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28. Diplo

DJ, founder, Mad Decent

28. Diplo

The Synthesizer

Diplo (né Thomas Wesley Pentz) is the mind behind Mad Decent, which is the label behind Baauer, the DJ whose track "Harlem Shake" was the contagious YouTube song-and-dance craze early this year. Diplo shares the secrets of the Shake: "We sold nearly 1 million copies, but spent under $5,000 on marketing. How? We gave the song away to begin; we didn’t fight pirating; and when a spark happened, we just added fuel to the fire. So many labels are going out of business. We bring it back to where it counts: releasing exciting music."

Here's Diplo himself.

Here's Diplo's collaborative project (originally started with fellow DJ/producer Switch), Major Lazer.

Here's Diplo-as-curator, from his BBC Radio show, "Diplo And Friends."

[Portrait illustration by Denise Nestor]