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News August 31, 2023

Jaxsta CEO Josh Simons Talks Integration, Opportunities: ‘I’m Taking That Challenge, And Tackling It Head On’

Senior Journalist, B2B
Jaxsta CEO Josh Simons Talks Integration, Opportunities: ‘I’m Taking That Challenge, And Tackling It Head On’

In music and tech, nothing stands still for long.

Jaxsta is a fine case in point.

Change has been the constant throughout 2023 for the official music credits database, which, in recent months, has grown, added, evolved and played a blistering round of musical chairs.

The growth and additions include the acquisition of Vampr, the Australian-created, world-leading music industry social network which boasts a 1.3 million-strong creator community; the raising of $3 million through a share placement; and with the launch of, an online record marketplace powered by Jaxsta’s special sauce – its data.

With Vampr entering the Jaxsta family, Josh Simons, the business’s co-founder, CEO and TMN 30 Under 30 came on board in the role of chief strategy officer to oversee Jaxsta’s product portfolio merge.

Then, in April, a full decade after she founded the company, Jaxsta’s Jacqui Louez Schoorl stepped away from the business she helped create.

That development came a year after she confirmed she would relinquish her director/board role, pointing out at the time, “we are now the largest official music credits database in the world.”

In late June, the whammy: Simons was elevated to CEO, succeeding Beth Appleton, who stepped down as CEO with immediate effect.

Simons, who joined Jaxsta following the completion of the acquisition of Vampr, on June 1, 2023, is now at the helm.

“Jaxsta has a clear vision and product roadmap going into FY24, and that’s a credit to the board, Beth and the team who have done a remarkable job,” he commented in a statement at the time of his elevation.

“Revenue, cost efficiency and profitability remain the top priorities for Jaxsta and I look forward to building on the current momentum. We have the foundation for a transformational global music product as we continue to integrate Vampr into the business and scale the platform.”

Those plans are taking shape under the new boss, who confirms sales from now count towards ARIA’s suite of charts.

Jaxsta is officially ARIA accredited.

The Music Network caught up with Simons for a look at Jaxsta’s road ahead.

Has it been a baptism by fire?

Yes, I sort of stepped into leadership positions in two companies that really came together at a time where they probably needed each other.

It’s a case of one-plus-one equals three because we were both tackling the same issue, which is how do you create a LinkedIn-style platform for the music industry, but where they were coming at it from a data perspective, we were coming at it from a social and sort of platform-sticky perspective.

What we probably lacked in Vampr, they probably lacked in Jaxsta, so each other’s core services were complemented.

The actual integration of the products itself is a much bigger project that will take several months to realise, but bringing them together really does make a lot of sense when you look at what each company had going for itself.

There’s the challenges.

This is the first time I’ve been a CEO of a public company. I had some experience with that in the U.S. where we did crowdfunding, and over there, if you raise over a certain amount of money, you start having to treat it more like a public company.

So I’d been exposed to things like annual reports, audits. But this is a whole other level.

As the only listed music business in Australia, I feel there’s an awesome responsibility to not fuck this up.

So how is the integration looking?

It’s going to be phased. As always with tech, you don’t want to alienate existing loyal customers by doing too much, too quickly.

At the same time, you definitely don’t want to get left behind and become stagnant. So there’s an art to that.

Vampr has done okay at that over the years, as we rolled out things like publishing and distribution and Academy, with purpose and diligence and methodically.

We’re just plying that sort of acumen that the team had over at Vampr and applying that to the integration here.

The phase one will be on the Vampr side. We’ll have Jaxsta credits inside of Vampr profiles. So right now, if you go to Jaxsta, you can sign up as an individual artist, we call them “creators,” and then you’ve got the business and the enterprise and the API stuff, which is much more of a B2B business.

What you’ll see is a refocus of Jaxsta to really specialise in that database stuff.

And we’ll redirect “creators” through the Vampr experience.

It’s stickier as a platform, it’s fun, it’s an opportunity to get yourself out there, find work. So that’s, broadly speaking, how we’ll integrate those two pieces.

And then as it comes to, it’s really powered by all the data that we have on both of Vampr and the Jaxsta side. So what records and artists do you love? And then going a step further, how can you go digital crate-digging online by contributors to projects?

It really allows or facilitates a quite exciting and different method of discovery that most other music platforms, streaming or otherwise, just don’t have.

Vampr Music Victoria Downtown

Presumably there’s also a financial upside to You can generate real revenue.

That’s a very important focus, certainly for us as a business, but also, how do we help creators make more money?

And so there’s two sides to that. We always talk about how do we bring the fan and the creator together to benefit all stakeholders where even we as a company are one of the stakeholders.

That’s an opportunity that we have with Vinyl,com that we didn’t have beforehand with either Vampr or Jaxsta.

In many respects, it’s an e-commerce experience, but because it’s powered by our data, it does unlock really interesting activations that we can do with artists across all three pillars.

The ability to go into a label, marketing manager’s office and say, ‘promote this release on Vampr, and we’ll feature it on’

We’re chart-certified, so we can count those sales towards an artist’s chart performance.

There’s just so many clever activations you can do across the three platforms.

When you look at those three entities, one of the only things missing from our whole colourful background, both Vampr and Jaxsta, is a really great story around revenue growth.

I’m taking that challenge, and tackling it head on.

And one of my key focuses for the first four quarters will be getting a great revenue story around Australia’s only listed music company.

From our perspective from the various stakeholders that I speak to, that’s the missing piece.

In our story, we’ve got an incredible board, we’ve got the president of Hipgnosis on our board, financial backing with Songtradr’s Paul Wiltshire.

What’s really missing from the story? We’ve got great IPs, obviously, our platforms are beautiful looking. They’re great to interact with and and touch.

It’s all about revenue for this next 12 months. Revenue growth.

How much a part of your agenda is international?

It’s an opportunity. And in fact, if you look at the revenue from Jaxsta, Vampr, and, North America is our biggest market in all three pillars.

So we’ll be doubling down on that, if anything.

We’re an Australian company, obviously, at heart. But the market globally is much, much larger.

You come into the gig having U.S. and U.K. experience. That has to give you insights into the world outside our borders.

Correct. And the Australian market, obviously, has its own nuance, and we love it.

I’ve had a lot of fun as an artist climbing through the ranks as well. So it’s always going to be an important part of our marketing plans, and always making sure we’re doing special things with Australian artists. That doesn’t stop.

We did that at Vampr, too. But ultimately, we treat this as a global business.

And that’s reflected in where our team members work.

We have team members in four different continents. So it’s quite a diverse team.

So, you have no staff in Antarctica? How disappointing.

I know it’s not the first time I’ve been called out about that (laughs).


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