Niles Heron; COO - Loaded


Access 2019, Industry 2019


Niles Heron

“There is no such thing as a broken system, they build exactly what they are designed to.” Niles Heron didn’t really understand what he was learning when he took everything (yes, everything) apart as a child, he just knew his parents begrudgingly encouraged it. It was much less of an issue when he got good enough at it to successfully reassemble things. Eventually radios and old walkmans turned into computers, and well… Computers had games on them.

One day, Counter-Strike (version 1.4) turned on, and the rest of the world kind of faded away. There weren’t many safe spaces in his Detroit neighborhood, nor were there many outlets for tech-driven passion in Detroit in the late 90s and early 2000s -- but in gaming, Niles found a community, competitive fulfilment, and a market filled with opportunity. After co-founding an online radio station, he went on to work for local and national esports tournament organizers, as well as in management for teams competing at the highest levels of esports. He was able to help send gamers around the globe to follow their dreams before he turned 20, and in doing so realize both the size of the world, and also the accessibility of it through the internet.

He firmly believes that entrepreneurship is about building good systems (solving problems at scale). Niles left esports in late 2007, and worked for the better part of 10 years across corporate, creative, and entrepreneurial settings helping design and implement systems to drive growth, productivity, and value. This work took him from Detroit to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and back to Detroit with companies in BioTech, Automotive, Aerospace, Technology, and Entertainment. He specifically spent time in each market working in music and entertainment, helping support and manage various local and national recording artists, producers, and videographers — moonlighting around his passion after clocking-out of his day job(s).

He’s been a part of a number of startups -- a few exits, a few exciting failures -- and has invested heavily in trying to make paths like the one he took more accessible to the under-represented spaces he came from. He’s taught and mentored at incubators and accelerators (TechStars, Gener8tor, Detroit’s TechTown), spoken across the country at events about the the value of entrepreneurship and startups to founders and the communities they live in, and is a respected voice in the Detroit Startup ecosystem. He was honored by Crain’s Detroit Business as a 20 in their 20s award winner in 2015.


The Winter Music Conference represents a chance for Beatport to connect directly with our customer community. Having a strong conference means we have a platform to embrace the entire spectrum of electronic music culture. We are proud to support the resurgence of this great event.

Jonas Tempel

Beatport, Co-Founder

Miami has always been a place I’ve considered home and WMC was essential for me and the label in many ways. From showcasing our new music to keeping up with all the new artists and releases. It was the official kickoff of the year and I’m happy to see it thriving again.

Louie Vega

DJ/Vega Records

I feel fortunate to have been part of the first-ever WMC. Over the 35 years, it has grown to give us an international forum where we exchange music and ideas. As an attendee and host of many of the award shows, I am proud each time I see new young talent emerge and then become world-renowned. We all have so many Winter Music Conference moments of hearing a seminal breakthrough record for the first time as well as a new DJ with star quality. Magical moments in my career.

Daniel Glass

Glassnote Records

If you want to know about our industry from the people that make it happen then go to WMC. It’s an accelerated masterclass in all things dance music.

Carl Cox

DJ/Intec Records

I’m so glad to see WMC rebooted with such thoughtful content and first-class curation. It’s been a long time since the industry had a must-do American event and this is it. The reborn WMC!

Patrick Moxey

Ultra Music