NYX Agency is the London-based creative marketing agency you’ve probably never heard of…and they want to keep it that way.
NYX are the creative minds behind six of Ibiza’s biggest residencies at five of the island’s most iconic venues including Hï & Ushuaia, DC-10 & Amnesia. NYX’s current roster is composed of household names and brands such as EXHALE (Amelie Lens’ event), The Martinez Brothers (Cuttin Headz), and Joseph Capriati (Metamorfosi).
The core, made up of the founders Tom Leek (Marketing Director) and Felipe Reis (Creative Director).
In its short life span NYX Agency also works alongside some of the biggest festival brands such as Broadwick Live, Drumcode Festival, Printworks, Terminal V as well Amelie Len’s brand EXHALE at DC-10.
We had the chance to exchange some words with Tom Leek about the agency. Enjoy!
WWD: Hello Tom, Welcome to When We Dip! Can you tell us how you founded NYX and some of the projects you’ve spearheaded for the agency?
NYX Agency was formed in 2020 about two months before lockdown came into play. I started with my business partner Fell Reis who is a graphic designer. His skill set was complimentary to mine (marketing strategy). Both Fell and I had worked in music in various roles and had become quite disheartened by the lack of creativity and ideas in the space.
For us music is meant to be creative, fun. It should be inspired by the past but creating the future. We set up NYX Agency as a creative marketing agency to help artists, labels, brands and promoters market in different ways. A lot of our business revolves around social media, however we are always looking for ways to engage our clients’ fans in different ways. Can we take them away from social media? Can we cut through the noise?
Each week we sit with our team to discuss the most creative marketing we have seen and look at ways we can implement this within music. At NYX Agency we want people to stop and think. Community and emotion are the key to successful selling if you can make someone feel something, anger, happiness, melancholy, jealousy they are already invested in your project.
In terms of projects we had a busy season in Ibiza this summer. We had 6 residencies at 5 clubs; Amelie Lens at DC-10, The Martinez Brothers at Hï, Andrea Oliva at Ushuaia, Joseph Capriati’s Metamophosi at Amnesia (Fell designed the entire concept from scratch), Adam Beyer at Pyramid and Sasha’s LNOE party at Cova Santa.
Outside of Ibiza we have had various album campaigns with major labels like BMG, marketed the UK’s first Cannabis festival and worked with the likes of HYPEBEAST, Armani and End on different fashion campaigns.
It’s been a busy two and half years and I’m excited for what the future holds.
WWD: Is it harder these days to reach audiences with such oversaturation in the industry – can you give us a couple of digital marketing tips to reach audiences more effectively?
To be honest I don’t believe it’s harder because of over-saturation, in other words, people simply do not see your content. I believe customers have become desensitized because of the amount they are bombarded with in average content. Customers simply choose not to engage with shit content. They see nearly everything they just don’t like what you have put out enough to engage.
Our team works really hard with our clients to improve the content they are putting out. Can we communicate this in a different way? Can we do something dynamic? The chances are you won’t be the only event flyer or new EP in your fans feed that day. Why should they engage with you, what makes you special?
It is critical you build a narrative. Do not look at posts as individual functions. Each post is a chapter in a longer story. Build the narrative, explain the heart ache and hard work that went into the party, the release. As I said earlier, make people think, create emotion then they are invested. Then you stand out from all the other homogenous content that is out there.
WWD: The demise of Facebook and the massive rise in Instagram usage for labels and artists has been quite astonishing over the last few years. Are there any future platforms we should be keeping an eye on?
Telegram. Bandcamp. Discord and Bands In Town. These are the four to watch at the moment.
Telegram is a wicked tool and has two main functions. Groups and Channels. ‘Groups’ offer two-way communication and are a really great way to build a community. If you are an artist, label, producer and want to get people interacting or discussing relevant content you should explore Telegram groups.
