Starscream Communications represents Abbey Road Studios, helping media tell the past, present and future story of the most famous recording studios in the world.
From education, development, recording technology and engineering, Abbey Road Studios leads the way in music creation and technology. Activities include incubating start-ups, teaching students and building new studios for the next-generation of film scores and bedroom musicians.
You can see our latest press releases and images by clicking here.
If you would like to talk to us about Abbey Road Studios, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE BRIEF: Naim Audio is a British hi-fi brand with a legendary heritage in home hi-fi systems since the 1970s. Naim boasts a Queen's Award for Export, an exclusive partnership with Bentley and kickstarted the trend for the best quality digital music around. Naim also run a Mobo-winning record label, Naim Label, home to more award-winning artists.
The arrival of the all-in-one Naim mu-so speaker system was a new product for the company and a brave new step into the future. We were asked to convey the quality and heritage of what Naim had achieved in the past decades but bring a new kind of press and consumer to the brand...
HOW WE DID IT: By explaining the technology behind the mu-so system, it created an expectation. The design helped attract admiring glances but cutting edge features such as a dedicated app, Spotify Connect and powerful speaker drivers had never been seen in a lounge friendly system like this. For over a year, we demonstrated mu-so in action and everyone from The Sun, The Mirror, Wired and The Mail on Sunday saw that mu-so could deliver hi-fi sound from an all-in-one system and wrote incredible reviews.
“Fuses retro hi-fi class with bleeding edge digital details” Maxim
“Refined, assured, cool” Financial Times
“Sounds great, looks lovely” The Observer
“We were completely blown away by the clarity” BBC
“You won't find better” The Sun
Following that line of thought, we knew that interior media and home magazines would be eager for a system like mu-so and promptly placed mu-so in Grand Designs, Wallpaper, Elle Decoration and beyond.
The mu-so entered stores such as John Lewis and Apple Stores and it wasn't long before US media were speaking to us about mu-so, leading to a full page in the best-selling men's magazine in the world (Maxim) alongside debuts in Uncrate and US Wired. Mu-so also entered Apple stores in the US, rounding off an incredible year for the system and the brand.
We speak to all media across online, print, TV, YouTube, radio and exhibitions.
We're UK based with global reach and target relevant, high circulation media, ensuring the biggest and best result for your brand.
Scroll down to see our best work and you can keep track of our latest achievements at @starscreamcomms
Readership figures are based on the latest figures from the independent Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC).
We don't benchmark ourselves against media advertising rates as we feel that editorial is more engaging and ultimately more visible to the wider world, creating a better, honest relationship with consumers.
To find out how we could help you, contact Richard@starscreamcommunications.co.uk
THE BRIEF: Showcase new headphones developed for consumers and link with professional studio heritage.
HOW WE DID IT: Audio-Technica is the best selling headphone brand in Japan. Their landmark turntables and cartridges have been around since 1962. Their legendary mics, headphones and guitar packs power the Grammys, the Olympics and Obama even uses an Audio-Technica mic during speeches.
We created press releases and communications which demonstrated the link between artists in the studio and how it helped create headphones such as the award-winning M50x and MSR7 headphone range. In a competitive market where fashion is promoted over sound quality, we knew that the link to artists and their music was key to explaining why Audio-Technica headphones were among the best in the world.
We took media to concerts such as an exclusive Islington sound check with the Foo Fighters (AKA Holy Sh*ts), went backstage at Royal Blood Brixton with The Sunday Times, chatted with Rolling Stone at Reading Festival and enjoyed annual country music festival C2C at the O2 with Wired. We also ensured that we captured the live images on this page for social media and wider media coverage too...
By showing media that these artists used Audio-Technica equipment, they could see that Audio-Technica had a history and reputation that many new headphone brands could only dream of. The sonic path from studio mics to consumer headphones should be flawless and once mainstream media sampled Audio-Technica headphones, awards, 5 star reviews and glowing comments were in plentiful supply. With music, it's hard to go back to a smaller sound once you've heard what the artist wants you to hear - we knew that already but needed the trust of our media relations to get a chance to demonstrate the obvious quality of Audio-Technica products.
