Focusrite Audio Engineering is no ordinary music equipment company. The company may sell a range of top products – and they have won this award for excellence in international trade – but it also puts its users, many of whom are musicians, first.
Any visitor to Focusrite Group’s website, of which Focusrite Audio Engineering is a part – is rewarded with finding some of the best new music on the planet. Yet there’s no fanfare nor fuss, just a genuine and explicit desire to support this global community.
It’s always been this way and further underlined by the fact that their CEO, who has been in the big chair since 2017, is himself a former professional keyboard player.
For Tim Carroll who hails from Atlanta Georgia, via San Francisco, leading this company is clearly also a labour of love. He said: “We deal with people who are creating or producing music or who are putting on shows. We have a really interesting culture here where a lot of our employees work and then go out and DJ or play in a band or they are streaming and podcasting and they come back in to work with a real-world interpretation of how our products are faring because they use them.”
The website’s Bedroom Series and Never Stop Creating videos showcase new music and is a simple, yet ingenious way of supporting new talent as well as marketing the company’s wares.
“We have a very wide audience of content creators; we have people who never done this before and just want to have fun, we have people who aspire to be professional and we have people who make their living form this,” said Tim. “A lot buy our products and their ‘studios’ are often their bedrooms, so we wanted to mimic that and paint the picture that no matter where you are and what you do this is technology to have fun with.”
The Group’s HQ is in High Wycombe and has been trading since 1989. It produces audio interfaces which allow a user to connect microphones, guitars and other instruments into a computer to capture and play back audio in extremely high quality. Its devices enable musicians, podcasters, streamers and other content creators to produce professional sounding recordings anywhere.
Publicly-listed on the London AIM market trading under TUNE, over the last five years Focusrite has acquired a number of businesses, including Adam Audio in Berlin, Martin Audio and Novation in High Wycombe, San Francisco-based Sequential and most recently Linea Research in Letchworth Garden City.
Demand for products grew during the pandemic and disruption with deliveries were dealt with to meet the increased orders. It has contributed to overseas sales growth over the last six years of 145 per cent.
Tim said: “During the pandemic the live sound sector immediately stopped but venues took the time to retool while there were no audiences. Also, when the lockdowns hit many artists found themselves needing to perform shows over social media and it meant the professional side continued to increase.”
Additionally, Tim believes that artist support is part of the group’s responsibility and during Covid-19 supported regional foundations and charities contributing both products and finance. It’s more of the kind of thinking that has on the one hand created a loyal and growing customer base and on the other put them at the vanguard in audio production.
This Queen’s Award is the sixth that the Group has won, three each for innovation and international trade and Tim says given what’s happened in the last two years this latest gong is most welcome: “Every award is special, milestones of progress, but this one is a real recognition of the blood, sweat and tears that our teams put in to ensure the business stayed on track in very trying times.”
Focusrite’s top markets are North America, Germany, Austria, France, Benelux, Australia and South Korea and see even more opportunity to innovate and bring more technology to hobbyists and professionals alike.
Tim added: “It’s so much fun being on this side of the industry and be able to come out with products that you know are going to be able to help artists and musicians be more creative.”