DJ makes post-COVID business pivot

DJ makes post-COVID business pivot

When the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic crip­pled sev­er­al in­dus­tries, many who found them­selves with­out ac­cess to their tra­di­tion­al jobs looked at in­no­v­a­tive ways to gen­er­ate in­come.

In some cas­es, this piv­ot has led to per­ma­nent busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties.

This proved true for Aswaad Pe­ters, a DJ and for­mer pro­gramme di­rec­tor of a na­tion­al ur­ban ra­dio sta­tion, who found­ed Now My Se­lec­tah Me­dia in 2021. Ja­son Williams, the host of CNC3’s The Morn­ing Brew, is the co-founder of the com­pa­ny.

The en­ter­prise is a cus­tomis­able playlist ser­vice that Pe­ters used as a lane to main­tain some sort of in­come amid pan­dem­ic re­stric­tions.

“It was an idea of mine that came about prob­a­bly be­fore 2020, but it would have been put in­to ac­tion dur­ing the COVID pe­ri­od. Be­cause at that point in time, every­one was re­strict­ed. They were in­side, they couldn’t go out­side. So I more or less thought of a plat­form that would ben­e­fit in­di­vid­u­als in­volved in en­ter­tain­ment, in terms of DJs like my­self and oth­ers,” said Pe­ters, adding that the ser­vice had to be one that peo­ple would en­joy, “but still be used as a rev­enue earn­er, be­cause at that point in time, you know, DJs and oth­er en­ter­tain­ers, were not re­al­ly mak­ing any kind of mon­ey.”

Now My Se­lec­tah al­lowed peo­ple hav­ing small gath­er­ings and cel­e­bra­tions at their homes to have spe­cialised playlists cre­at­ed for those events fea­tur­ing voice tal­ents and oth­er DJ in­serts if they re­quest­ed, while not ac­tu­al­ly hav­ing a phys­i­cal DJ at the event.

The ser­vice proved suc­cess­ful for Pe­ters and an af­ford­able op­tion for cus­tomers who found them­selves get­ting a DJ-cu­rat­ed playlist for a frac­tion of the cost.

“I wouldn’t even say more than 1/16 of the cost to or­gan­ise these things be­cause the cost of speak­ers, DJ set­up, which could run you from $5,000 up­wards. The av­er­age price of a playlist will run you about US$70 and up, which is about what $500 to about $1,500, if so much,’ said Pe­ters who not­ed that there was tiered pric­ing based on the length and voice tal­ent.

“They would have vis­it­ed the web­site, they would have se­lect­ed the type of playlists they want­ed, but they would have liked us to cus­tomise it. So we would have had playlists rang­ing from birth­day par­ties to a long dri­ve, wed­ding re­cep­tions, all those things,” Pe­ters said.

How­ev­er, as the re­stric­tions lift­ed, the need for per­son­alised lists for such events waned, but a new cus­tomer base opened up for Pe­ters.

“We are now cater­ing to busi­ness­es. Now My Se­lec­tah was launched as a busi­ness to (per­son­al) cus­tomer plat­form in terms of pro­vid­ing per­son­alised playlists. Dur­ing COVID, there were a cou­ple of op­por­tu­ni­ties to work with some busi­ness­es and it is from that ex­pe­ri­ence that we more or less shift­ed (from per­son­al cus­tomer to busi­ness).

“We found the so­lu­tion through store­front au­dio in terms of the mu­sic or an­nounce­ments you would hear when you en­ter an es­tab­lish­ment, malls, gyms, gro­ceries, ba­si­cal­ly any­where that streams mu­sic or plays mu­sic,” he said.

The cu­rat­ed playlists, he re­alised, cre­at­ed a new ad­ver­tis­ing lane not just for these es­tab­lish­ments but var­i­ous brands or prod­ucts as­so­ci­at­ed with or sold at, those es­tab­lish­ments.

Alee­sha Mo­ham­dal­ly, Now My Se­lec­tah’s busi­ness sup­port man­ag­er, added that busi­ness­es had ap­proached the team ask­ing for playlists that not on­ly en­hance the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence, but al­so cre­ate brand aware­ness.