Click here to see our media coverage
THE BRIEF: Create lifestyle images for the launch of MSR7 headphones.
HOW WE DID IT: The MSR7 headphones from Audio-Technica featured a consumer friendly design with professional studio technology inside. The challenge was creating a range of photography which would appeal to all media and include male and female media alongside tabloids and broadsheets.
We selected a pair of models and an exclusive London venue for the shoot and worked with a photographer who has in-depth knowledge of the market and the technology. This is crucial when shooting specific poses with in-line mic control and different music services on different smartphones. Not everyone has an iPhone and this needed to be reflected in the shoot.
Shot over a single day, the shoot went from a modern home setting to the streets of London and public transport to showcase the portable nature of the MSR7 headphones.
Our final work can be seen across national media including a headline feature in The Sun.
Click here to see our media coverage
THE BRIEF: Introduce the PonoPlayer to the mainstream media.
HOW WE DID IT: Better quality high-resolution music is a hot topic among the media with much debate around music services such as Spotify, iTunes and Tidal and the quality of music files they present when compared to CD and vinyl formats. While it's no secret that MP3 music is a convenient way of getting music on your smartphone, it lacks the amount of information and resolution of Compact Disc, an eighties format itself now surpassed by richer, bigger digital files supplied directly from the recording studio. That's the kind of music Pono provides via the Pono Music World store - music downloads that are direct ports of the studio masters that can be played on a PonoPlayer. At $399, the PonoPlayer could be seen as either an expensive Walkman or bargain hi-fi system which you can use at home, in the car or on the go.
We know it's much more than those things but, like any new format, the proof is in trying it out, so we travelled around London, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, presenting PonoPlayer to media such as The Mail On Sunday, Delta Sky magazine, Esquire, The FT and ShortList. We also asked Noel Gallagher if he fancied a go. He said yes.
An important part of the process to generate quotes and explanations for media was our interview with Neil. It's no secret that we're huge fans of Neil, before he decided to launch one of the most successful Kickstarter projects and the opportunity gave us answers which explained Pono in simple terms, switching out the science to explain a love and admiration for sound quality but music above everything else. You can read the interview below.
On Vinyl and CD
We had vinyl and that was good, then we went to CD. Wow, that was an amazing drop – it was like ‘what happened to the air, where did it go? What happened to the magic? What happened to the warm fuzzy feeling?’ We’ll, I’ll tell you what, some people thought CDs were better because you could play them louder. People thought it was great that you could hear the kick drum really loud and producers got into it and it had a reason for being there but really why do that when you could do better than that?
On High-Res music
I love Pono, it means a lot to me. When people ask me ‘do we need high-res music?’ I really don’t know. I can’t tell you but I know for me, I can listen to music again. I didn’t listen to music for the last fifteen years because I hated the way it sounded and it made me pissed off that I could not enjoy it anymore. It drove me crazy, not that I compare myself with a great painter but if Picasso could only paint in black and white, that’s kind of what I felt like.
On Pono creation and aspirations
I wanted to change things. We brainstormed, I got introduced to a few people and started putting together a team and we tried different people and some people came, some people went, people promised things they couldn’t deliver and eventually we built the player that simulated what we wanted to do.
I played it to my artist friends and they liked it because it made them feel the music better. It’s about the feeling, wherever you get it – we’re altogether here. There’s lots of HD music companies around here, everyone wants the same thing – we all want music to sound better. We’re all in the same boat, there’s nobody putting anyone else down. If we win, everybody wins. If somebody else wins, everybody wins. If I am able with my team to make a difference with this product, so that music rises to the level it once was, it’s not me who wins, it’s everybody that wins.
