Artistpreneur Spotlight – Jay-Julian Wray, Founder of Bass Couture | Live Concert & Production Company
1.) Hello Jay-Julian Wray, can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a Company Founder, and experienced professional who resides in Brighton, UK having a diversified 30 years music event experience. Since 2007, I have run an established CCTV installation company (ICU CCTV Solutions Ltd) which has been recently dissolved to concentrate on launching Bass Couture, a production company to game change the live music events market in the UK.
I have grown up in music and gigs since day one. My father/grandfather had racks of vinyl between them, and my uncle was a radio DJ back in the 70s. I have been working in the clubbing/festival industry since my first club night “Spirit” in late 86. I have had the pleasure of being involved on the frontline of the birth of the dance music revolution which swept the globe from 87 onwards and has never looked back.
My journey has taken me to working on every aspect of the clubbing and festival industry, paid and voluntary! From site crew lighting to PA rigger, selecting decor, environment installer to site manager, events manager, and club co-ordinator to name a few roles on the technical side. In addition, I have been at the front end by being a resident club DJ. This led to recognition by TopJox UK.
Memorably, I hitch-hiked and DJ’d across Africa for six months to arrive at Nelson Mandela’s election week in Johannesburg. (I was the first black European DJ in post-apartheid South Africa). I have been a tour DJ for NUMARK and many recognized live bands. I held many club nights’ residencies in the UK including the only weekly drum and bass night in Brighton. I have also held guest resident slots in Budapest, Mexico and Cape Town. I still keep my hand in the mix (strictly vinyl), by playing out to select gigs and radio slots when available. As mentioned all of this musical background and experience has led me to creating Bass Couture.
Bass Couture is based in Brighton, UK and is the only mobile, multiple dance event organizers from the UK. It intends to provide a platform to showcase urban cultural art in the form of music, live dance performances in one space. In addition to the performance by world class and award winning artists and performers, Bass Couture will strive to promote fresh and upcoming talent in the world of electronic bass studio culture in order to treat its audience to an authentic and immersive experience.
Bass Couture focuses on a particular type of music, i.e. global urban dance music which is heavy on the bass is considered to be its niche! Bass Couture books extraordinary talent and having direct access to many of these artists gives them an upper edge over competitors.
As a live concert and production company, with coordinators that have direct access to domestic and global successful music artists, Bass Couture is going to capitalize on being the first company in the UK industry to own the whole package. This allows planning an entire event from start to finish with its own resources. The exclusive mobile package supplies everything, such as tents, power, lights, Caribbean bar, and sound. It is a one stop, pop up shop for mobile music entertainment. Since Bass Couture itself owns portable equipment, running costs are at an absolute minimum.
2.) What made you want to start this project?
The concept of the Bass Couture project was born out of a conversation with my son in late 2013. It was based on the question of why he needed to borrow so much money to go to a festival just up the road from us. Consequently, this boiled down to me stating that the corporate takeover of the events market – plus the cost since 1994 from the advent of the CJB (Criminal Justice Bill) was the defining moment that changed the game. From that conversation and background knowledge, this was the catalyzing moment of knowing there is a better and more affordable way for live music fans to get access to events at minimal cost to themselves. This could be done by simply adhering to the old school ethos and values –DIY -do it yourself!
Here in the UK, pre-1994, there was a DIY culture for decades within clubbing-home and house parties (Shebeens), the festival industry from Free festivals, Stonehenge /Strawberry Fair to the free rave culture of a club in a warehouse or a field. All of that stopped in 94 as a law came in to regulate the festivals and free events industry through strict draconian sanctions. The bill prohibited the free parties and prohibited all the social structures that made it possible to live a meaningful life outside the ‘mainstream’ events industry. Within this bill which specifically refers to parties or raves are seen as broadly defined  and drafted in an atmosphere of “clear moral panic” following the Castlemorton Common Festival . https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criminal_Justice_and_Public_Order_Act_1994
Out of these ashes was the rise of the corporate events market of the super clubs, the like of Cream, Ministry of Sound and the festivals with V Fest and Live Nation (The UK’s biggest market player in the live music events industry) worth annually £2.2 billion to the UK economy. With corporate events, you get a huge cost which invariably gets loaded on the paying customers from the moment they buy their ticket.
Regarding the concept of Bass Couture, we wanted to strip back the many layers that make these huge events tick and involve costs that are so high. We developed our strategy to develop and produce bespoke niche market live events that transcend the corporate club and festival market. We are neither a club nor a festival!
3.) What do you think will be some the biggest challenges you face when getting this project off the ground? How do you plan to overcome these problems to ensure that this project is a success?
