Get to Know the Founder of Proximity, Blake Coppelson

Get to Know the Founder of Proximity, Blake Coppelson

By Danielle Ilag

*This interview is older and was in our Issue 63 magazine.

Blake Coppelson created the YouTube channel Proximity (previously Pandora Music) in 2009 so he could release his own tracks to share his music with friends. After the first video, he began uploading content from various artists through music sent to him by artists themselves, labels, and management companies. He discovered he had a keen ear for finding music the electronic community hadn’t heard yet and people ended up loving it. 

This year, Proximity teamed up with Los Angeles-based event company Brownies & Lemonade to throw Digital Mirage, a three-day online music festival featuring 50 artists on the lineup. Incredibly, they raised over $300,000 which all went to benefit the Sweet Relief, Musicians Fund. 


Two months later, Proximity and Brownies & Lemonade came back with Digital Mirage 2.0 featuring another 50 artists on the lineup and this time, raised over $70,000 to benefit the Equal Justice Initiative and Color of Change.

As of today, Proximity is one of the largest outlets for distributing electronic dance music in the world with a YouTube channel of 8.65 million subscribers. It’s widely known by everyone in the community and is a trusted go-to source by fans for new music discovery. 

What inspires you daily?

What inspires me daily are my family, friends, and independent success stories of the people I read about online. 

How was music a part of your life growing up? Did you play any musical instruments or produce music in your past?

I always tried to play a few instruments here and there but never committed to one for more than a year. I tried production out for a year as well, so I guess I just have a basic understanding of everything!

What was the motivation for you to start your own YouTube channel a few years ago?

It wasn’t anything more than just easier access to show my friends’ music whenever I went to their homes instead of burning CD’s or starting a blog. Just good old Windows movie maker and a background! 

YouTube was very consumer-friendly when it came to allowing anyone to really upload anything, especially audio (since there were no copyright claims back then).

What is your main goal with Proximity?

My main goal with Proximity is to be a multimedia company where we have original programming, curating the best music, signing undiscovered talent, and housing it under the most powerful brand in dance/pop music. 

We want to provide the tools of a record label but at fairer deals to artists, have artists play our events without making them sign radius clauses, and help them expand into more than just music to help give them a further voice. 

How did you choose the name Proximity after you had to change your channel from Pandora Music?

I had to choose a name with the letter “P” since we still had the same logo. My friend suggested Proximity and after looking at the connotation it made perfect sense. We took closeness in relation to distance and interpreted it as our community being close together with the music and channel.

How has the style of your YouTube videos changed over the years?

The style of the YouTube videos has changed in line with the same shift EDM has had. We post anything under the electronic umbrella, but as trends change and my own taste changes it gets reflected in the uploads you see/hear on Proximity!

I believe you’re a one-man show. What helps you get through hours of picking out the music, uploading videos, and answering comments on social media?

Well, the music is stimulating to listen to. Each track is so unique and it’s almost like gambling. I never know when I’m going to get something good. The excitement around when I potentially find an amazing song online or in the demo submissions is what’s worth listening to all these tracks all day. 

At what point did you realize you should create the offshoot Proximity Chill where listeners can enjoy chill music?

I always loved chill music, but it was too different from the taste and style for Proximity that I had to create a separate channel for it. I’ll try and make it more active though.

How did your partnership with Brownies & Lemonade come about for both versions of your virtual music festivals Digital Mirage? These happened during the early stages of COVID-19 so there’s very much an organic charm to it.

Yes, we both had the same vision! With two amazing audiences we thought we’d put them, and our teams respectively, together to create the best possible brand, festival, and stream. I’m pretty proud of what we created.

What was the process like from idea to execution to pull together these two virtual music festivals?

It was a huge learning curve. Neither of our teams has ever pulled off an online event before. Logistically, it was difficult to get 50 sets done and made in less than two weeks. Somehow we did it! 

How do you decipher if a track is a fit for your channel when a song is submitted?

For me, it’s purely an instinct. I know the brand/channel/audience of Proximity well enough to know if a song is a good fit or not within 5 seconds (skipping through different segments).

Who is your dream artist to work with?

My dream artist to work with is Daft Punk.

How do you define success in what you do?

I define success in what I do by making people feel what I feel when I share the music. This is similar to how I did it in high school and why I started Proximity in general. If I make someone happier as a result of something I did, that is a success. 

What are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of how well I can make a chicken parmesan without ever looking at an online recipe.




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