On critics and MP3
If you don’t care and you don’t want want to hear this music and ask ‘why’s he doing that, we got MP3s and iPhones?’ then I feel good for you people, you have nothing to worry about. Congratulations, all those MP3s are yours. Truly if you can’t hear the difference or don’t want to, I don’t force this on anybody. I just think what we’re doing is playing real music for as many people as possible. When they hear it, they’re going to say ‘how come it sounds like this?’ and then we’re going to let that take its course. Pono has been made by one of the geniuses of the music industry – Charles Hansen of Ayre Acoustics.
We don’t have to have success in three hours and make billions and retire in six months. We need to slowly absorb the process of letting people hear real music through a real music player. I think people are going to love it. I love it and that’s the most important thing. I don’t really care. I can’t help it – it makes me feel good. I plug Pono into my car, I plug it into my stereo system and my balanced earphones, I play it through two pairs of earphones and it fits in my pocket regardless of what some people say. Pono is designed by Mike Nuttall, who designed the notebook and the mouse so he likes dedicated devices.
On the future
We have a different approach. We’re not the iPod, and because Steve Jobs and Apple pioneered this kind of thing, we owe them a debt of gratitude for opening the door for what we’re trying to do. I’m convinced Steve would be doing this now if he was still here because he listened to vinyl in his own house, he had a nice set up in his living room. I just think this device and what it does is important for civilisation. I think it’s important that we preserve our art and America is the centre of recorded music and we have a responsibility to preserve this. Not just people like you and me but other people too. What happens when we’re dead, when we’re gone? They have to be able to hear all the music somewhere so If we stop at the age of the MP3 and said ‘OK we’re going to listen to MP3 for the rest of time’, that’s not going to work, so that’s why we did this, to preserve the history of recorded sound and rescue an art form.
So you can imagine what happened to me when I walked into venture capitalists and said ‘we want to rescue an art form, would you like to invest?’. It didn’t work – we went to the people through Kickstarter. We needed $800,000 and we raised $6.5M and we blew the doors off of it because of the people, not because of any venture capitalists, just regular people who understood we’re going downhill with sound quality and a lot of people my age, and hopefully younger too, remember the sound quality.
Sharing music is an important thing and being in a room listening to music blasting out of speakers is great. MP3 is doing OK considering it was designed for dial-up modems but we just couldn’t stay there. Pono is the same as the iPod but it sounds like God.
"Starscream delivered in the first few weeks for Audio-Technica. We had great exposure in ShortList, The Indepedent and MSN. This was followed by The Gadget Show, What Hi-Fi? and more. The ability to place our products in key media twinned with a range of famous artist relationships means Starscream is the best fit for Audio-Technica but also a very unique agency"
Marketing Manager, Audio-Technica
"Led by an ex journalist, Starscream know exactly what working journalists need. I spend far too much time being pitched products that don’t remotely match my columns, so a pitch from Starscream is always welcome"
Financial Times: How To Spend It
"The instinct for turning product into a story is absolutely spot-on. They have an agile, creative approach to any story and are able to find the 'line' in anything which will make people click, read and share. They also know absolutely everybody in lifestyle media"
Rob Waugh, The Mail on Sunday
"Right from the start Starscream understood the unique aspects of our product ‘The Vamp®’ and how it differs to other products. They were able to put our product in front of the right people and get us interviews and coverage in key media including the Metro, Mail on Sunday and Huffington post, all of which boosted sales and brand awareness"
Director, Paul Cocksedge Studio
"A rare breed of contact who understands your magazine perfectly and pitches nothing but appropriate ideas. When I get an email or call from them, I know it’s always going to be a good idea"
Jeremy White, Wired
"I’m interested in design and great photography as a key part of my features. With years of experience in the industry, Starscream knows what will work and is one of the most creative PR agencies I work with"
Emily Peck, Achica Living
“Starscream just ‘get’ consumer tech PR. They know the business inside out. When the Starscream team get in touch, I know it’ll be to tell me something I want to know. And I know they’ll give me access to their clients when appropriate. I also know that we’re all going to have some fun along the way...”