Great question! There have been many challenges and hurdles to date as one would expect to create a new concept and to deliver it to the crowd and the market. Since Bass Couture’s inception in 2014, we have strived to get every aspect of the project nailed down before going to market, thus reducing most “lead time” aspect of producing multiple events and working within a long-term vision. To date, the far biggest hurdle and the cost have been the maths, front and central to the viability of the project. Getting our sums correct from the start was the key for every aspect for the successes of the company, goals and future ambitions. Having spent a considerable sum of money and three years, we first made sure we would be financially sound and could deliver the project to the customer as set out by one of our many USPs – one price £50 ticket- for any one event, anywhere in the UK/EU. Secondly, that we would be financially sound to give great long term returns to our investors.
Now that our numbers are solid, we now have the biggest challenge of getting our investment to market and reach out to our potential investors. It will be about creating the buzz and awareness of what Bass Couture has to offer regarding ROI (Return on Investment) and its longer term prospects. What we have to offer is an attractive low entry BOND/SHARE offer that has a natural time frame exit strategy. We will achieve this investment opportunity with a combination of heavy social media presence relating to our marketing strategy in order to target our customer demographic.
4.) What makes your production company different from other production companies out there?
There are many definitions of what a production company does or is! However, in our terms of how Bass Couture operates is like a dry hire company. The difference being is that we process our events from scratch. The term dry hire is based on the fact that all festivals hire all of their equipment in. However, we own our production and resources from day one. These simple dynamics are the key to the success and profitability of our business.
(Based on one day event and based on starting ticket prices)
|Bass Couture||Competitor no1||Competitor no2|
|Events x13+||x1 per year||x1 per year|
|UK-EU wide||UK static||UK static|
|Tickets £50 UK/EU-wide||£55 + bf||£60+bf|
|Kit Rental 10%||100%||100%|
The key point of Competitor 1 and 2 are that they do events at the same time of the season and only one event per season, thus spending their income on out goings on dry hire. Bass Couture, however hire next to nothing (toilets and fencing) thus retaining 70% of our income!
5.) Unfortunately, the music industry is full of talented individuals who just don’t get any recognition for their talent and work. Will your company be a company that will provide a big enough platform for a musician’s talent to be recognized?
The music industry can be a fickle business and history is littered with unsung heroes who never got recognized or made their mark, or did feature but got overlooked. Bass Couture has a strategy of not only giving a platform to the established artist, but also the up and coming talent. How we achieve this for the up and coming artist is twofold! There is a huge pool of global talent waiting to be given the platform to shine as I have witnessed over the years DJ-ing around the world. With this knowledge and the contact links, we can operate our pool of resources to run as our artist booking agency resulting in a platform to get further market exposure.
Secondly, we have the old school network where we are old enough to have kids and those kids have left home and are now the generation going to gigs concerts, club and festivals. Bass Couture has an extensive home network sound in the UK into the youth culture and market and we know what they listen to. We will look out who is coming up and who do they what to see perform. The market exposure to our brand will be the key to the discoveries of the new artistic talents we can showcase and present.
Just like in the UK, the US has new talents to showcase as does every other nation has hidden and often unseen talent. The real question that most will overlook is how to attract the non-UK talents’ and get them onto our stages. We will use our extensive global contacts as scouts, discovering and ensuring new talent is promoted through our events.
6.) How do you think the internet and social media affected the music industry and how businesses can market themselves?
This is a true marvel of modern humanity’s ingenuity, if used in positive ways of course! The overall digital market to artist and business has never been more open and assessed. Any artist can market their skills and product in endless ways – apart from the obvious YT/FB/TWTR, etc. They also have the ability to go direct to source for labels/ A&R/radio/digital music press etc. It’s all about time and effort! As a commercial business, the same basic principles still apply. The biggest problem with the internet overall is the one big grocery store where everything is available, and the noise is deafening, so time and effort to zero in on your demographic without getting lost in the noise comes at a cost, whether a start up like Bass Couture or an established company. The cost of doing it yourself (if you have the knowledge and skills) is all well and good if you have the time to dedicate to this. However, if you outsource your digital marketing, you need monetary costs to pay for it.
From the view of Bass Couture regarding digital marketing, our long-range goal of Bass Couture is to not only dominate our market but to also create an iconic brand. Initially, Bass Couture will engage in Web-based marketing for the next few months to generate awareness of Bass Couture and product information. We will participate in a few small events, providing general knowledge to the public at large and direct individuals to the Bass Couture’s website. Reaching the market, we intend to use some new and existing contacts to publicize Bass Couture via a variety of media. Advertising in national and local publications as well as on radio stations will link us to our most important demographic which can be followed up by posters and flyers. Continuing use of the internet via our Facebook, Twitter and our website will allow prospective fans to be involved in our development and provide us with feedback, so we are catering to their specific needs.
7.) How do you plan to market your production company in a way that will be sure to bring in top-notch talent?
