Still Rethinking the “Jukebox”
TouchTunes Wins Innovator Award for Fusion Music System
When a jukebox factory celebrates making something that is “not a jukebox,” it gets your attention. That was the surprise news announced at TouchTunes’ Amusement Expo booth this year and also what prompted AMOA to award the company a second Innovator Award in a row.
What’s all the buzz about? TouchTunes’ new Fusion Music System. Execs say it’s a product designed to grow the “jukebox” business by creating a platform that can be customized to fit in any type of location with any type of design aesthetic. Creating a fusion between the jukebox business and locations who “think” those music machines aren’t a good fit for their clientele or décor is what inspired the team at TouchTunes to truly think outside the (juke)box.
Looking for new ways to grow the market for their business and for operators across the country, TouchTunes executives looked at their clean and pristine Angelina jukebox in a new way. Its mechanisms are modular and compact. Plug and play components create simplified servicing on location. What if they simply offered the brains and brawn of that system in a package that allowed anyone to customize it as they wished?
“The idea came from thinking about how to keep growing the business,” said CEO Ross Honey. “Most locations that want a jukebox already have one, but there are a lot of locations that could have one but don’t want one.”
The Fusion Music System leverages the ease of service built into the company’s award-winning Angelina jukebox (last year’s Innovator Award winner). With this new approach, those internals are housed in a chassis that has been designed to be customized. It has a rigid frame with anchor points allowing it to be securely mounted to walls and custom enclosures. A patent-pending design allows the 19.5” touchscreen to swing up out of the way to allow access to the modular components and bill acceptor inside; a side-locking swing door simplifies maintenance.
To help distributors and operators imagine how they might customize their own Fusion, TouchTunes showed examples some have already built, putting their creativity to work. Cadillac Music & Amusement (Cleveland, Ohio) took a classic video game cabinet and put the Fusion system inside with retro bar arcades in mind (the music system’s screen naturally sits where the game monitor would be). There was a Fusion system set into a large, framed mirror built by Miele Manufacturing (Williamsport, Penn.) that’s a classy fit for upscale locations. TouchTunes itself built out some ideas, too: a clear, wall-mounted enclosure filled with corks for a wine bar or tasting room; a pool table concept with a tap built in that dispensed beer for some in-booth happy hour libations; and a surfboard concept they showcased at its after-hours party at the nearby Bahama Breeze restaurant.
“These are ideas to spark your imagination. This is just the start of what’s possible,” Honey said. “The vision of the Fusion is that it will be customized by distributors and operators. We’re creating the platform, which works with our mobile app, and from there, you do what you want with it.
“Our hope is to incite growth in the industry that we simply haven’t seen for a while,” he said.
The factory is a firm believer in the idea, so much so that one concept is being produced by TouchTunes itself as a ready-to-go package. The Fusion Barrel Edition, which is just what you’d expect by its name, is a system mounted in the end of a wooden barrel. Looking at it, you know exactly the type of location they had in mind.
“We’ve done this because we believe there is such a big opportunity with brewpubs and craft spirit houses,” Honey said. He’s not kidding. Estimates are that there are 8,000 brewpubs in the U.S. alone. Add to that number, the whiskey bars and other untapped locations of that ilk.
A key to the success of the system is the use of the TouchTunes mobile app. Honey said over 50 percent of business on TouchTunes jukeboxes is through the mobile app. “We believe it’s our strength in mobile that makes this work.”
He added that the use of their “Bar Rewards” program is also important. “It incentivizes bar staff to promote the jukebox in these locations where there hasn’t been one before,” he continued. “The response has been really positive.”
By the way, Fusion wasn’t the only product highlighted by the companys at Expo. Sharing the spotlight were: the Angelina jukebox along with Virtuo, OS2 upgrade kits for Allegro and MX-1 machines, TouchTunesTV, Tempo route management software, the mobile app and the Bar Rewards program. For more on Fusion and these other products, visit www.touchtunes.com.