Brian Malouf is a multi-platinum American producer, engineer, and mixer who has worked with Michael Jackson, Queen, Madonna, Pearl Jam, Stevie Wonder, and other world-known artists. Also serving as an executive at several major record labels over the years, his work has amassed a total of 53 gold, platinum, and double platinum records to date. Brian is a senior judge and co-founder of Djooky and owns Cookie Jar Recording in Sherman Oaks, California, and runs his practice as an independent producer.
Andrew Dakhovskyy is attributed as one of the founding fathers of the music industry in Ukraine, having been a true champion in promoting licensed music consumption. For years, Andrew represented Universal Music in Ukraine, becoming the first global label’s licensee in the country. In 2017, Andrew became a co-founder of the world’s first community-based music label based on the blockchain technology Younk. Andrew is passionate about promoting the idea of the borderless and inclusive world of music.
The idea of Djooky was originally fostered by our founder Andrew Dakhovskyy who is a music lover and supporter of creative individuals, and specifically songwriters. His thought was to provide a gateway for talented individuals who were gifted at the art of songwriting but were having trouble getting their music heard. And in the world of technology, they could provide that gateway: design a website and create an infrastructure for people in the industry. So together with Andrew, they adopted this idea and they developed Djooky for people to demonstrate their talent and get others to listen to their music.
StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with Andrew and here’s what went down:
What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?
Djooky is a platform that is already helping thousands of artists around the world to reach out to new fans around the world.
We are constantly designing and adding new features to help emerging talent turn their passion for music into a professional career. The Djooky Music Awards presents an opportunity for artists and songwriters to showcase their original music to a global audience and to win great prizes that help to boost their careers. The demand for this sort of platform is tremendous. In less than a year we have managed to grow the competition from 55 countries in the first season to more than 100 countries today.
We are also working on developing engaging features for fans and music lovers. The HitHunter feature of the Djooky app allows users to prove their skills to identify potential hits by allocating virtual Hit Points to the songs which they believe will move up to the top in our song charts. .The top HitHunters in our Hithunter ranking are also being rewarded with cash prizes on a weekly basis.
Another important aspect of our growth strategy is to form strategic partnerships worldwide with local partners that will help artists to get exposure and support in developing their careers.
What social media platforms do you usually use to increase your brand’s awareness?
Social media platforms play a vital role in our communication with our audience. We use various platforms to make sure we are always connected to our audience. These include Instagram, Facebook, Twitter & YouTube. Most recently, we have also created an account on Clubhouse where we host rooms with independent musicians and hold Q&A sessions with artists.
What is your main tactic when it comes to making more people aware of your brand and engaging your customers? How did your business stand out?
Social Media Marketing has worked really well for us. We have managed to draw attention through our unique offering in times of pandemic. We have been very open and transparent with our followers and ensured that no query was left unanswered. After the first season of the Djooky Music Awards, we started looking out for Djooky brand ambassadors who were instrumental in reaching out throughout the world. We maintain and develop a global network of advocates who share our values and have a vested interest in bringing more artists to the platform from their country or region.
Testimonials from former winners and participants also worked well. This is the best sort of advertising one can get.
What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?
Being a start-up our marketing efforts are concentrated on building awareness using various mainly online media channels. We have partnerships globally that enable us to reach out to artists from around the world. At Djooky, we made it our priority to be authentic, value-driven, and artist-centric in our products and communication.
We also carefully listen to the users’ feedback and continuously improve our product and services, which has helped us in getting quite a few user endorsements on their social media channels.
What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?
With the global pandemic raging across the globe, we have had to postpone inviting our winners to the Capitol Studios in LA which constituted the biggest part of their award. With a heavy heart, we have made a decision to wait until international travel resumes or becomes safer before our winners can take a trip to record a song with an all-star team.
What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from (or something you’d do differently)?
Luckily, we can say we have managed to avoid any major mistakes and this is due to the very frugal approach to fiscal discipline which we have adopted since the inception of Djooky. One piece of advice we could give to other entrepreneurs is to stay really focused without deviating from your course of action. Temptations will come along the way but you must stay on your chosen path to deliver on your set goals and commitments.
What new business would you love to start?
Right now, there is no other business on our mind and I dare say it will occupy us for many years to come. Djooky as a platform in itself offers plenty of opportunities for spinoffs and ventures which complement the core business and add further value to our users.
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?
Nothing really. It’s been quite an exciting ride with Djooky and so far everything developed very well. We were also very fortunate to avoid the negative effects of the Covid crisis even though we were right at the peak of the first wave of Covid-19 when we launched Djooky with the start of our first season in April 2020 when many in the music industry all over the world were struggling enormously.
I suppose this is also due to the fact that Djooky´s vision to create a digital world of music with equal opportunities for all artists on this planet was also very timely, as it gave artists a unique opportunity to show their talent to a global audience, right at a time when many live events were being canceled thus offering excitement and hope to the artist and music lovers in otherwise very challenging times.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
As trivial as it may sound, trust in your own ability is crucial for success, both in business and in music. I’ll give you a recent example. A couple of months ago I was talking to an artist who I invited to join the platform. His response was doubtful. He felt this was too high of a summit for him to reach. I insisted and he finally registered. He was completely blown off his feet when his song won in the weekly round climbing up the charts to bring him immediate cash rewards. The moral of this story is simple: sometimes just believing in yourself comprises 50% of success.
What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?
Start with an honest inventory identifying your strengths and weaknesses, what you can offer and what is missing to turn your idea into reality. Get experienced advisors and mentors to join you and learn from their mistakes. It is much cheaper than making your own.