Niles Heron; COO - Loaded


Access, Industry


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.


Before there was Ultra Music Festival, there was The Winter Music Conference, the annual coming together of the dance music tribes. Miami in March is a fundamental place to be from a business perspective, and has always given me endless opportunities for discovering new partnerships and talent. WMC brings together the dance music industry and surrounding culture like no other event in America. I’ve been attending WMC for nearly 20 years, and I’m very much looking forward to experiencing its evolution in 2019.

Matt Colon

Partner/founder, Deckstar Artist Management

WMC is and has always been the lifeblood of the dance music scene. Never missed a year since ’96, I can’t imagine Amsterdam Dance Event or Ibiza Music Summit existing without the blueprint that WMC originated. Seeing this revived is absolutely essential to reunifying the North American scene surrounding electronic music and its fringes.

Tommie Sunshine

Producer/DJ/Activist/Netflix Host

“Winter Music Conference is my ground zero. It has always provided the perfect storm of opportunity and excitement for up and coming artists, including myself back in 2003, where I first caught a glimpse of how it felt to have an audience respond to my work. Over the years, I’ve always made it a point to have WMC in my calendar because that’s the spot where everyone congregates and you can feel it in the air. Creativity, brother and sisterhood, FUN and most of all the chance to come together as a community and celebrate the reason we are all here—the music.”



I first went to WMC ’87, the year I started Big Beat. It was an incredibly inspiring congregation of indie labels, DJs, artists, songwriters, producers and dance music lovers dedicated to breaking and discovering new music. WMC has been instrumental in furthering the dance and electronic cause; keeping the community connected, vital and relevant, and serving as an amazing springboard for talent. It’s a fantastic crucible for the future of dance music. Long may it live.

Craig Kallman

CEO & Co-Chairman Atlantic Records, Founder Big Beat Records

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