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Jazz Shaper: James Gordon

Posted on 10 March 2023

James’ love affair with music started from his father’s involvement in the music recording industry

From there, James began honing his client and technology skills while learning the ropes as a studio engineer. This ultimately led to James working within sales at audio console company Soundtracs and, by 2007 (at the age of 36), he was leading digital live console pioneers, DiGiCo, as Managing Director. 

Leading the dynamic growth of DiGiCo brought the company to the attention of prospective buyers, but James and his team envisioned a different way forward for the business. In 2014, DiGiCo merged with two pro audio businesses already owned by a UK management fund, which led to the formation of Audiotonix and James’ current role as CEO. 

The Group has continued to expand with additional acquisitions, with James setting the blueprint for a unique technology-focused operation within the live entertainment and audio creation sectors.


There’s nothing like it, when you’re in a venue and the lights dim down and there’s that sort of hush in the audience.

When you hear the first beat of the kick drum through a proper, large PA system in a big room, you feel the energy know it’s going to be a good night.

I got to get dragged around music studios when I was young and, amazingly, it wasn’t about the artist being recorded, it was walking into that control room and seeing the big mixing console with all the faders and the lights.

I went to my careers officer and at the time, I said, “I want to get in the music industry, I want to work in a studio.”  And her reaction to that was, “Well that’s not really a proper career, is it?” 

One of the reasons why I personally, and Audiotonix, put so much effort into our STEM project for kids at schools, is to try and educate schools that actually, our industry is huge and there are lots of opportunities out there.

Making products that allow people to get better end results is just as exciting as actually being the person behind the faders.

Our industry has lots of companies in it where the founders are still passionately involved in their business and they’re emotionally connected to their staff.

The big thing for me when we’re looking at a new private equity partner, is to find somebody that gets the culture of our businesses.

We don’t go in with a spreadsheet and try and work out how we can save money, we go in and try and work out how we can grow the business – that's our philosophy.

When I was ten or eleven, the schools kept saying I was lazy and I wasn’t trying hard and my mum fought really hard.

Back then, dyslexia wasn’t a common thing, schools didn’t really acknowledge it.

I left school at sixteen because it wasn’t for me and doing something creative definitely was and the moment I got that, I actually realised what had held me back – dyslexia - was actually pushing me forward now.

80% of what we do is exported internationally, our talent across the industry gets exported as well and we are one of the market leaders in the world as an industry.

The UK has a leading music industry - better than most - and we don’t promote it enough or value it enough as a sector.

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