In April of 1980, Jeff Walker took his experience and a leap of faith and formed The AristoMedia Group. He integrated the word “aristocrat” into the company’s name to communicate his vision of a company that prided itself on upholding the highest standards of excellence.
The initial success of AristoMedia as an independent publicity firm (branded now as Aristo PR), prompted Walker to expand his business into video promotion in 1983. His foresight and willingness to embrace this new format was a key move in the development of both his company and the music video market in Nashville. Through the company’s new video promotion branch, AristoMedia played an integral role in launching the careers of some of Nashville’s biggest names, including Shania Twain, Keith Urban, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith and Sugarland. The company also incorporated Christian artists into their roster, providing publicity and video promotion for prominent acts such as Michael W. Smith, Third Day, Point of Grace and Relient K.
Walker made his next major expansion in 1991, founding Marco Promotions. The division name was chosen as a reference to the Italian radio inventor, Guglielmo Marconi, and the branch was created specifically for radio promotion operations. Over the past seventeen years, Marco Promotions has played a significant role in garnering national and regional hit records for artists including Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift, Gretchen Wilson, The Dixie Chicks and Trisha Yearwood.
His company continued its growth in the ‘90s, with Walker forming The Goodland Group in 1994 and Jeff Walker & Associates (JW&A) in 1995. The Goodland Group was set up to provide video duplication services, while JW&A focuses on international and domestic consulting within the music industry.
As the music industry evolved, so did The AristoMedia Group. Rapid technological advances and corporate consolidation inspired further company expansion and growth. Walker realized that there was a virtually untapped market for dance club promotion, so he created Marco Club Connection in 2004 to increase exposure for clients with dance-oriented material. The company had already seen previous success with their involvement in videos like “Achy Breaky Heart” and “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy),” so the transition was a logical move. The following year Walker created a digital and new media department called AristoDigital, which helps provide clients with a well-rounded digital presence. Both recent ventures continue to thrive in an otherwise unpredictable industry.
Walker certainly has his finger on the pulse of the international country market. Since 2005, AristoMedia has been responsible for hosting and coordinating the CMA Music Festival’s Global Events, which brings top international talent to Nashville. For many of the artists, it’s the first time they’ve ever been to Music City. Walker cites this involvement in the global community as one of his most prideful ventures throughout his time in the industry.
In 2009, AristoMedia co-developed its DownCast service with veteran Nashville-based television production company, Travis Television Productions. The service distributes broadcast-quality video content and a variety of other materials to a network of nearly 10,000 outlets through its own dedicated server. In an industry turned practically upside down, it is proof that the philosophy and diversity of The AristoMedia Group has led to an enviable position in Nashville. Its success in publicity, marketing, video and radio promotion, consulting, event coordination, new media relations and dance club promotions has created a truly unique reputation in the music business.
This perpetual multi-tasking only means more opportunities for Walker’s company in the future. “Necessity is the mother of invention,” he says in his typical easygoing fashion. “As long as we remember that content is king and continue to provide professional niche market media services, the future looks bright.”