Ethan Kaplan

GM, Fender Digital
Fender Musical Instruments Corporation

Ethan Kaplan brings over 20 years of experience to Fender Musical Instruments Corporation’s (FMIC), the world’s leading guitar and musical instruments manufacturer transforming music history since 1946. In these roles, this seasoned and respected executive represents a series of firsts for the company, holding the distinction of being both the first CPO in the guitar manufacturer’s illustrious 70-year history and the first head of its wholly owned and rapidly evolving digital consumer products division, Fender Digital. Among many digital initiatives, he shepherded the creation of the new department from scratch, recruiting, staffing, and overseeing the team since joining in September of 2015. 2016 sees Ethan and his team initiate major digital modernizations for Fender focused on education, customization and innovation as well as upcoming mobile learning platform innovations. He’s formally ushering a digital ecosystem and directing the company ahead of the curve online.

He started his career with his self-proclaimed “dream job” at Warner Bros. Records. Eventually, he’d rise through the ranks to SVP of Technology for both Warner Bros. Records and Warner Music Group where he lead the development of their first-ever direct-to-fan platform. He collaborated closely with favorite band R.E.M. on the creation of multiple web sites, an open-source music video, and live fan-generated video on stage to launch Accelerate in 2008, which earned the group it’s highest Billboard Top 200 bow since 1996. He transitioned to Live Nation as part of their acquisition of Big Champagne. There, he assumed the role of Head of Product/Technology and helped found Live Nation Labs, a startup within the premier concert promoter that changed the concert experience from discovery to purchase to attendance.

Digital innovation has been engrained in Kaplan since he can remember. At only 16 yrs. Old, he started R.E.M.’s most prominent fan web site, Murmurs.com.

[Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.]

Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.