An SAE Music Business student has mixed industry knowledge with entreprenuerial skills to kickstart his own event company based in Oxford. We recently caught up with second-year Daniele Maretto to discuss his first production and the launch of his new company - Lyre.
Tell us about the event you produced and managed?
I had the idea few months ago, I was trying to find a gap in the Oxford nightlife - something that hadn’t been organised yet. With that in mind, I came up with the idea of putting on a speakeasy event inspired by the culture and lifestyle of the 20’s.
Hundreds turned out to your event, what was your strategy?
I knew that I would have not been able to bring the wanted amount of people to the event, simply for the fact that I didn’t have a strong network of influencers or brand, so I decided to propose a partnership plan to Gin & Phonics (a successful Oxford-based event company). The agreement was really simple, Gin & Phonics would provide Lyre (my event company) with online promotion, and in exchange, they would be a co-host of the event and be remunerated.
Walk us through the process of setting up Lyre and launching your first event?
At the beginning, I worked with SAE’s Emma Smith to create a company logo, poster and social media graphics. I also decided to call the event “Swing Speakeasy”.
After that, I started working on my company’s Facebook page and event page. I also created a FIXR account to sell the tickets. During this initial stage, I was giving Gin & Phonics weekly updates so we could plan future steps in the best way possible. One of those steps was to hire the right artists and talent to perform at the event, in which we opted for a jazz and swing band. I also thought that a DJ would have been essential, so I hired someone that could play electro swing music. Every act was posted on the Facebook event page to galvanise interest. However, the most important aspect of the event was probably marketing towards our target audience - the Oxford University student.
How did you do that?
Luckily, Gin & Phonics has the same target audience I wanted to reach, so I used their networks and influencers to spread the word about my event.
I also gave free tickets to people if they invited 30-40 friends to the event on Facebook and shared the event on their JCR (Junior Common Room) Facebook page.
Another marketing tool was the use of posters. I printed almost 100 and stuck them around Oxford in places frequented by Oxford University students (Turl Street Kitchen, George and Delilah, Jericho area, etc.).
One week before the event, it all began paying off and ticket sales started to increase significantly!
Was the event a success?
The event was a total success. We had more than 400 people coming and the final profit was way higher than my initial expectations.
How much work was involved preparing it?
A lot of hours of work, I would probably say at least 2-3 hours every day and then 5-6 hours in the final week. Marketing and networking probably took up 80% of the organisation process.
What did you enjoy most about it? Were there any challenges?
I organised everything mainly by myself, coordinating and overseeing every single activity. The fact that I had so much responsibility and managed to organise a successful event was probably what I enjoyed the most.
The challenges were finding the right bands and reaching the target audience.
What do you hope to do in the future after finishing your BA in Music Business?
The million-dollar question! I want to go back to Rome and establish Lyre there. I would like to keep organising events for the next two years and once I saved enough money I would like to move to New York to do a Masters in Music Business at NYU.
It’s a plan, I’m not sure about it but at least I have one. I don’t know what the future holds for me but the thing I’m 100% sure is that I want to have a career in the music industry - that’s my path.
* Photos by Daniele Longo
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