Get to know Hemish Gholkar, the maestro of digital influence who's experiencing a meteoric rise through the art of making records go viral.

The whirlwind rise of TikTok could be likened to a hurricane – and in the eye of the storm are artists like Hemish Gholkar. He didn’t just ride the wave, he orchestrated his own symphony of success. At the age of 17, he founded his first creator company, Mofinity, sparked by a casual enquiry in a high school math class.


In 2020, global pandemic notwithstanding, Hemish’s entrepreneurial spirit didn’t waver; instead, he harnessed the challenge to birth a new venture – Happy Studios. What began as managing influencers evolved into a crescendo, breaking records for artists like Calvin Harris, Willow Smith and Yeat. With millions of dollars of budgets activated for clients since its inception, Hemish’s journey from Mofinity to Happy Studios is a testament to strategic pivots and a keen understanding of the TikTok universe.


We unravel the mind behind the success, the evolution of Happy Studios, and the art of making records go viral. Hemish, the maestro of digital influence, shares his insights and the key decisions that compose his own synthesised melody of success.

Can you elaborate on the decision to shut down Mofinity and transition to Happy Studios? What were the key factors influencing this move?
I noticed that many music marketing agencies lacked direct relationships with creators, instead relying on talent partners like Mofinity to book talent to promote records on TikTok. Within a couple of months of starting Mofinity, I realised that our strong network of creators would allow us to run music campaigns quicker and at a lower cost to the label/distributor. The key turning point was the first music marketing campaign I ran — ‘Mad At Disney’ by Salem Ilese. Within one day of activating creators, the sound went viral with various TikTok trends and shortly thereafter made its debut at #1 on Spotify’s Today’s Top Hits. This success persuaded me to keep digging down the music marketing pipeline.
Your transition from creator management to excelling in music marketing is noteworthy – what led to this realisation, and how did you leverage your understanding of TikTok to excel in music marketing?
Our early success in breaking records. The first three records we ran – Mad At Disney by Salem Ilese, Lemonade by Internet Money and His&Hers by Internet Money – amassed millions of videos on the platform. I understood what type of content appealed to Gen Z, but also how to display that content in an authentic manner. Being a part of that world, I could envisage what trends would organically react and what trends to stay away from.
Could you share more about your strategies for viralising records on TikTok?
There are almost one million videos posted to TikTok every single hour; in a hyper-saturated environment like that, you’ve got to ensure your content sparks the users’ interest straight away. We’ve often used audio manipulation to fit tracks into ongoing trends, slowing down or speeding up songs – or adding new sound effects – to tailor them to different target markets. After promoting records on TikTok for years, you build a real intuition for how to tailor the campaigns to your target audiences. For ‘Lemonade’ by Internet Money, we added various effects to the soundtrack, making it TikTok-able. The sound reached 1.8M unique videos and contributed towards the high-grossing streams of the now multi-platinum record.
In your experience, how does influencer marketing differ when working with brands compared to promoting music artists?
For brands, the focus is on increasing brand awareness and directly converting views into sales. This requires engaging content presented organically by the creator. In contrast, promoting music artists is really about creating new trends and evolving current ones. A single TikTok post is unlikely to revolutionise an artist’s career or give them a plaque; widespread streaming necessitates launching a trend where the track is used millions of times. Whilst some artists can benefit from single-post promotions, especially when promoting an upcoming album, rapid growth appears to only come from sparking a new trend that latches onto everyone’s For You page.
Your emphasis on working with culturally relevant artists, like Yeat, seems central – could you elaborate on why it’s important to you and how it aligns with your business philosophy?

In the ever-evolving social media space, it’s essential to stay engaged with the culture – you can’t afford to play catch-up. Working with the artist teams behind Yeat, Calvin Harris, Internet Money et cetera has kept us immersed in this rapid cycle. Crafting viral concepts becomes more seamless and impactful when the artists themselves are actively disrupting their own niches.


If you could give advice to your younger self when starting out in the industry, what would it be?
To keep innovating. Sometimes it can be easy to play it safe and use the same creator that you know will guarantee a certain view count, or to run the same ‘lip-sync’ or ‘skit’ trend for a campaign. Our music successes have always come from taking risks and relying on unconventional, out-of-the-box strategies.
How do you stay involved and up-to-date with cultural trends, and how does this inform your approach to talent representation and marketing?
Our team is always on TikTok. You can’t ‘guess’ what stands a chance at going viral. You must engage with the platform and see what trends arise organically with different types of records. Oftentimes we analyse campaign and song data to understand what’s influencing a record to trend. We also try to find creators that move the needle. There are over 3M influencers on TikTok – if they were all impactful, every social media manager would be a millionaire.
What excites you about the future of the creator and media agency landscape?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the most exciting prospect for the creator industry’s evolution. We’ve already seen the success of AI creators like Lil Miquela, the AI-generated influencer, and Meta’s Billie chatbot modelled on Kendall Jenner. Looking at how rapidly AI has revolutionised other industries, from digital art to video games, I’m excited about how it’ll continue to emerge in the influencer landscape.
Are there any emerging trends or technologies that you believe will significantly impact the industry?
Outside of AI creators, we’re seeing various AI softwares that are making the industry more efficient. There are AI softwares that can edit video podcasts into short-form content snippets, reducing the need for full-time editors. We’re seeing AI predict the most optimal snippet of a record for a trend, and even find bubbling records on TikTok that could soon have a viral moment. I have a feeling that we’ll soon see AI talent managers – fully autonomous models that secure brand partnerships and organise the back end of a creator’s business.
What’s next for you? Can you share any upcoming projects or ventures that you’re particularly excited about?
After transitioning from Reign Talent, now rebranded as Apex Creators, Happy Studios has paused broader campaigns with new clients. We look to pivot focus towards artist development and exploring opportunities in record ownership.