Press Release

#HAPPENS taps longtime journalist and rock manager Ryan J. Downey to lead new ROCK division

Downey will curate a New Music Discovery experience for the Active Rock and Mainstream Rock community, bringing new content to the recently relaunched #HAPPENS website and delivering a rock-oriented #HAPPENS VIP newsletter to inboxes three times per week. These new services will operate in tandem with the #HAPPENS New Music Discovery Download Service soft-launched in January 2024.

“I’m very excited to help the team at #HAPPENS expand the service they provide to the rock music community,” says Downey. “Music is a universal language, and rock, in particular, continues to play a pivotal role in my life, like so many of us. #HAPPENS recognized the need for a new destination point for artists, programmers, on-air talent, labels, and the like to stay current on the genre. When they invited me to embark on the journey with them, the idea of partnering together for the Rock side made perfect sense.”

Industry veterans Todd Sievers, Ken Pittman, and Beatrix Danko established the annual #HAPPENS event in 2018. The top radio programmers, label executives, tastemakers, artists, and brands unite for thought-provoking conversations, unique social experiences, and live showcases each year. Participants have included The Offspring, Papa Roach, Alter Bridge, Nickelback, Fever 333, Daughtry, Biffy Clyro, Nita Strauss, Mammoth WVH, and members of Deftones, Korn, and System Of A Down, among many others.

“I really enjoyed working with Ryan as a manager and respect his commitment and passion to his artists and for the Rock format,” says Sievers. “His pension for details, metrics, and creative entrepreneurship is impressive. We think he will be an incredible addition to the #HAPPENS team and will help us grow into the industry-leading artist development company at the rock format.”

#HAPPENS mission is to foster Music, Discovery, and Community. The launch of the new ROCK destination comes just a few months after the launch of ALTERNATIVE, headed up by Shawn Alexander, who previously spent over 27 years at ALL ACCESS as SVP/Strategy, Music Formats & Alternative Editor.

“I’ve been an admirer of Ryan’s vast array of content for a while now,” Pittman says. “Giving him the reins and having him lead our new Rock division is an opportunity we simply could not turn down. I’m beyond excited to partner with Ryan and create an amazing service to our community.”

Downey has contributed as writer, host, and executive producer to several broadcast, digital, and print outlets, including MTV News, Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, and the GRAMMYs. He hosts the Speak N’ Destroy podcast and publishes the top rock and metal publication on Substack, Stream N’ Destroy.

As host of the MI Conversation Series at the Musician’s Institute in Hollywood, Downey’s guests have included Brendon Urie (Panic! At The Disco), Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath), Ace Frehley (KISS), and Rob Halford (Judas Priest). He is the co-author of books with Andy Biersack of Black Veil Brides and Ronnie Radke of Falling In Reverse, as well as graphic novel stories for Pantera, Type O Negative, and Ice Nine Kills.

While Senior Editor for Alternative Press, he wrote over a dozen cover stories on artists, including in-depth features on Green Day, Fall Out Boy, and Motionless In White. As a longtime artist manager, Downey represents Demon Hunter, Throwdown, and producer Zeuss (Rob Zombie, Hatebreed, Queensrÿche).  

Downey and the rest of the team will be at #HAPPENS2024, February 28 – March 1 in Las Vegas.

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