Musketeer Records, an independent music company based in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town South Africa, was formed in August 2000 by Brian O’ Shea and Peter Lacey.
The philosophy of the company is quite simple: to identify the best local South African artists and music, sign and develop it to the best possible (and international) standard and to sell its music around the world. In short, to create the best possible boutique record and production company in South Africa.
Musketeer gained almost immediate success by signing, producing and releasing the debut album by Seether (nee Saron Gas) into the South African market in October 2000. Seether was subsequently subject to a bidding war in the US and was eventually signed by Wind Up Entertainment, in August 2001, for launch into the U.S. market.
In the last ten years Seether have enjoyed top 10 success through the United States, Canada, Germany, France, South Africa, Australia and Japan with more than ten singles, five major movie synchronisations, two albums that have gone gold across the world and one that has gone platinum. See Appendix A for detail.
Candîce was a Musketeer project for over two years and her project involved songwriters in USA, Australia and South Africa, with Candice herself co-writing 5 tracks on her debut album. The album, “Chasing Your Tomorrows”, was released to local critical acclaim in January 2003. The album was produced by in Australia by Clive Young and mixed by Paul Gomersall (George Michael, Phil Collins), also in Australia. Musketeer then took Candice internationally and signed her to Sony UK in September 2003.
The Company has also had significant success across gaming software with Sugardrive (2004), Zola (2006), Heroes Wear Red (2009) and 7th Son (2010) all securing levels of involvement, either with in game music or direct sponsorship.
2010 has seen the company extend it’s reach directly into Europe and the USA with tours completed and planned for the rest of 2010 and well into 2011. Eric Begala, once a Nelson Mandela praise singer, has also had a song released for the 2010 World Cup called “The Beautiful Game”.
Musketeer Records Philosophy: The one P to rule them all
Much like Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings with its 19 rings and “the one ring to rule them all’… in marketing you have the four, or if you prefer, the seven Ps… in our business we also have 4 P’s… and all of them have the one P to rule them all – Perceptions.
Perceptions are neither the fifth nor the eighth P in marketing, rather they are the only P of any consequence in marketing our brand.
We will not discuss the 7 P’s of marketing, as important as they are: product; place; price; promotion; people; process and physical evidence.
But within our company the 4P’s of Intellectual property development are paramount to the success of our business: passion, patience, persistence and pride.
Passion: without passion we can convince people of nothing. But passion without the perception that we are the experts in the industry also means nothing.
Patience: Intellectual property’s best friend is time and we need to give time to our recordings to allow them to breathe, and time to allow other people to live our dreams as well, but without the perception that we allow our product to breathe and create time in recording process we are nothing.
“The processes involved in delivering your products and services to the customer have an impact on the way in which your customers perceive you,” says the UK’s Chartered Institute of Marketing in its document: ’10 Minute Marketing Mix’.
Persistence: this is actually where you create, foster or shift perceptions or narrow perception gaps, via your communications. Your activities create or degenerate perceptions around the brand. It may be in the store, but you can’t find it! It may be represented in 500 outlets across the country but if that’s not communicated and the audience perceives otherwise, it may as well be in none.
Pride: your customers are moved to action or inaction by their perceptions of the pride you take in your work. Deliver sub standard product and you create for yourself a mountain to climb on your next release. Your staff too will build or destroy perceptions around your product, for your customers.
Passion, Patience, Persistence and Pride create the perceptions around “value” that count. You could be more expensive than your competitors or cheaper by half, but if the price doesn’t correlate with the value perceived by your audience, your product won’t move.
What matters then, is not exclusively that you have all the elements of the mix sorted out and in the right proportions, but most importantly that you manage the perceptions around these four Ps.
Of course you’re only managing perceptions when you’re measuring perceptions. Measuring perceptions will inform your strategy in respect of managing the perceptions that exist around your seven Ps. It will tell you where you need to create awareness, shift or reinforce perceptions and close perception gaps.
Adapted with acknowledgement to Clive Webster