FROM A LOFT TO A GLOBAL MARKETPLACE FOR BIRMINGHAM MUSIC FIRM

May 10, 2006 at 9:18 am | Posted in digital downloads, emusu, music | Leave a comment

An online music business that started in the founder’s loft is now reaching international markets – with help from UK Trade & Investment.

Chris Thompson, managing director of D A Recordings in Hospital Street, Newtown, Birmingham, was producing music from his loft and wanted to offer other people an easy, affordable way of setting up a record deal. With partner and co-founder Ann-Marie Taggart, Chris devised emusu, an ecommerce platform specialising in online music distribution.

Originally for their own use, the team quickly realised their system’s saleability with the growing demand from musicians to make their products available online.

Embracing the music download phenomenon, D A has gone on to develop a platform for record companies and independent musicians alike to access the digital marketplace, sell their music from their own websites and monitor the online use of their work. The service – detailed at www.emusu.com – has been hugely successful since it was launched early in 2005.

In September 2004, D A joined UK Trade & Investment’s Passport initiative – a flagship scheme that gives new exporters the training, planning and ongoing support they need to succeed overseas – to help its online business reach international markets.

Through Passport, the company has benefited from a package of support, including a free export health check; attending an export workshop; assistance in formulating an international trade strategy and matched funding to help implement this strategy; quality training and mentoring advice; access to the full range of UK Trade & Investment services and membership of the Midlands World Trade Forum, the regional export club.

Chris said: “The support from Passport has enabled us to go and visit several markets and exhibit at international trade fairs that either we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise do, or we wouldn’t have been able to make the same impact.

“These included world music industry trade fairs Midem at Cannes and Popkomm in Berlin, plus a UK Trade & Investment trade mission to New York with the Association of Independent Music. All these visits led to international orders, and following the US visit, we established a licensing deal with an agent in Philadelphia. We also have clients in France, Israel, Canada, Sweden and Italy.

“Our modest first year’s turnover was about £125,000, and as we move into more new markets we are forecasting exponential growth year on year.”

From being a one-man band two years ago, the company now has ten staff and the sale of worldwide music downloads is increasing by 30 per cent month on month. It has also developed regional clusters of music groups, such as punk, indie and rock, that are starting to work together, using D A Recordings as a hub.

Local clients include Realtone Recording Studio, of Cliveland Street, Birmingham, a recording studio which is diversifying into a records label through D A Recordings’ music downloads.

UK Trade & Investment’s services in Birmingham are delivered through Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which has a full range of business support services including advice and information on business start-up, international trade, growth, information technology and workforce development.

International trade adviser Steve Cunnane, based at Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “D A Recordings’ team have been great to work with, as they fully appreciated that their business would readily adapt to a Global global Marketplacemarketplace. All that they needed from UKTI wasWe provided strategic guidance and some funding contributionsupport to enable them to participate to maximum effect in the key international music shows. They are a fine example of how our ideas based companies can earn new revenue streams for the UK economy.”

For more information about how UK Trade & Investment can help your business expand into new markets abroad, contact the international trade team at Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry on 0121 450 4205.

Pictured at Realtone Recording Studio are (left) UK Trade & Investment international trade adviser Steve Cunnane and managing director of D A Recordings, Chris Thompson

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