Duncan Byrne | Involved Group (Part II)
December 5, 2020

InterviewsDuncan Byrne | Involved Group (Part II)

Meet Duncan, he's a music marketer for the renowned Involved Group (Above & Beyond, Anjunadeep, Anjunabeats) in London by day, and a bit of yoga and DJing by night.

Duncan At Work

Part 1 of Duncan’s interview was published on 22nd November – you can find it here.

Anjuna is doing an epic job of keeping fans engaged with live streams on Twitch right now. Can you share any other ways you’re considering/planning to maintain the connection to fans during this pandemic?

Thank you – my colleague Andrew Boon really took our Twitch strategy to the next level from the start of lockdown. The feedback was excellent from our fans, our artists and Twitch. We’ll be doubling down on livestreaming next year. Creating regular, online touch points for our community keeps them engaged with our artists and our brand. More importantly, it keeps our fans engaged with one another.

Outside of livestreaming, I think ‘closed wall’ communities are going to become hugely important for SMEs. Look at Facebook’s investment in Groups and cross-platform private messaging of late. Look at the surge in Substack newsletter groups (hello readers!). The dominant paradigm for social marketers over the past decade has been navigating the feed – how does one curate and care for your community while simultaneously staying ahead of the algorithms that determine distribution. That model is dying – the feeds are cluttered, readers are less engaged and it costs more to reach them. Obviously the big players spotted this years ago – they have deep and complex CRM tools connected to apps with a social layer, Nike+. Wouldn’t that be nice!

We’re keeping a close eye on Discord, we’re going to keep pushing our Reddit sub. More investment in growing community-led spaces where our fans can discuss our music. We’ve got a fairly active Strava community!

Finally, good old fashioned email is going to get a renewed focus next year – if fans want to completely disengage from social feeds next year, we want to ensure they’re looked after.

Can you share any tips for anyone wanting to get into marketing in music?

Make your own opportunities. I’m a huge advocate of side-hustles. If you want to get into music, demonstrate to employers that you’re already contributing to the culture. Run a club night, volunteer at a festival, manage your cousin’s band, write for a blog (but if you’re doing to take that approach, write well).

I landed my first job in music because I wrote a blog post about a particular artist that got the attention of their management. I landed my job at Anjuna because I was managing an artist that signed an EP to the label.

What are you most proud of achieving in your time at Anjuna to date? Can you share your top 3 things?

We’ve done so many amazing things at this company, but I think selling out Madison Square Garden has to be number one, closely followed by selling out The Hollywood Bowl in LA. We also achieved a Billboard Top Three album for Above & Beyond in 2018 – for an UK-based, independent label to achieve that was a big thrill.

What’s the biggest learning you’ve had in your professional life to date? Good or bad.

I’ve had years where I’ve lost my balance. Working in a ‘party’ industry presents many hazards – I think a lot of people in this industry would agree with that. I’m surrounded by very patient and caring people who have picked me up and set me straight.

Duncan After Hours

You must have been to a tonne of amazing music venues around the world – can you tell us your favourite(s) and why?

Ooooooooooh good question. There was a club called De School in Amsterdam that unfortunately closed this year. I never went there in a professional capacity, but whenever I was in town I made a point of visiting. It’s quite hard to explain what made it so special. The space itself was beautiful and understated and the music always challenging and forward-thinking. I think there’s something bittersweet about the transient nature of nightlife spaces.

What do you get up to in your downtime?

Running, eating out, going to the pub with a small bubble of awesome Australians. When the weather’s nice I sometimes go rock climbing with my girlfriend. I read. I’ve managed to work through a couple of books a month this year!

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Do the law degree, not the journalism one.

What are your tips for showing up as your best self?

Fitness is everything. If I’m not looking after my body, everything else around me can feel unmanageable and overwhelming. Always try to get some vigorous movement into your day. That’s non-negotiable!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

A friend told me to read Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations five or so years ago – if you’ve not done so, I recommend picking up a copy. The very best advice does not age.

What are your biggest motivations and inspirations?

I get a lot of motivation through messages I receive from fans who have found friendship and connection through our community.

Duncan Byrne 2 Involved Group Anjunadeep Anjunabeats Above & Beyond Interview

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