Bass Couture is dedicated to providing consistently high client satisfaction by providing an excellent service with a pleasant atmosphere at a competitive price. Pricing below our competition, we will stand out as value for money events. We intend to attract the top notch artist by way of offering them a unique and bespoke platform to perform from. We will be offering them something that other just a stage to show case their talents and as with many of Bass Couture USP we have found that every artist has something other than a 45 min stage presence to sell! The ultimate long term strategy is having the artist wanting to perform on the Bass Couture’s stages. We have a longstanding relationship and links to many UK record labels that in turn have contact to the US and global record labels. We have contacts to artist management mainly derived from being in the industry for so long. Both streams are worth their weight in gold.
8.) What is your investment structure and how will your business be sustainable in the short term and how do you plan to make sure your company stays at the forefront of the outdoor live music events market in the future?
Another big issue! As mentioned, we intend to raise our capital investment for our start up via the selling of bonds. Within this frame work, we have developed an outline where we only require a minimum of 350 investors to a maximum of 1400 to achieve our goal. We will market these through our social media channels specifically laid out for the bonds Twitter and Facebook.
Bass Couture has an overall start-up cost of £400,000 of which I have already raised £50,000, £25,000 from a UK GOV via a start-up loan and £25,000 from a private investor. The rest of the start-up capital of £350,000, will be financed by Bass Bonds. We are convinced that the time is right to take advantage of the current market conditions.(Entertainment spending goes up 6% in an economic downturn) [@mosaichub.com] We believe that our experience in the market, combined with the increasingly realistic pricing of our unique multiple music events and our future assets and opportunities, can result in superior returns for investors. Bass Couture has developed an investment structure specifically designed to cater to the astute investor. The Investors must subscribe to a minimum £250 for 1 Bass Bond of investment in the company. It is envisaged the return of
- Year 1 –12.5% interest + perks
- Year 2 –12.5% interest + perks
- Year 3 – Bonus issue of a Class B Share for each bond set at 8%. Interest
- Year 3/4/5 – It is envisaged that there will be interim. And full dividend comprising of 8% of Net profit
- Year 5 – Redemption of all Class B shareholders.
And breaking that down into bite size bits:
*£250 bond investment = 1 any event ticket (per season)
*£500 bond investment = 2 free any one event ticket
*£1.000 bond investment = 4 free any event tickets & free parking
*Over £1,000 bond investment (pro rata in £500 increments = 2 free any event tickets & free parking year 1/2/3/4/5
*+ £50,000 = seat on board of directors
As to our long-term sustainability of Bass Couture, we intend to break even by EVENT 4- our financial model shows that by achieving this goal, we will be financially buoyant by the end of season one and thus be on a steady financial footing for the subsequent seasons.
EXPECTED RETURNS/ FINANCIAL PROJECTIONS (IN £):
|Periods||Mth 12||Mth 24||Mth 36|
|Break-Even Month||Month 4|
9.) What would you tell anyone who is considering possibly investing in your project? What would be the benefit to them?
It’s a case of how can you invest and be part of this unique trend? Let your investment do the dancing so to speak! From my point of view as the director looking from the inside out from Bass Couture project, I set out to craft a business model that is not only exciting, enjoyable, sustainable and ultimately be financially rewarding for all concerned. My first priority is to the investors, whom we need to make this happen. Not only did we factor in an envisaged return of 12.5% plus bonus and perks, but we feel there is ample opportunity and room to give the investors something more – that no other investment opportunity can offer. All of this for an affordable entry level investment of just £250. 00. We have also developed our bond perk bonus. All bond holders receive:
*10% bar discount (Season 1&2) and preference ticket sales on season 3/4/5
* 15% merchandise discount on site
*An invitation to every end of season celebration/AGM at a secret location (Seasons 1 to 5)
*Year 5 = AGM -Free Bar
(The one free bond holder ticket, per season, is the £250 investment is a win-win alone)
10.) Anything we need to look forward to from Bass Couture in the future? Any last words or thoughts?
Bass Couture will fill a much-needed niche in the music industry, namely a need for entertainment events that are neither festival nor club. This means a unique environment where people can have fun and enjoy themselves. During our research, we carefully analysed tastes, trends, and needs of prospective clients. What we came up with is an exclusive, boutique concept with limited capacity (so events sell out, and there’s no overcrowding) and minimal running costs. Our finances are sound, even considering the certain risks involved within the music events industry. The business objectives for the first five years are clear and concise – Bass Couture wants to exceed customer expectations; grow new talent, entertain and meet market needs. We also want to increase market share and clients 20% annually through superior service and thus build a sustainable and profitable business. We will make a significant contribution to the UK/Global live music industry directly and, importantly, provide on the job industry events, training, and support local & international community projects to give back. This is an investment opportunity that deserves careful attention; not only does it make sound financial sense; but by investing in Bass Couture Bonds, the investor will also support the live music industry in the UK & Globally. Exciting new ventures like this doesn’t come along very often and is best taken up while they’re available.
The Bass Couture Bond offer will be available from August 28th 2017
Inquiries and early registration