Stroll through the halls of HARMAN’s Northridge campus, and you’ll likely spot posters of our products sharing the limelight with artists such as Sir Paul McCartney, Maroon 5, Quincy Jones and Jennifer Lopez—the upshot of Aaron Simon’s deal-making and relationship-building prowess. With music at the heart of all he does, Aaron’s record industry pedigree and his vision for a vastly broadened global awareness of brands such as JBL, AKG and HARMAN Kardon are unparalleled.
Aaron’s office is lined with platinum and gold records, a testament to his 20-year career working with chart-topping artists at some of the most prominent music and management companies in the business. In 2014, Billboard Magazine included him in their annual Under 40: Music’s Young Power Players issue which honors, “…progressive leaders reshaping the music industry” and, earlier this year, profiled Aaron again in their Top Branding Power Players: Masters of Music Marketing feature. Raised in a music industry family, Aaron’s parents both worked for Clive Davis and met at a CBS Records Christmas party; his brother is one of the heads of radio promotions at Republic Records.
Aaron joined HARMAN nearly six years ago after being pivotal to the careers of many top-selling artists of our time, including the Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Britney Spears, NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson, Daft Punk, Kid Rock, Katy Perry, R. Kelly, A Tribe Called Quest, Blue Man Group, Queen and others. He recognized the potential of forging relationships between HARMAN’s Professional Solutions and Lifestyle Audio brands and the artists, athletes and celebrities who use them.
“I was excited to take what I learned and experienced at places like Virgin Records, Atlantic Records, MTV, Disney Music Group and Jive Records, and apply those resources at a company as huge and iconic as HARMAN,” said Aaron. He now uses that industry know-how to secure high-profile talent and entertainment opportunities—ranging from Coachella to the Grammys to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame—that enhance brand awareness.
“It’s about introducing the influencers to HARMAN and HARMAN to them—like Elton John performing for us at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) or having Pitbull and Distortion of Sound documentary. It’s about bringing Tiesto and Lang Lang into the family and having Jennifer Lopez endorse our HARMAN Kardon products,” he said. “These artists draw attention to our brands and help us achieve even greater success.”
Peering into the future, Aaron hopes to further narrow the gap between HARMAN and the mainstream music industry. “We’re just scratching the surface of marrying who we are in the pro audio world, which is beyond legendary, and really letting consumers know our story. I’d like there to be a JBL Records in which we would bring in a distributor and a label and have our own imprint; it would send a tremendous message to the music community and consumers. I also think it may be time that JBL produce its own music festival, using all of our great gear, of course.”
When not immersed in deal making, Aaron’s favorite pastime is spending time with his seven-year-old daughter and five-year-old son. “I love hanging out with them. They’re literally learning how to shoot a basketball and ride bikes. My son has a good arm, so I’m teaching him how to throw, and I recently took my daughter to see Taylor Swift, which she loved,” he said.
Aaron also serves on the West Coast Board of the T.J. Martell Foundation, a leading music industry organization that raises money for leukemia, cancer and AIDs research. Although he’s too busy at the moment, he looks forward to finding time to pick up the drumsticks he put down in school years ago, when he was an award-winning jazz percussionist.
Many thanks to Aaron for sharing his story and connecting the world to HARMAN in so many exciting ways.