Audeze, who regular readers will know make planar magnetic headphones which we reviewed here, have announced that long-Audeze-LCD-XC-B-L-Bubinga-SeatedR-01-600x600_0time music lifestyle industry veteran Kurt Soto has been named the company’s new marketing director. In this role Soto oversees all aspects of marketing including advertising and communications, lifestyle marketing and in-store environments.

Soto joins Audeze following 29 years at youth lifestyle giant Vans where he rose from teenager working in retail to overseeing Vans’ global music lifestyle programs working with artists ranging from Pharrell Williams to Public Enemy to Metallica.

“You’d be hard pressed to find a marketer with the wealth of experience that Kurt brings to the table,” said Audeze founder and CEO Alexander Rosson. “We’re excited to add Kurt to the team as Audeze looks to build on our outstanding reputation in the premium headphone market.”

A 16-year-old Soto began at Vans in the mid-80s putting on skateboard, BMX and break dancing demos staged to draw customers as the company struggled to emerge from bankruptcy. Soto worked his way into the company’s fledgling marketing department leading industry trade show operations.

In the late 1990s, Soto played a key role in activating two lifestyle programs that would help transform Vans from small Southern California shoe retailer into a global footwear and apparel brand with the 18-event Vans Triple Crown action sports events and the Vans Warped Tour music festival series. The Vans Triple Crown would lead a new generation’s interest in action sports and inspire the creation of the X-Games, while the Vans Warped Tour continues on today as America’s longest-running music tour. In both roles Soto was responsible for creating and activating experiences on site that built a strong bond between Vans and their avid consumers.

Alongside Vans’ major event series, Soto put together an artist program at Vans, building relationships with musicians and celebrities while also overseeing Vans product placement in film and television. As Vans continued to grow into the new millennium, Soto led the creation of Vans’ music collaboration series and launched co-branded product with acts including No Doubt, Queen and Metallica among dozens of others. The music product led to broader collaborations with Yo Gabba Gabba! and Marvel Comics. Soto’s music programs went global, establishing concert in Europe and pop-up lifestyle events in Asia. Soto has been lauded as an industry innovator by Alternative Press and Billboard magazines.

 

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