Channels are set up for one way communication but these are great for offering exclusive incentives and cementing an already established community. A telegram channel gives you the ability to send direct push notifications to fans in the same way you text your best mate. We ran a campaign in Ibiza with 97% open rate to 2,000 devices in our first 12 hours.
Bandcamp has just had a huge revamp and is a diggers paradise. They are also putting a huge emphasis on community building. They have just teamed up with Epic Games (the people behind Fortnite and Unreal Engine) who will be helping develop their internal tech and push development forward across Bandcamp, from basics like their album pages, mobile apps, merch tools, payment system, and search and discovery features, to newer initiatives like their vinyl pressing and live streaming services. Not only this but the ability to email your previous customers and build a relationship through the platform helps a lot of people manage data capture that would usually struggle. This is a really exciting music first platform we are exploring more and more at NYX Agency.
Discord isn’t only a social communication platform. Brands can create exclusive content and share it with their online communities, while reaching thousands of targeted buyers. This social channel allows you to optimise your reputation and social credibility, and keep your audience engaged through a branded experience. Fans want to feel like they belong so having a home for them inside of a discord channel creates something exclusive. In turn you can encourage user generated content which means you no longer have to sell as your customers become the brand mouthpiece. By building these communities of like minded individuals they begin to form relationships with your brand as the focal point. Nothing is more valuable in turning someone from a fan to a super fan.
Bandsintown has long been a popular way for artists to gauge demand for their tours and connect with those fans. Now it has launched a new ‘Fan Management Suite’ of tools for them to use as part of its Artists service. The site now offers widgets that you can install on your own website to reduce steps in a customer journey. Fan manager allows you to import customer lists in the same way you would META ads. The big feature that’s a real winner for me is you can now direct email to all your followers as well meaning album drops, upcoming shows or merch has a direct action point to the fans.
WWD: Can you give us a couple of positives and negatives around the rise of NFTs and Web3 to the music industry?
Web3 is changing the playing field as we know it. The technology can be utilised across all areas of the industry from ticketing, to social media and streaming. It essentially offers a deeper connection between creators and fans.
Unfortunately, given we are still in a fairly early stage there are a lot of uncertain projects around that on the surface appear like they will make you millions. You definitely have to be careful. My business partner and I managed to lose a few £’s on different projects that we were told would change our lives. Not everything you do will be a success, but we have learnt a lot and now narrowed our vision on some tech we know will really work.
The greatest advantage of Web3 is decentralisation in my opinion. Decentralisation is the people stepping away from the normal constructs and social norms that are ultimately dictated by big business. The aim is realign the control of power away from big business.
Essentially, decentralisation allows you to create your own bubbles of like minded individuals, governed by your own set of rules and managed by the community in a democratic system of voting and peer review. People are taking control of the existing technology and building small communities with their own visions.
For the music industry there are some huge wins. The music industry is almost 100% digital; Contracts, Messaging, Social Media, Streaming, music sales are the only element stuck in the physical world alongside physical events. The rest of the infrastructure is digital. So the possibility for us to control our data and empower and community is limitless. We have an exciting future ahead.
WWD: Do you have any advice for young professionals wanting a career in music?
The biggest advice I can give is you have to be active, you have to be visible and you have to build your own relationships built on mutual trust rather than individual benefits. I used to do a lot of artist-lead interviews on a previous project I ran (The RRP) and the common theme when interviewing established DJ’s like Sven Vath, Richy Ahmed, DJ Oneman etc was the groundwork they had put in. All these DJ’s had been doing it for 10-15 years before they “made it big.” They went to parties week in week out. They met promoters. They built relationships in record stores.
The same is true now. I think too many people buy a set of decks and think they can suddenly release on Ninja Tune or play in the garden at DC-10. You need to earn your stripes. Prove yourself and build up a reputation. You need to deliver consistently and acquire knowledge from every process. This is the same if you want to work in music marketing, become an agent or be a touring artist. Groundwork and hard work are the only foundations for success in my opinion. Don’t get distracted by the party and push on, but still be confident, stick to your values and you will get to where you need to be.