Angel “AROCK” Castillo is the founder of BPM Supreme, one of biggest record pools for DJs to date. Serving both professional and up and coming DJs, producers, and remixers all around the world, the platform serves as the go-to source of music for well over a decade, priding themselves on being the biggest digital music service currently in the world with the biggest database of users.
With AROCK opening his first BPM Supreme headquarters in sunny San Diego in 2011, it was only right they expanded to Los Angeles—the mecca of the entertainment industry. Taking his 21 years of experience in the music industry, dating back to 12 years old when he worked in radio and a record pool during the vinyl days, AROCK now shifts his focus to his entrepreneur side. The San Diego native recalls distributing vinyl back in the day, which follows a similar business model as BPM Supreme today.
As a Latino business owner, AROCK then created BPM Latino in 2012, given his roots as well as the recent surge of Latin music. In the past two years, the Latin market has been growing and evolving exponentially by the minute, in turn creating content specifically targeting this demographic. Fast forward to August of this year, AROCK launched BPM’s latest service called BPM Create, a sample library for producers. Expanding from servicing DJs to servicing producers, AROCK continues to showcase his genuine desire to help music creators overall.
Flaunt caught up with AROCK via phone to discuss his journey from seeing the DJ at a middle school dance to now running a lucrative business with BPM Supreme.
AROCK, being from San Diego, how did you get your start in all this?
How I got my start was me walking into one of my school dances and seeing the DJ. The biggest thing for me was going in and seeing how the DJ was controlling the crowd, it was very inspiring. I said “man, I need to learn how to do this.” This was around the age of 12, right when I entered middle school. That’s when I decided I want to start DJing, I want to learn the ins and outs. I started DJing at a young age. From there, I fell in love with the music. It’s been an amazing journey since.
When did you first come up with the concept of BPM Supreme?
Around 2007, but the website didn’t launch until 2011. I used to work at a record pool where we’d service the vinyl, similar concept but obviously back in the day it’s all vinyl. Subscription service, you’d come and pick up your vinyl. When Serato came out back in 2004-2005, I said there’s got to be a way for us to innovate and be able to service as mp3s. At the time, the record pool I was working with didn’t believe in innovating. They didn’t believe vinyl would ever go away. I felt it was time for me to go my own way and start working on this project, and that’s what happened.
Talk about getting into this entrepreneur space, how difficult or easy was it?
I didn’t go to business school, so I had to learn everything as I was creating it. You face lots of challenges. It gets to a point where the more you fail, the more you end up learning. It’s how you adapt and are able to overcome it the next time. One of the biggest challenges at the time for me was technology. Technology wasn’t as advanced as it is now, and a lot of the stuff I was trying to implement into the service was available early on. Also, advertising wasn’t as powerful as it is today. Growing a user base the first three years was one of the hardest parts. I was trying to grow a global business, face challenges with technology, and build the content library all at the same time, so it was difficult.
Was there a turning point where you first tasted some success with BPM Supreme?
It’s been such a cool journey, honestly. I think I first started realizing that BPM Supreme was growing when I watched our user base literally grow by the hour. Also, when I would go out and people would come up to me, shake my hand, and say, ‘AROCK, you guys are amazing! You guys are killing it.’ Those moments were really inspiring, and it was exciting to see that what we were doing was working. Success was never about financial growth for me. It was about creating an essential tool DJs could use to make their music discovery process more efficient. I know we’re doing something right when we attract some of the biggest DJs in the world to use our service and when some of the biggest companies in music want to partner with us.
What does it mean to be a Latino business owner?
I’m proud! There’s not very many out there, and not many when it comes to the music and tech space. It’s definitely a good feeling to be able to be one of many and I hope it inspires other young Latinos to take chances the way I did.
Talk about opening the new office in Los Angeles last year.
We’ve been based out of San Diego from the beginning. Last year in October, we decided to open up a second location in LA. It’s part of the evolution of the company, taking it to a market like LA was needed. The company definitely matured over the past few years. It was time for us to be in a market where most of our colleagues and most of the partners we work with are close by in the same city. It made 1000% sense for us to move there.
How is it handling business in a pandemic world?
It’s interesting because I don’t think the pandemic affected us. Fortunately for us, we were able to get creative with how to provide entertainment to our users. How can we do contests for them? How can we market to them and give them some inspiration to say “hey, there’s another side to this coin.” If you can’t DJ at clubs, we’re going to teach you how to make music by giving you tutorials. If you can’t DJ at a club, why don’t you turn in some remixes and join our contest? We recently partnered with T-Pain to launch a remix contest with one of his singles with Chris Brown. Doing cool things like this, we want to keep the momentum going and keep the users engaged with us.
With the recent launch of BPM Create, what are you most excited for?
I’m most excited that the space is so big. When you think of producers, there are probably 10 producers for every DJ. It’s the evolution of BPM Supreme maturing into an overall music company, rather than your typical record pool. A record pool is a very small niche, a niche of a niche almost. [laughs] Now, we’re really into a way bigger space. I’m very excited. This is the beginning of what people are going to see, BPM Supreme will soon become an overall music brand. Anybody that loves music will fall in love with our brand and be able to use our products.
How does BPM Supreme compare to a platform like DJ City?
We’re very different. The competitors definitely have a particular niche that feeds the DJ space. Everybody has their pros and cons. BPM Supreme is a more mature company, it’s a tech-driven business. Our technology’s way more advanced than most competitors. Our user base and traffic has tripled the amount of traffic that most companies have. Also, when it comes to innovations, we decided to do it on our own. There’s been several companies they’ve partnered with, where they try to come to us to try to do the same thing prior to them partnering with them. We decided we weren’t interested, we have what it takes to do it on our own.
Goals at this point of your career?
At this point, to develop more music services, in between tech and music. Help the music space as a whole to innovate with technology. How can we improve the way artists submit music to labels? How can we provide a platform for artists? How do we help this other spectrum of the music space? That’s what we’re looking at now. My team at BPM Supreme is obviously into music and they are a part of the music industry. So, how do we help out other areas in the industry? Not just from a DJ or producer standpoint, but any music creator whether they’re drummers, singers, songwriters. BPM Supreme will soon be an overall music company and cover the entire music spectrum.