A 26-year-old Toronto entrepreneur, who quit his investment banking job to pursue his dreams, has made Forbes magazine’s “30 under 30” list for music, alongside industry heavyweights like Drake and Lady Gaga.
Derrick Fung is the mind behind Tunezy, a website that allows fans to pay for unique music experiences, including backstage passes, meet and greets with their favourite artists, or private online chats.
Fung says the idea for Tunezy came from consumption trends in music.
“We knew that the music industry was in trouble,” he said in a recent interview from New York. “We saw that more and more artists were not making their money in selling their actual music.”
Fung says up-and-coming artists have most to gain from Tunezy. They can use the site to promote themselves, and give back to their fans.
Two years after starting the company, Tunezy was bought for a seven-figure sum by American electronic dance music promoter SFX Entertainment in November, but Fung remains CEO.
Fung, who graduated from University of Toronto in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, started his career in the finance industry working on the trading floor for CIBC.
A turning point in Fung’s life was when his boss offered him funding for Tunezy under the condition that he quit his job and follow his dream.
For Fung, the shift to the music industry was a natural choice.
“I’ve always been passionate about the music industry. When I was young I owned and operated the largest sheet music community on the Internet and I play music myself,” he said.
“If you’re a young person and you have dreams and ambition, there’s nothing stopping you from creating the next Google or the next Facebook. That’s what drives me.”