Back in September amidst the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam’s IBC show, JoeCo, the manufacturer behind the renowned Blackbox Recorder, put pen to paper on two new distribution agreements for Europe. Tonspur AG was recruited to represent the brand in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, while ABSIS agreed to take on distribution for JoeCo in Belgium.
The new deals followed the announcement that Beirut’s Boujikian Bros has taken on JoeCo distribution in the Middle East, marking yet another step in the expansion of JoeCo’s global presence.
Here, PSNEurope editor Daniel Gumble hears from JoeCo’s managing director Joe Bull and business development manager Graham Murray to find out what opportunities the company’s new partnerships will open up…
How did the two new distribution deals with Tonspur and ABSIS come about?
Graham Murray: We have been looking for some time for a reseller in Switzerland. After email exchanges and face-to-face meetings with Tonspur AG at IBC we were encouraged to take them on for the region. ABSIS is a relatively new entrant to the Belgian market, having been formed by audio engineers Frederic Jakus and Gaëtan Crenier at the start of 2019. We have previously worked with Gaëten on numerous projects so we are familiar with their capabilities. When ABSIS was launched we took the opportunity to re-engage with that relationship.
What makes them such a good fit for JoeCo?
GM: Tonspur have impressive technical experience and know-how, are well respected in the region and carry other premium brands aimed at common target markets. In the end, it was an easy choice to work with them and we’re very excited about the opportunities. Likewise, we are familiar with how Gaëtan has established himself as a strong player in the market due to his knowledge and experience.
The deals were both agreed at IBC 2019. Do trade shows like this still play a vital role in generating new business and partnerships within the pro audio market?
GM: Most definitely. These kinds of high-quality trade shows provide a venue where manufacturers can catch up with existing partners and scope the market for additional partners. They are great meeting places.
Joe Bull: B2B shows such as IBC and ISE are great places to discuss business with like-minded companies. Consumer shows are changing much more rapidly as more and more purchases take place online but if you are trying to find partner companies, there’s nothing quite like sitting down and talking through the issues they face, having the opportunity to fully explain your solutions to them.
What can you tell us about business in Switzerland and Liechtenstein?
JB: We’ve always had a strong presence in the broadcast sector in the territory, but increasingly the other areas of audio capture and playback are waking up to the need for bullet-proof reliability. This is important for us as our reputation is built on that key feature. Broadcasters have always understood the concept of mission-critical recordings but themed entertainment and music are coming round to the same realisation – if you’re being paid to capture or supplement a performance the audience expect the results to be perfect every time.
As we prepare to enter a new decade, what can you tell us about the biggest market trends you’ve observed during the 2010s, and what are your prediction for where the market is headed in the 2020s?
JB: Many of the technologies that JoeCo pioneered early on have become mainstream now. We were in the first 10 companies to adopt Dante as a multichannel interface – now Dante is ubiquitous. We still sell MADI and analogue systems but Dante has become much more important. Audio over IP is bound to become increasingly important in the 2020s, but which of the standards will rise to the top is always difficult to predict. I hope that in general customers remember the importance of audio in all application areas. Amazing light shows and video effects are strong draws for the audience but without good audio the overall effect will always be disappointing. Look at how popular silent films are nowadays…
What are the biggest opportunities in the market for a brand like JoeCo?
GM: We are finding more and more regions where we can improve our presence. The quality of resellers is getting better all the time and as these resellers become more technically capable they fit well with the core JoeCo philosophy of delivering rock-solid reliability.
And what are the biggest challenges?
GM: The challenges continue to be staying ahead with innovation, continuing to manufacture solutions at competitive prices and of course finding the right partners to work with to promote JoeCo products effectively. We’re delighted to have added Tonspur and ABSIS to our network of partners around the world.