New Jukebox Was Built With Beauty Outside, Brains Inside Plus Personal Story Behind It
It’s rare to see a company strike the perfect balance between emotional impact and utilitarianism and unite them in a single product, but TouchTunes has done just that. The company’s newest product, the Angelina, features an all-new lighting experience, time saving snap-in components and dozens of other innovations, and was named in honor of the late daughter of long-time customer Lou Miele.
The wall-mounted, technologically advanced machine comes from the hearts and minds of the company’s team. “This is more than just a new jukebox. It’s more to the company than just selling another product,” said TouchTunes CEO Ross Honey. “It’s an example of doing well by doing good.”
Miele lost his young daughter, Angelina, in the summer of 2015 to synovial sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, when she was just 11 years old. But her name will live on through the music she loved.
The jukebox itself has a modern, sleek look that, according to the company, has both brains and beauty. The Angelina was built with the objective of simplifying the hardware for easier installs and servicing, while also reinventing the light and sound experience.
Angelina’s life was always closely associated with music, her father said. Lou got his daughter’s name from the Louis Prima song of the same name, and throughout her struggles at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), she would listen to music for comfort, inspiration and out of sheer love. She would get pumped up before a hard chemo session by singing along to her fight song (Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger) and as she wound down from treatments, her stepmother Nicole Miele would often sing her to sleep. Angelina and the other young patients seemed to perk up most when one of the hospital’s music therapists came to the ward, bringing instruments for the kids to play along with. She especially enjoyed when famous acts such as 5 Seconds of Summer, Paramour or Zendaya came through the hospital to play for the kids.
After she passed away, Lou and Nicole formed Angelina’s Song, a non-profit that supports music therapy at the hospital where Angelina was treated, and funds pediatric cancer research. Each Angelina jukebox TouchTunes sells will benefit the fund and help spread the joy of music to those who need it most. Lou believes there is nothing Angelina would have loved to see more than her name associated with joy and healing.
“She was always helping other kids, even before she knew she had cancer,” Lou said. “When she was going through her treatments, she was a bright light. She’d do her best to lift everyone’s spirits. She was never scared in the hospital, not one day.”
The Angelina is the product of over two years of development, but TouchTunes knew early on that they wanted it to honor Lou’s daughter. Charles Goldstuck, Executive Chariman of TouchTunes at the time, contacted Lou and his wife Nicole early on in the process to tell them that the company wanted to use Angelina’s name on their latest innovation.
“When he said that to us, we started crying. We knew it was the thing we had been searching for,” Lou said. “I’ve been with TouchTunes since day one of their business, and I’ve always seen them as a family. What they’re doing with the Angelina only reinforces that in me.”
Speaking about the new jukebox, TouchTunes’ Honey says it delivers on their goals of reinventing the jukebox light and sound experience and delivering a jukebox that redefines serviceability and reliability. The new lighting experience includes an algorithm-driven, customizable visualizer and a four-zone wall wash lightshow that surfaces the music’s beats and rhythms and can be set to match any location’s mood. The juke curves in substantially, allowing the wall wash to give it a floating look that makes it seem larger, grabbing attention while still being easy to move and install.
“We really wanted to rethink the internals of a jukebox as well,” said Honey. “The Angelina is based on many hard-won lessons from prior designs and products.”
A look inside the box tells the story of how the internal workings have been substantially simplified. The company says servicing the Angelina will be easier than ever –– with little to no wiring –– and common service issues being reduced into simple two-minute tasks. Gone are the days of connecting and disconnecting wiring harnesses, the juke’s removable motherboard allows for modular components that can plug directly in.
Mobile & More
TouchTunes showed off a lot more than just the Angelina at this year’s Amusement Expo. The company touted massive gains in the mobile sector, noting that due to their mobile sales growth, tech giants like Apple and Google are considering them a strategic partner in mobile payment. Honey said TouchTunes operators have seen growing coinage per jukebox, and those that haven’t been able to expand their location portfolio are still bringing in higher revenues thanks to the company’s mobile efforts.
“Mobile is necessary to maintain relevance. We’re living in a mobile-first world,” Honey said. “But more than relevance, it’s a simple way to grow revenue. Without mobile, a lot of today’s customers may not even know your jukebox is there.”
An area where the company has had solid success is its proximity network. This tech allows TouchTunes to reach directly into potential customers’ pockets and prompt them to play a song when they are in a TouchTunes location. Not surprisingly, the company believes the best time to remind someone to play a jukebox is when they’re in a TouchTunes location! Their proximity network targets mobile app users with personalized messages when they enter a venue with a TouchTunes juke and, according to the company’s research, this results in a 60 percent higher likelihood that mobile users will play a song.
Advances in technology have allowed TouchTunes to grow its proximity network to 20,000 of their 65,000 locations. However, Honey believes that isn’t good enough, and plans to have the network active in nearly 100 percent of their locations this year. The more mobile action the company gets, the more data it can collect about consumers playing habits as well. Honey believes this data is imperative to the company’s growth strategy and has already allowed unparalleled insight into what the customer wants from their jukebox experience.
“There is a lot of opportunity in data, whether we use it to improve customer satisfaction or boost operator’s revenues or both,” Honey said. “Operators don’t have to do much to get this added value either.”
TouchTunes Bar Rewards is another example of the company’s focus on using new ideas to drum up fatter cash boxes. The company says the program, which rewards venue staff for being advocates of the TouchTunes jukebox and mobile app, has been shown to lead to a direct increase of six percent in coinage at participating locations. This year, TouchTunes plans on introducing new features to the loyalty building program, including the ability for bartenders to better drive business to the jukebox and gift the credits they gain for doing so to patrons and friends.
With all these updates, jukebox operators should be excited for the future. Those that came to the TouchTunes booth for the Angelina’s unveiling at the Amusement Expo were just that: buzzing with energy and ready to deploy a new fleet of jukeboxes across the country. For Lou and Nicole, knowing that Angelina will be singing to thousands of TouchTunes customers for years to come gives them hope and happiness.
“There was a long time where if someone even said the name Angelina, it would make us cry,” Nicole said. “Hearing it said so much throughout the development of this product, and seeing it attached to something so fun, it makes us smile and has been healing for us.”