Steve May, freelance writer
Tech Radar, AskMen, The Register, T3
THE BRIEF: Launch Technics hi-fi systems and the Technics Tracks music service.
HOW WE DID IT: Technics is a famous Panasonic brand. So famous, in fact, that many consumers didn't know it had stopped being active in the nineties.
Returning to the market with ultra-modern luxury hi-fi systems was a different proposition to the landmark DJ turntables which had ensured the brand lived on in the hearts of music fans. To show the media the new systems and explain the Technics Tracks album download service, we needed to bring together Technics, 7 Digital and record labels like Universal to answer the questions on the lips of all media - why are you coming back now?
We hosted a day of media demos and speeches at Audio Lounge London, located behind Selfridges. The BBC, The Sun, Metro, Tech Radar, The Independent, The Guardian, Wired and 32 key media arrived throughout the day.
The question of why Technics was back was answered - now is the time for high resolution digital music and that's something that Technics helped establish and continues to promote with a truly next-generation system.
THE BRIEF: Explain the quality of the Sennheiser sound and appeal to mainstream music fans as well as traditional audiophiles.
HOW WE DID IT: We helped headphone experts Sennheiser create Blue Stage, a free iPad magazine which included interviews with DJ Yoda, Adam Ficek from Babyshambles, Tony Visconti, NME and Rolling Stone magazine. Key Sennheiser audio experts also explained how recording studios and sound production works. The stories and interviews we produced led to coverage across all media – culminating in the magazine being Guardian’s pick of the week. The David Bowie issue was also featured in the V&A magazine and distributed at the David Bowie Is… exhibition. You can download issues here.
THE BRIEF: Tell the world about The Vamp.
HOW WE DID IT: Sometimes, the hardest concepts to explain are the most simple.
The Vamp is a rechargeable cube that makes any old hi-fi speaker play music wirelessly from your smartphone. It doesn't need a plug socket to function once charged and neither does the speaker. It's an invention by London designer Paul Cocksedge and in a world of shiny new bluetooth speakers, The Vamp pioneered the #saveaspeaker campaign once it was revealed that we throw away a staggering 10,000 speakers in the UK every month.
We circulated samples to media alongside a charity shop speaker to show just how simple (and cheap at £50) a wireless speaker could be for the home, office or garden. We also used photography to show the classic British speaker designs that were in danger of being lost forever. In an age when listening to music from a smartphone speaker is an entry point to music for many, The Vamp shows that it doesn't necessarily have to be that way. "The new boom box" said the Mail on Sunday in a full page headline.
The Guardian, Wired, The Sun, What Hi-Fi, The Huffington Post, ShortList, Esquire and many more helped spread the word.
Click here to see our media coverage
THE BRIEF: Introduce Statement, a luxury hi-fi product, to the mainstream media.
HOW WE DID IT: Statement launched at CES 2014. Starscream planning started months before, arranging exclusive previews with both Wired and Yahoo UK to debut at launch. Starscream arranged a Wired photo shoot in Shoreditch and visited the studio to ensure all shots were on brand and Statement was ready to be seen by Wired.
Starscream met with mainstream media and, under NDA, briefed journalists on Statement, working on news treatments and feature ideas for CES 2014 and beyond. Starscream created a targeted press release aimed at the mainstream media alongside a press lounge with photography and video. All assets were available for download on PC or Mac as well as direct to smartphones and tablets, crucial for gaining coverage at a hectic convention like CES 2014.
During CES 2014, the Statement demo was attended by The Sun, MSN UK, The Metro, The Daily Mirror, Wired and more generating coverage from The Mail on Sunday, MSN, Metro, The Daily Mirror, Yahoo UK and The Guardian. Key media such as Wired, MSN and Yahoo UK tweeted around the launch, helping spread the word at CES 2014 and enhancing future media coverage in publications such as Wallpaper.
Statement coverage reached a combined readership of 8.6 million UK consumers during three days of CES 2014.