Second up in our ‘Meet the Client’ series is the head of curation at Primephonic, Guy Jones. Since winning the Primephonic account in late 2018, we have worked closely with Guy and the rest of the team in Amsterdam to secure large national newspaper splashes for the classical music streaming service including the Financial Times, Metro and The Telegraph. He is all about forensically selecting songs for playlists, whether it is classical masterpieces or hidden gems, Guy is in the know. You may even have met him at the LRR Summer Showcase back in July.
What are your main responsibilities at Primephonic?
The most visible part of my job is the probably the ‘home’ page of the app. All the hand-curated content from me and the team lives there, from the latest new releases and playlists to deep cuts from the archive. Aside from that though, I generally look after content related things, I produce original content in the form of artist interviews and background information on the music. I write a lot of copy for various purposes, and I help to make sure our product is accurate and authoritative when it comes to the nitty-gritty of classical – an endless task.
How did you come to work in your current role?
Before Primephonic I was in the digital team at the London Symphony Orchestra, and prior to that I worked on various digital projects in classical music – films, apps and immersive installations with organisations like Deutsche Grammophon and the Philharmonia Orchestra. I love technology and I love music, so I feel really lucky to have made a career combining the two, and making other people as passionate about classical music as I am.
What is a typical working day for you?
There’s rarely a typical day… of course there are some everyday tasks, but one of the things I like so much about Primephonic is how varied my work can be. One day I might be interviewing an artist for a podcast or editing the audio, the next I could be compiling playlists or planning out our album recommendations for the month. All this interspersed with meetings and projects to improve our app with new features or optimisations.
What do you do to enjoy yourself outside of work?
I trained as a musician, so as much as I love my work at Primephonic it’s really important for me to make music of my own. Luckily, I’m kept fairly busy as the conductor and co-founder of the Basement Orchestra, a London based orchestra performing orchestral music to new audiences in places you wouldn’t usually expect to find it. We will play anywhere, whether it is an abandoned telecoms office-block, the mainstage of (the now retired) Secret Garden Party or a windy car park we want to let classical music break free.
What is your most memorable work moment?
The US launch of the app at Lincoln Center in New York was pretty fun, and it’s always amazing to meet and interview great classical artists, but my most memorable moment was probably my first day after moving to Amsterdam for the job. The team was tiny back then and there was so much to do, but there was such a lot of enthusiasm and excitement bouncing around – it was hard not to get swept up in it.
What is your favourite part of working for Primephonic?
I really like how much new music I discover through this job. I constantly must find new things to surprise our users, so I do a huge amount of research and listen to A LOT of music!
What is your favourite work of classical music?
Ach, that’s too hard! Off the top of my head though, some really special pieces for me are Mahler’s 1st Symphony, the Brahms string sextets, Bartok’s Dance Suite and Stravinsky’s Pulcinella. And Bach’s B Minor Mass of course. Oh, and basically any John Dowland song. I really love Berlioz too. OK, stopping now.
What is your favourite piece of press coverage for Primephonic?
Seeing a story featuring us in The Times about only a week after teaming up with Little Red Rooster PR was pretty impressive. It was great write-up and really positioned Primephonic as a thought leader on classical music streaming. I remember trying to take a picture of it but having to crop out typically bleak British news stories they’d printed on the same page.