curate the direct-to-fan experience. Meet-and-greets, ticketing opportunities, and exclusive merch access all fall under this umbrella. He also works with musicians and other types of celebrities to build apps that facilitate meaningful fan connections.

Rocking Sales

I went to Syracuse University and graduated in the early ‘90s. I then got into sales and financial. I liked being in sales, but didn’t love financial products. Around the mid-‘90s, a friend said, “Why don’t you get into internet advertising?” I started selling advertising space on Prodigy and CompuServe. 

A New Vertical

I played in bands, but didn’t know any path to getting into the music business. It didn’t seem possible. Yet, I ended up, through different ad sales ventures, merging into a company called 24/7 Media, which repped thousands of websites. Picture thousands of magazines not having an ad sales force. These aggregator networks, DoubleClick being the biggest, said, “We’re going to deliver ads across all these different websites.” 

I said, “Someone should take on the music side of it.” Rolling Stone was a client. Artistdirect was a client. I said, “I’m just going to take on music as a vertical.” That wasn’t what the owners of the company were looking for. I said, “Do you mind if I start that concept?” And they were cool about it. 

Site Lines

One day, the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC fell into our laps. The people behind them said, “We have websites for these artists and they’re really popular.” We looked at their metrics and noticed they were getting more traffic than MTV. I said, “Someone needs to build artist websites and bring advertisers to them.” I noticed there was no website for OutKast, Blink-182, Christina Aguilera… All these big artists. So we started building websites and bringing in advertisers. 

Revolutionizing Ticket Sales

We started to see tremendous requests from fans. They wanted to find out how to get tickets, could they meet the artist… I was noticing what Pearl Jam and Dave Matthews were doing. I was blown away by how they were utilizing websites, organizing clubs, and allowing people to pay to be granted access to tickets. 

I remembered standing in line in 1987 for David Bowie tickets. I was first in line, figuring I’d be sitting in the front row. By the time I got to the counter, the computer said there are people ahead at the other outlets. I was upset about waiting out all night and not getting good tickets. So this concept of automating the process and allowing it to be more fair and controlled by the artist, I thought, was brilliant.

A Growing Niche

I noticed there was a burgeoning pop/punk/emo market. I said, “Someone needs to help these bands with a direct-to-consumer approach.” I also started seeing social media pop up. I said, “Social media could spur a much more direct-to-consumer play where artists could start making tickets, merchandise, and different experiences available for their consumers.”

 So, we started a company called Artist Arena. The first client was 311. The idea was to help get tickets into the hands of diehard fans. We organically started seeing meet-and-greet packages develop. We were able to work with bands that were starting to explode, like Fall Out Boy, Paramore, Panic! At the Disco and 3 Doors Down. We were fortunate to be in with a lot of these artists and grow with them. 

Coming Full Circle

Warner Music was diversifying from just being in records and wanted to be deeper in the direct-to-consumer world. They acquired Artist Arena in 2007. 

Then, in 2012, Warner changed ownership, went private and I was able to exit. I wanted to do anything but Artist Arena Part 2. I looked at starting an influencer management company. I started a record label with RCA. I was dabbling in lots of areas and enjoying it. 

A few key people I look up to said, “When are you going to do Artist Arena Part 2?” Some of their advice was, “Why don’t you go bigger on the V.I.P. experiences?” That sounded like a great idea. 

Easy and Profitable Fan Offers

If fans want to pay to watch sound check, why not let them? And if fans want backstage tours or a picture on stage, those things don’t add a lot of cost or tax the artist. Why not make these experiences available? 

Branding Fan Engagement

Here we are in 2016, and all these big artists don’t have a presence in the app stores. How’s that possible? Two brilliant guys walked into my life, Shawn Mendes and his manager, Andrew Gertler. Andrew was working at Artist Arena after I left, so he understood not only how to find and break talent but also the core of what Artist Arena was doing with fan engagement. He said, “There should be a merged access point for everything Shawn.” We said, “Yeah, if we’re going to offer a V.I.P. experience, why don’t we brand it?”

C’mon, Get Appy

We built an app called ShawnAccess. It’s been downloaded more than a million times. It allows Shawn and his team to use push notifications, to put all the tour dates in one place. The whole process of ticket presales is completely automated. You can track data to figure out where fans are coming from, their buying patterns, all of that. 

We said, “Wow, we should figure out how to take this platform and make it easy for any celebrity, whether it’s an athlete, podcaster, or comedian, to have a presence in the App Store and connect with fans, sell merch, do live chats, create message boards, use augmented reality, all the things they want to do. We’ve been able to launch apps for New Kids On The Block, Tate McRae… We launched recently with Rival Sons, Tedeschi Trucks Band, and The Band Camino. It’s been a nice buildout. 

Giving Artists Control

If somebody jumps on an Instagram Live chat, you can’t control who comes in and out or slow comments down. If you want custom features or want to do it behind a paywall, you can’t. But you can in your own app. Some artists are like, “I want to change all the fonts,” and things like that. We try to make it so every app we launch is custom to them. 

Getting On Board With Growing Artists 

I’m a sucker for developing artists. I met Justin Bieber before he did his first headlining concert. I met Shawn Mendes when he was selling 1,000 tickets a night. The first time I saw Fall Out Boy was on a Saturday afternoon. I’ve been able to see small artists become big artists really fast.