Building partnerships that hit the right note with the likes of Amazon and Sonos

I’m a music guy. I’ve worked in the industry on and off for decades, starting with my career in talent management and moving into creating strategic relationships between talent and brands. Specifically, I spent years working in jazz – with labels, festivals, and musicians – and I have a lifelong passion for music.

Over the years, my experience shifted. I realized two of anything is always better than one, so I focused on creating powerful pairs. Pairs of all kinds that when put together could reap greater benefits. And as a result, my brand match-making abilities became the genesis for my partnership marketing agency, Regatta.

One of the keys to my success has been finding where two passionate audiences intersect and offering them both something special. This sweet spot is where loyalty lives, and when you create value add, you not only generate revenue but a long-lasting relationship.

I never stopped loving jazz.

So, as luck would have it, a new project fell into my lap that I couldn’t turn down. It’s working with Rudy Van Gelder’s legendary recording studio. A project that brings together both of my personal passions – music and marketing. And it’s a great example of why passion driven marketing works.

“Live from Van Gelder Studio” is a virtual music series created and produced by a team of jazz industry veterans. It gives an intimate peek into the legendary 62-year-old working studio, which has been home to hundreds of jazz icons from John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Herbie Hancock to Nina Simone and Ray Charles. The unique content series provides music fans from all over the world with first-hand storytelling and cinematic views of a studio that most have never experienced. It also provides an opportunity to demonstrate the intricacies of a live, working studio and to expose new audiences to incredible jazz talents.

This studio is a special place.

Purpose built by Rudy Van Gelder in 1959, this studio captured some of the most legendary jazz albums of all time. It’s not just a recording studio, but also an architectural wonder and an audiophile’s dream. So when plotting out whom we could reach with the music series, we took all of these audiences into consideration. We knew that we could unlock its full potential by exposing multiple audiences to its distinctive characteristics.

Synergistic partnerships.

As a result, we’ve created a full array of partnerships that play into these amazing attributes but that also do what a good pairing should – appeal to the passions of our audience. As a technologically advanced studio, we needed to partner with a state-of-the-art streaming service to ensure that quality was never sacrificed. We found that in Amazon and their new Interactive Video Service, which grew out of the Twitch acquisition.

We also created a partnership with Sonos to help the studio and the musicians reach a broader audience while showcasing the power of amazing audio, both professionally and at home.

Sonos, known for delivering an unparalleled sound experience and their multi-room wireless speaker systems, is taking steps to grow their Sonos Radio and Sonos Radio HD platforms with exclusive stations, artist-hosted radio hours and other content. The association with Van Gelder Studio allows them to leverage this legendary studio and for the first time gives them an entrée into live audio streaming at the highest possible quality. The alliance supports Van Gelder’s end-to-end focus on audio quality and helps to deliver the live-streams to new audiences.

Connecting with passions.

By tapping into a variety of passions we’ve been able to build some valuable marketing partnerships, benefiting the studio and the brands, and ushering in a new era of fans – on all sides. And the opportunities are endless. Collaboration can come in all shapes and sizes but if you start by zeroing in on the passions, real magic can happen.

It’s like what we are doing with Live from Van Gelder Studio – giving an exclusive sneak peek into something you don’t normally get to do, see or hear. Creating that special audience connection is what you can do all the time with partnership marketing. And if you can jazz it up, it’s all the better.

-Sam Kaufman

Check out our next performance in the Rudy Van Gelder Studio series on Saturday, May 15th at 9 PM EDT with live re-streams scheduled for Asian and European markets on Sunday. All events will stream directly from This show celebrates the studio’s iconic Hammond organ, heard on innumerable classic jazz recordings over the last 60 years, and features jazz organist Joey DeFrancesco along with Billy Hart, Peter Bernstein, and special guest the legendary Houston Person.