Rising Star is our monthly column in which we meet the industry’s brightest new talents. Here, Jack Edwards, head of marketing at VinylBox, talks us through his music business journey so far…
You got into music as a member of the band Young Kato. What did you make of the industry at the beginning and when did it occur that you might work in it?
“There was a wonderful sense of naivety at the start, and the simplicity of a group of best friends making music together with no agenda or preconceived opinions was really great, but that did change over time. I found that the more we achieved, the more we expected, which led to us probably not appreciating it as much as we should have. There were lots of highs and lows and that makes you resilient, but every setback made me more fascinated with the industry. Being an artist, you need to wear multiple hats including marketing strategies, CRM, content production, design and an endless list of other things. All of which set me up for a career in the industry.”
How would you sum up the importance of the role marketing plays in the business?
“Marketing is critical, however, the traditional methods are no longer enough. We have to make customer journeys frictionless and as user-friendly as possible. Artists can learn not just to sell products, but to give back to the fans and put them at the heart of everything they do to build loyal communities. They’ll then do a significant chunk of the job through word of mouth.”
Where does VinylBox fit into the industry?
“Our monthly subscription service allows fans to discover new music as the artists intended it to be listened to. With shortening attention spans, it’s become all too easy to skip a song on a DSP or download just one track, without going on a journey through an album. We’re also really cost-effective versus the High Street, so it’s a great entry point for inspiring the next generation of record collectors. For artists and labels, we are a marketing channel and revenue generator. Outside of a stock buying partnership, we want to work with artists and labels more closely and build VinylBox into their campaigns.”
In 2022, vinyl outsold CDs based on revenue for the first time in 35 years. What do you put that down to?
“There are a few key elements. There is the tactile side of holding an album in your hands, the joy of building a collection, the physical sense of ownership and the artwork and sleeve notes. Plus, records are just understatedly cool. If the internet and all the streaming services were to go away, you could still find solace in your favourite record. For the younger generation, vinyl is seen as an almost futuristic format that they can also appreciate as an art form.”
Finally, can the vinyl boom last?
“I think it’s here to stay. The TikTok-ification of music has clearly been huge for the industry, but the impact it has had on catalogue is what I find so exciting. A new generation is discovering the likes of Kate Bush and Fleetwood Mac and I think that will continue, with more and more of them getting into vinyl, too.”
JACK’S RECOMMENDED TRACK: New Radicals – You Get What You Give