The Relationship-makers Series: How Adelphoi Modernized the Record Label Business

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Author photo: Grace Lau

Grace Lau

Music collective, record label, studio, brand partner, super producer—Adelphoi Music has gone through many evolutions.

What hasn't changed in these past 25 years is their focus on building and nurturing relationships—it's as vital to their business today as it ever was. The only difference is that today with Copper, it's a lot easier.

We chatted with Sascha from Adelphoi about the music industry, the difficulties of standing out in a crowded market and how the importance of relationships has never changed.

Could you tell us a bit about Adelphoi?

Sascha: We label ourselves as a music agency now, though we started life as a record label releasing mostly electronic music (house, drum and bass, techno), which expanded into other genres and soon became quite eclectic. Then came some opportunities to write bespoke music for advertising projects. We began writing all kinds of bespoke music across a whole range of campaigns. Back then it was all traditional advertising: TV, radio, cinema... as the advertising and communications world has changed, so have we.

Another part of our business that's really grown in the last few years is the sonic identity proposition, working with brands to create a unique audio identity.

We also present a radio show on Soho Radio. It’s a small station based in the heart of London’s Soho, that’s our labour of love.

Twenty-five years is a long time—how has Adelphoi modernized the label and business through technology?

Sascha: It's interesting because in about 2001, the two directors of the company (who are also composers) realized that they weren't getting paid the royalties that they were due. It's not quite the same in the U.S.—in the U.K. and most of Europe, you retain the copyright when you’re commissioned to write a piece of music for advertising used on TV or radio or other media.

So the two directors started building products that made it possible to digitise the reporting of music use. An industry first! (This is a long way of telling you that we're very tech-focused.) Up until then, it was always done manually. There was a lot of human error, It was the last thing on everyone's to-do list, and people weren't getting paid properly. Those products now enable TV channels and broadcasters to report the use of music accurately, ensuring rights-holders get paid.

Long story short, this technology that they built is now industry-standard. It’s being used by Fox Network, Sky, ITV in the UK, and the BBC—it’s got a pretty prolific base of broadcast clients.

What other kinds of partnerships do you have?

Sascha: We have an in-house team of producers and composers who are also responsible for bringing in briefs from agencies and brands. But our talent pool is not just in-house—it’s worldwide. We work with composers from everywhere, with different skills and different sounds. That's still the main focus of the business. We do get approached by artists to represent them, but we don't usually work in that sphere anymore.

We've got very close relationships with major and indie record labels, publishers, et cetera. We publish our own composition work, but we're not a publisher for artists. But who knows, we may in the future!

How do you manage all those business relationships?

Sascha: Relationships are everything to us. This is very much a relationship business. You work with people that you hopefully get on with, but you have to have a good working relationship as well. I don’t have a great memory, so I rely on Copper to help manage my client relationships, current and future projects, reminders, and so on. Every time I have a conversation with someone about a project, I store it in Copper. I can set reminders to chase up, it works in sync with G Suite and my calendar—I don't have to remember all that stuff!

And of course, there's a lot more to it. We record every sales email we send out, whether it's new business or existing business. If we have a conversation about a job, if it's a tricky situation or a challenging project, Copper records all that. I find it extremely useful.

We used another CRM before. It didn't have the functionality we needed and it was quite time consuming to use.

What other systems do you use?

Sascha: We use G Suite for most stuff—that's our email client. We store a lot of documents there. We share calendars. It's got so many capabilities that we haven't even begun to explore. I also just like everything to look and feel the same way everywhere I go.

How are you logging relationships in Copper?

Sascha: For example, say we have an advertising agency client and we've got this great campaign for Nike coming up. They want a bespoke piece of electronic music, or maybe they want to find an existing or super cool unreleased track. All the communication related to that goes in Copper.

We work on a monthly billing cycle, so reminders for wrapping up projects, their close dates, all kinds of tasks related to the financial side are also stored in Copper. We have our entire pipeline in Copper the same way that we used to have it on spreadsheets. It took a little bit of tweaking, but it works perfectly.

What would you say if another agency was thinking about using Copper or G Suite? What advice would you give them?

Sascha: Funny enough, I did recommend Copper to our sister company whom I mentioned above. They've grown quite a bit since their inception 17 years ago—55 people in the UK and another 150 in Sri Lanka.

And their sales team is now using it too. They had a nose for a central communications system since they do travel a lot—they're all over the world. I showed them how it worked, how we're using it, and they liked it.

G Suite and Copper make working life so much easier. You can open it up on a laptop, or your iPad, or your phone—and you can just get on with work. It's so simple and very user-friendly. We've hot-wired Copper quite a bit, but that's the beauty of it, that you can do that. We've definitely exploited how flexible it is.

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