UMC's Richard Hinkley on Elton John's box set and the catalogue business during Covid-19

UMC's Richard Hinkley on Elton John's box set and the catalogue business during Covid-19

Elton John’s lavish, curated collection Jewel Box is set to join his streaming perennial Diamonds in the album charts.

In the latest issue of Music Week, we mark the third anniversary of the greatest hits album Diamonds with exclusive interviews about the music icon’s successful transition to streaming. Diamonds (UMC) has sales to date of 648,625 (including 347,792 from streams), according to the Official Charts Company.

The new box set is a different kind of campaign that’s targeting diehard fans. Released on Friday (November 13) for the gifting period, Elton: Jewel Box covers the years 1965 to 2019. The deluxe edition contains 148 songs across eight CDs or nine vinyl discs.

The box set includes rarities from the earliest stages Sir Elton’s co-writing career with Bernie Taupin. UMC dropped four instant grat tracks ahead of the album, along with an animated video for Regimental Sgt Zippo, an unearthed title track from an unreleased debut album.

Here, UMC co-MD Richard Hinkley opens up about the campaign and the catalogue business during Covid-19…

What are the ambitions for the Jewel Box release?

“We’re incredibly ambitious for Jewel Box: the depth of material and the stories they tell about Elton and the development of him as an artist are remarkable, and the product itself is truly beautiful. The success of the project will be judged in many ways: delight, fascination, respect, narrative and more. This is a very high-end project that will stand as a landmark celebration of the depth of Elton’s work. And Diamonds is the title that will continue to represent Elton in the chart through Q4 and the months and years beyond.” 

This is a very high-end project that will stand as a landmark celebration of the depth of Elton John’s work

Richard Hinkley

What marketing initiatives do you have planned around the Jewel Box release both at physical and digital retail?

“The primary objective of the campaign is to reach both devotees of Elton and the development of pop music, and share the details of what is in the box. We anticipate that with such beautiful, collectible formats, the majority of business for Jewel Box will be physical – this is something people will want to have, hold and display at home. The campaign therefore becomes a hybrid: we’ve an intense content plan to engage those devotees online, alongside traditional media that provides a broader reach. With high-value items such as this, the majority of business is done online and our overall strategy is one that drives consumers to their favourite retail destination.”

How has the catalogue business been during the pandemic, have you had to adapt?

“We’ve adapted and we’ll continue to adapt and evolve as the world continues to change. We’ve seen that people find great comfort in music they love during times of uncertainty, and we’ve also seen a real desire for people to try and live their normal lives as much as possible. We’ve seen changes in consumption habits, retail opportunities and consumer behaviour and artists want to understand how it can all work for them. 

“The team have worked incredibly hard and their expertise, creativity and persistence has paid off in helping artists present themselves and their music in new ways. Our focus is on understanding what makes a difference and working with artists to realise that. Consumption, sales results and market share are what follow.”

To read our magazine story on the Diamonds campaign, pick up the latest issue – subscribers can click here.

* To make sure you can access Music Week wherever you are, subscribe to our digital issue by clicking here.


author twitter FOLLOW Andre Paine

For more stories like this, and to keep up to date with all our market leading news, features and analysis, sign up to receive our daily Morning Briefing newsletter

subscribe link free-trial link

follow us...