Future 25: Jacob Pace Wants to Build the MTV of Tomorrow - Rolling Stone
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Future 25: Jacob Pace, CEO of Flighthouse

The 20-year-old CEO is music’s baby-face mogul who wants to build the MTV of tomorrow

Jacob Pace

Maggie Shannon

When Jacob Pace moved from his native El Paso, Texas, to Los Angeles to jump-start his career in the music business, he was greeted with bewilderment. Pace had been helping artists promote their music on YouTube while working out of his parents’ house. The label executives who’d hired him to run PR for their artists were expecting a seasoned industry pro — not a 16-year-old kid.

Now, at 20, Pace is CEO of Flighthouse, a media and video company that specializes in teen-friendly programming, like clever memes created in collaboration with chart-toppers such as Billie Eilish and Ariana Grande, and interviews with YouTube stars, which run on Flighthouse’s recently launched YouTube channel. Though it’s only a couple of years old, Flighthouse averages a billion views a month and aims to become the premier content brand for Generation Z. “The media industry is always ripe for disruption,” Pace says. “The content can be as short as 15 seconds. Everyone that I talk to is trying to figure out this short-form mobile content game, which is the sort of stuff we’ve been experimenting in for a long time, so it’s really cool timing.”

Flighthouse’s parent company, the distributor and publisher Create Music Group, acquired it two years ago when Flighthouse was a discovery channel on the video app Musical.ly (which became TikTok), where viral videos burst out of shaky phone cameras. Create, which had hired Pace in 2015 to help run business development, put him in charge of Flighthouse, and he’s been growing it into a multifaceted media company ever since. “A year and a half ago, when I first assembled the team, my proposal was like, ‘I want to see it become a modern-day MTV,’ ” Pace says. “We don’t want to be everywhere. We want to take all the platforms into consideration and figure out which ones make the most sense.”

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On a personal level, Pace’s last name belies his zealous work schedule — the young executive says he is currently clocking “25 hours a day, 8 days a week” and forever searching for other people who are similarly “hungry to accomplish what it is they want to do” — and his energy and optimism are fitting for a time when the music industry is just beginning to be hopeful again about its financial prospects.

After countless meetings with veteran record executives, the fact that he’s significantly younger than anyone else in the room has faded into the back of his mind. “I kind of look at myself and everyone else as the same age, as weird as that sounds, Pace says. “I can’t really grow a beard right now, so I’m stuck with this baby face for a little bit. But I don’t really take that into consideration. You can let your work speak for itself.”

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