20 Years of MassiveMusic

by MassiveMusic



MMXX: An Interview with CEO & Founder Hans Brouwer

We’re turning 20 this week! Can you believe that?

The day Hans Brouwer founded our music agency he only had a handful of massive dreams. It was back in the 2000 – the year of MySpace, iPod Classic and Eminem dominating the charts. (So, technically, we’re still Millennials).

We focused on new beginnings and opened an office in Amsterdam but soon revisited the notion of ‘home’ making room for New York, Los Angeles, London, Tokyo and Berlin.

Like everyone, we’ve had our ups and downs, yet here we are. We may not be of legal drinking age yet, but who needs that when you have the music?

To acknowledge two decades of helping the advertising industry tell their stories and brands find their voice, we created a little video and interviewed Massivian #1: Mr. Hans Brouwer himself. Take our hand and take a trip down memory lane.

Ready? Let’s go!

An interview with Hans Brouwer

Once upon a time a guy from Amsterdam who goes by the name of Hans decided it was time to..

..fill in the blanks in the creative music industry and start a new company. One thing I was sure of at that moment was that it was going to be massive.

  • That time we flew to New York City to open the 2nd MM office

How different was it back then? And how is it now?

The advertising industry wasn’t that different, but the attention that brands now have towards sonic branding is something that wasn’t much present back then. From a company perspective, to think I started the journey on my own and there are now 70 Massivians spread over 4 continents, well, that’s kind of amazing.

  • That time we took a group picture during Cannes Lions 2019

What are the achievements you’re most proud of?

It’s funny you’re asking this during the Cannes Lions week, which is not happening for the first time in over 20 years. Those moments and special connections we created during the past Cannes editions – that’s what truly fills my heart with joy.

Moreover, I’m proud of the awards we won there throughout the years. And of course, I’m incredibly proud of my team who is in a better shape than ever before.

  • That time aliens came to visit during our MMMission party

How do you feel about not having a 2020 MassiveMusic x MediaMonks party?

It’s a pity not being able to see the friends and clients we’ve worked with. The world took a break, and rightly so. I’m sure it will help do better next year.

It’s like when you listen to that brief silence between two tracks. It’s there to make you miss what it used to be and make you crave what it will be. I’m looking forward to 23 June 2021. Wednesday nights during Cannes Lions will always be Massive’s.

When it comes to work and projects we worked on, what are your favourite ones?

Well, you know me. Music and football are my biggest passions. I always love working with sports and especially football teams and brands, like we did in the past with AJAX, FIFA, Premier League and UEFA.

Generally speaking, I prefer to focus on the next job that comes in. Every brief is different so it’s always a surprise what music style we’ll be focusing on.

At the moment we are working on an incredible movie which is not our usual cup of tea. A sign that there are always new challenges we like to explore. That’s exactly what I had envisioned for Massive.

  • That time we bought a fake crime-scene car and managed to drive all the way to Cannes

We work on many sonic brand identities but.. What does MassiveMusic sound like?

It’s warm but fierce, familiar but progressive, orange but global. Something that makes you feel alive in the moment, yet with an eye on the future.

Oh and there’s probably a choir in there.

  • That time we jammed the night away (part I)

What is the boldest thing we’ve done as Massive?

In 2010, at the peak of the financial crisis, we had the guts to throw the ‘NO PARTY’ party. Gold dust and fake Rolexes falling from the sky included. Our idea was to ‘exaggerate’ just for one night and create a contrast with the situation that the world was facing. It was a great escape from reality at that moment. And music always plays its magical role in this.

Company culture: how has Massive grown?

The global growth has been very organic and natural and I have to thank all the like-minded music lovers who spoke our language and decided to hop on board and do that with us.

Personally, the gut feeling and first impressions count a lot. I think I’m quite good at telling if someone has the Massive DNA or not. It’s a sparkle in the eye, a witty yet enthusiastic view on the world, a sacred passion for music.

  • That time Amsterdam had to bear with us and our bold statements

Any advice you would give to the ones who are starting their own business in 2020?

I think that now is the perfect time to start your own company. It’s in disruptive times like these that you capture your best ideas and let them flourish. Because of the economic circumstances, clever decisions about expenses are everything, so make sure you spend some time on that. If you manage to get past this phase, you will do great when the economy goes back to normal.

Let’s wrap it up with some music questions. What is music to you?

Everything and beyond. As a musician, I play 70s’ and 80s’ soul funk music but, as a listener, I listen to pretty much anything. The biggest difference is how I play it.

I come from a generation that used to play music via vinyl, musicassette, CD, MP3 player and streaming. Five different ways of consuming music in one life. Crazy if you think about it, isn’t it? The industry is changing so rapidly. No matter the format, music is and will always be a loyal companion.

  • That time* Hans impressed us with his bass lines (*one of the many)

We didn’t invent music, we only discovered it. Do you agree?

Indeed. It’s all about frequencies, harmonies, rhythms present in nature. The ‘only’ thing we humans did was inventing instruments to control sounds in a better way.

  • That time we jammed the night away (part II)

What does the future hold?

It took us 20 years to be where we are, gaining the knowledge we have today, both in the advertising world and in the branding world.

Yet, we’re still the outlaws who feel they’re just getting started. We turned 20 but we feel younger than ever. So, what does the future hold? Well, at least another 20 Massive years if you ask me.