Jukebox has gone from a small London PR firm to a global festival agency. In its 10 years, it has expanded beyond the typical PR services for electronic artists to creating an ecosystem servicing multiple facets of the dance music industry. It has one of the most engaged audiences in dance music across digital platforms, and it has been brimming with fresh ideas for the return of the dancefloor. Jukebox’s director of operations Josh Karpf shares how PR is continually adapting to the world, and why it remains an important aspect of an artist’s career growth. His 15-year experience includes serving as brand manager for Ministry of Sound, where he managed over 1,000 events and festivals globally.
Hi, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat more about music marketing and Jukebox’s footprint within the electronic music space. First of all, hope everyone is safe and healthy all things considered. With gigs being one of the major streams of revenue for them and already going on a year with minimal income, has Jukebox felt it hard as well? It’s all a ripple effect, right?
Everyone all good this end thank you, likewise hope you guys are all keeping safe.
A ripple effect is a good way of putting it I guess. A huge number of people and industries have been affected by the lack of physical shows. Working across live events is a significant part of what we do, and we’ve certainly felt the strain. But having said that, we also work with a huge number of artists and labels worldwide. With music being made and released at an exponential rate over the past 12 months, we’ve been fortunate enough to be able to drive forward and expand that side of the business. [We’ve been] working across some amazing campaigns and projects which have kept us pretty busy. As well as that, we’ve expanded even further, working with some amazing clients across lifestyle, music tech, food, VR and influencer marketing.
“We are as personable a company as you could ever come across. Our clients are our mates. Each and every one of us at Jukebox lives and breathes everything we do and that makes being the best at what we do that much easier.”
Adding a human touch to everything you do is critical in building trusted relationships
Any important ways you’ve adapted as a company to continue your 12-year legacy?
Supporting events and festivals are what the agency was built on, but over time, we’ve significantly expanded what we do, working across artists, live streaming, labels, lifestyle, tech and travel. The pandemic forced us and the rest of the industry to adapt in ways that we could never really have imagined. It’s actually opened up so many doors that were previously shut, and we’re now working across a huge variety of different projects and industries. [We’re] launching a variety of different apps and tech platforms and supporting artists and labels in new and innovative ways. The future has never looked more exciting.
Speaking of legacy, what do you think has contributed to running a successful PR presence having started from a small shop and now a multi-faceted media company?
We are as personable a company as you could ever come across. Our clients are our mates. Each and every one of us at Jukebox lives and breathes everything we do and that makes being the best at what we do that much easier.
“Typical PR is still undeniably important to raise awareness across different audiences, reaching places and people that digital campaigns cannot. […] Social media is only as effective as the audience you are able to reach, and the likes of Facebook have made it increasingly difficult to reach significant audiences without paying vast sums of money.”
Use any and all resources available at your fingertips to share your music including PR
The creative work is the bread and butter for many of these DJs and producers, and often their minds are wrapped up in creating not so much the business end of music. PR is one of the business aspects of it. Why is PR still important and relevant in today’s environment. They might not see the ROI and impact that an editorial piece can have on their career.
That’s always been the difficulty if you like with typical PR. It’s near enough impossible to quantify conversion, which is why data-driven digital/social campaigns have become so popular and effective. Having said that, typical PR is still undeniably important to raise awareness across different audiences, reaching places and people that digital campaigns cannot. Ultimately, finding the right balance between PR, digital, and social marketing is the key to a successful campaign. We are increasingly focused on delivering data-driven results across everything we do.
Artists already run on a tight budget and usually don’t have extra funds to hire a PR agency. They might take on the mindset of, “why should I pay someone when I can just do it myself?”, especially in a time where social media is such an effective avenue for self-promotion
Social media is only as effective as the audience you are able to reach, and the likes of Facebook have made it increasingly difficult to reach significant audiences without paying vast sums of money. Our audience reach across socials allows us to provide hugely cost-effective campaigns for our clients such as through our exclusive Tribes influencer network which we operate across Instagram. Ultimately, we work right across the board, coordinating each campaign in the most cost-effective and impactful way possible with a balance across print, online, socials, radio, etc, offering unparalleled reach.
“For any artist, across any genre, trying to break into the industry today, not utilizing social media to reach new and existing audiences is simply crazy. Used in the right way and working with the right partners, it can be a hugely invaluable tool to get your music heard.”
Social media, a tug of war for many artists and even some legends have shared their thoughts on using this as a tool rather than replacing an artist’s original product (music). For artists resisting adopting it, are they shooting themselves in the foot? Can you be making music and not on social media and still (successfully) get your music out there?
It’s increasingly difficult. The way music is being absorbed across social platforms now is truly incredible, with the power to turn a nobody into a superstar overnight. For any artist across any genre trying to break into the industry today, not utilizing social media to reach new and existing audiences is simply crazy. Used in the right way and working with the right partners, it can be a hugely invaluable tool to get your music heard, and ultimately, not having that presence can be detrimental.
Technology including social media has helped create community during these difficult times. It put Twitch on the map for many and livestream have been all the rage. We’re getting back into real-life events, tell us about how your agency is planning on approaching socially distanced events?
We’ve been working with promoters across socially distanced shows throughout the pandemic such as the team behind Social Avenue in Manchester. We realize that socially distanced shows are by no means easy events for promoters to operate with capacity limitations significantly restricting potential revenue and many events running on a break-even basis. Budgets are extremely tight and we’ve been as flexible as possible to support promoters and events who are doing their utmost to keep us dancing.
Will live streams go away or are they here to stay? Any exciting plans for continuing building upon something that was introduced out of necessity?
Oh, they are very much here to stay. For me, the evolution of live streaming has been one of the most exciting things to witness across the past 12 months. I have no doubt that it will become part and parcel of all types of events, both in and outside of music going forward and we’re working with some incredibly innovative partners across this space, such as Conduit XR, who are using Hollywood CGI technology to build virtual live streams set in bespoke environments.
Live streaming itself is of course nothing new. Companies have been working to develop the technology to implement live streaming into physical shows effectively enough for years. The pandemic has simply sped up the process, and we’ve already seen some incredible agencies like LIVE Now driving this forward across concerts and gigs for major global artists like Dua Lipa and Maroon 5. It’s not going anywhere.
One of the biggest issues any promoter faces is capacity restrictions limiting revenue. Live streaming effectively removes this barrier. Once the doors open again, clubs, festivals, and concerts will all be looking to implement this into their physical shows. Removing capacity limitations and opening up a whole new revenue stream which will change the game forever.
“Get your content right, and work out how and when to engage with your audience to make the most impact and generate the best ROI.”
Learn by doing, and apply those lessons to improve approach
Let’s not leave our artists out in the cold now. What are some tips for artists for building a successful promotional campaign on a shoestring budget?
Test! Get your content right, and work out how and when to engage with your audience to make the most impact and generate the best ROI.
Anything else you’d like to share?
It’s been a really tough year for our industry. We’ve been fortunate enough to adapt and keep busy, but it’s been difficult to take pleasure in that when we have so many friends around the world who are not. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and the sector will see a boost like it’s never seen before when the doors open again…and hopefully, that’s right around the corner! Bring on the summer!