Today we speak to Jim Sanders, Director of Business Development at Ochre.
Ochre is a powerful D2C technology platform running artists and labels direct-to-consumer ecommerce operations. In addition, Ochre offers warehousing and store management services, providing a flexible set of tools for music companies.
Firstly please tell us a little bit about who you are, what you do at Ochre and how you work with music managers.
Over the past 15 years I’ve worked at various digital music companies including 7digital, Deezer and Vevo implementing business development strategies to help grow their businesses.
I joined Ochre in March 2019 on an exciting journey just as the music industry began to adopt the technology we’ve built to optimise its D2C retail, marketing and operations.
We’ll often be working directly with managers to give them complete control and flexibility over their artists retail business. And sometimes indirectly, by instead giving access to data and other features from artist stores run by their label or merch partners where those stakeholders are using Ochre for their e-commerce solution.
What new music releases are you enjoying currently?
This year I’ve really loved Laura Marling “Song For Our Daughter” and Fontaines DC “A Hero’s Death”. Partisan Records label store is run on the platform, so it was very satisfying to see lots of these records being sold via Ochre.
Also, with the recent lack of gigs and festivals, Nick Cave’s Idiot Prayer live streamed performance at Ally Pally was a big highlight.
How has business been for you since the COVID-19 pandemic hit? Any significant challenges? How are you are adapting your services?
Business has been good as a lot of retail has moved online, although many larger release campaigns have been pushed back to next year.
Our overall services have not been affected or changed significantly, but there are lots of people wanting to scale up their D2C quickly and we have been able to help them do this.
D2C remains one of the few revenue streams that an artist can be in complete control of and so in recent challenging times we’ve seen various positive and creative reactions to the situation from limited merch drops creating brand new revenue streams, launches of online stores to sell stock manufactured for cancelled tours, through to clients running fundraising projects in support of talent and other great causes throughout lockdown.
The role of the manager has evolved massively in recent years, as highlighted in the MMF’s 2019 report Managing Expectations, with managers taking on an increasing amount of responsibilities. Has this influenced the way you work with managers at Ochre?
Managers have been taking on more and more responsibility in recent years and working directly with Ochre allows our clients to retain strategic control over important areas. When this happens with D2C there’s often a real impact on the success of that artist store.
When a manager and therefore the artist is closely involved in decisions over their own retail brand and product offerings this always leads to more transactions outside of the traditional music release cycle, which can have a huge impact on an artists overall income.
Are there any managers you particularly enjoy working with – or consider to be doing brilliant work in their field?
There are a couple of things that spring to mind. We work with Dan Jenkins at Raw Power Management on their artist store for Don Broco and I love the effort they put into lookbook style fashion photo shoots for each merch drop. It’s much more engaging for fans, it also shows that they care about this stuff and really get their audience.
Also, we’ve very recently begun a project with Candy Artists who have taken a refreshing approach which will see them launch and run multiple artist stores for their entire roster of acts including Dream Wife, Our Girl, Willie J Healey, Dry Cleaning and more. Taking this strategic decision to become retailers operating multiple stores is a very smart move and will benefit from many long term efficiencies created.
Do you think there are any positive opportunities or changes in the music industry you believe we will see happen “once we’re through the other side of all this” (Covid)?
Since March we’ve been working with a number of clients to create a solid long term retail set up, rather than something that is simply reacting to the current changes and so these positive initiatives will definitely help those businesses thrive well beyond the current pandemic.
Is there anything you would like to say to managers who are considering working with you at Ochre or finding out more about what you do?
Take a look at some of the amazing clients we work with and their unique approach to D2C marketing and retail.
But more importantly say hello! I’m always happy to hop on a call, share my screen to demo the platform and talk through how other clients are working with us.
Thank you Jim and Ochre for supporting the MMF and our membership through our Associates programme.
You can contact Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org