“In the ini­tial meet­ings, the busi­ness­es would high­light what are their mu­sic re­quire­ments. If they want a par­tic­u­lar genre on a par­tic­u­lar day, they can get it be­cause our so­lu­tion is very cus­tomis­able. So ba­si­cal­ly any­thing that the es­tab­lish­ment wants to hear, we can play it. For ex­am­ple, for gro­ceries that use this ser­vice right now, and for spe­cial oc­ca­sions, like Di­vali, Christ­mas, Car­ni­val we could make those sea­son­al up­dates to the mu­sic as well,” said Mo­ham­dal­ly.

“And as Pe­ters men­tioned, ob­vi­ous­ly aside from the mu­sic, you al­so get ad­ver­tis­ing in­ter­nal­ly which can be played just like it’s played on ra­dio,” she ex­plained.

Mo­ham­dal­ly ex­plained that the ser­vice al­so fa­cil­i­tate play­ing ad­ver­tis­ing on a plat­form, whether it be the per­son­alised ads of the busi­ness or en­ter­prise or third par­ty ads, which come in from oth­er com­pa­nies that may want to ad­ver­tise.

“So for ex­am­ple, we have gro­ceries, which are part of our plat­form. If Carib for ex­am­ple wants to ad­ver­tise with­in the es­tab­lish­ment or the net­work, at least we can pro­vide tar­get­ed ad­ver­tis­ing for them. As in when they hear the ad, the prod­uct is ac­tu­al­ly right in the store,” she said.

The ser­vice can al­so in­sert au­dio alerts con­cern­ing clos­ing times or pub­lic an­nounce­ments for cus­tomers, all of which can be up­dat­ed re­mote­ly, and up­on re­quest, by the Now My Se­lec­tah team.

“It is ad­ver­tis­ing, but more tar­get­ed ad so­lu­tions on site. It is like your own per­son­alised ra­dio for each es­tab­lish­ment,” said Mo­ham­dal­ly.

Pe­ters ex­plained that the group al­so does spe­cif­ic re­search for the de­mo­graph­ics, analysing and cu­rat­ing playlists for peak oc­cu­pan­cy and mak­ing ad­just­ments when re­quired.

He ex­plained that he moved to push the busi­ness in­to the wider mar­ket as he re­alised there was lim­it­ed com­pe­ti­tion for such a ser­vice in the lo­cal mar­ket.

“When we did our mar­ket re­search, it came to our at­ten­tion that there was one main com­peti­tor. So we more or less saw how we could do more and give the client more for the more af­ford­able price, by open­ing up an­oth­er av­enue for ad­ver­tis­ing. Be­cause be­fore it was just ra­dio TV print,” said Pe­ters.

“We ba­si­cal­ly of­fer the same func­tion­al­i­ty as you would get in ra­dio. With my ten plus years of ra­dio pro­gram­ming and from work­ing with Slam 100.5, I more or less know about pro­gram­ming mu­sic for the es­tab­lish­ment. We have a con­sul­tan­cy pe­ri­od with our clients to know what they want, how they want the mu­sic to be played.

“We would col­lect da­ta from them in terms of know­ing what are the peak pe­ri­ods, and what would be the off pe­ri­ods. We would then know how to tune the mu­sic to more of less keep cus­tomers in the es­tab­lish­ment,” not­ing that mu­sic does have a psy­cho­log­i­cal im­pact on cus­tomers, and in­deed would at­tract or re­tain peo­ple in a spe­cif­ic space.

“Be­cause mu­sic makes us feel hap­py or makes us feel sad or makes us feel to stay in an es­tab­lish­ment, that kind of gave us the idea to cre­ate the cam­paign in which we are cur­rent­ly push­ing, which is mu­sic makes us feel,” said Pe­ters

Now My Se­lec­tah is cur­rent­ly be­ing used in 20 lo­ca­tions in­clud­ing JTA and West Bees Su­per­mar­ket chains, Khan’s Poul­try, Raw Fit­ness Gym, C3, South Park and the Gas­par­il­lo Mall.

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