Photo of Daniel Jackson by Brandon Ballard for Embassy: Interactive
Photo by Brandon Ballard for Embassy: Interactive

Customer Stories

How a mixtape DJ found success by spotlighting others


Published on December 18, 2023

Daniel Jackson crafts videos to promote the artists and causes he believes in—and uses Dropbox Replay to make client reviews easier

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If there were a master class on following your instincts, Daniel Jackson could teach one. Starting his career as a mixtape DJ and aspiring rapper, Jackson developed his skills not only for making music, but building community. Even after attracting the attention of high-profile collaborators and working on projects for major labels, though, something didn’t feel quite right. 

“I never really got comfortable being on stage—that's not truly my comfort zone,” says Jackson. “I learned that my passion came more from being behind the scenes than being the focal point.”

So he decided to focus on promoting other artists through mixtapes and interviews. “The artists we were putting out on radio had mixtapes in stores all across the Philadelphia area, New York, New Jersey, and even some overseas,” he says. 

Jackson’s mixtapes, photos, and videos were such a hit that word about his skills as a promoter spread throughout the music community. By 2016, he knew it was time to build his own business.

”I wondered what would happen if I just bet on myself,” he recalls.

Now, as founder of Embassy : Interactive, his work appears in the New York Times, Vogue, film festivals, commercials, even museum exhibitions. We spoke with Jackson to find out how he uses Dropbox Replay and Dropbox Transfer to simplify his video review process.

​​Photo of Daniel Jackson by Reagan Jones, courtesy of @embinteractive

“I learned that my passion came more from being behind the scenes than being the focal point.”

What inspired you to launch your own music promotion business? 
I always had a passion for promoting artists and using my network to introduce people to artists they might not know. Everybody knows Jay Z. They know Eminem. But it's like, “There's this guy in this area that's really good, but you just never heard about him.” I love introducing artists to people who trust my recommendations. At the time I started Embassy : Interactive, the music industry was changing. So instead of being a mixtape forum, it became a music promotional website with artist interviews and photos of their shows.

How do you choose which artists to promote?
The one artist who’s probably the most responsible for the direction of Embassy : Interactive is Khemist, an artist from Logan, the area of Philadelphia where I was born. I was introduced to his music back when Myspace was popular. I'm like, Wow! This kid from Logan makes incredible music. Every song that he shared online, I put on my website. From there is where everything took off. 

After a while, I would ask friends in other cities and states, “Who's the artist from your area that you really like a lot?” They would tell me about this person in Cali. I would find out who they worked with, and see their following. Then the website got noticed by other artists who spread the word to people working on their promotions or live shows. Then they were submitting their artists to me, giving me everything to post. 

What motivated you to start using cloud-based collaboration tools?
I’ll always remember when the computer that had all my work—all the songs people sent me, CD covers and layouts, everything—crashed while I was watching Michael Jackson’s funeral. I never had anything backed up on any hard drives. No cloud-based systems. I gave the computer to someone to repair. Then the computer got stolen. I essentially lost everything, including a lot of the music I worked on personally, all the future music I had planned. That took a lot out of me. 

Is that when you started using Dropbox in your daily workflow?
Yeah, absolutely. Now, any new shoots for the day go in Dropbox first, which I have synced to every device here—phone, laptop, tablet. I also use Dropbox Transfer when I'm sending files to people. That’s helped me see who's downloading the file. 

Photo of Joie Kathos by Daniel Jackson, courtesy of @embinteractive

“I always had a passion for promoting artists and using my network to introduce people to artists they might not know.” 

I had a situation where I sent someone a link, which they forwarded because they were airing it on some type of online program. Next thing I know, I see this link has been downloaded 16 times. I'm seeing the names of all the different people. I'm like, who are all these people downloading this video? I'm glad to see that because the question is, who all is posting these videos that might be competing with the different platforms? One holder should be the person getting the dominant amount of views, not everybody putting the same video up. 

Also, I've been doing more work with large businesses and the government. One thing a lot of these companies ask for is a Capability Statement, which is like the résumé of your business. I put my capability statement on my website, as a link or Transfer so I can see exactly when someone has downloaded the capability statement, so I should look out for an email from them. 

What other tools do you use to streamline your client video reviews?
I'm shooting video for an organization that puts on an event in Philadelphia. The files are huge. The CEO of this company didn't feel comfortable downloading files of that size on their computer. So this year, I put everything on Dropbox Replay for her to look at everything. 

Another project is with the city of Philadelphia. I’m doing video for their violence prevention program. I use Replay to create the first draft for everybody to check out. Everything is all condensed in one link. It's not a bunch of videos being shared around and people submitting their feedback. In real time, people see what everyone else is saying. That way, no one's tempted to post the video or anything. 

Instagram reel from @embinteractive
Instagram reel from @embinteractive

I've had situations where I sent a draft of a video to someone just to review because I was waiting for a higher resolution image to put on the end of the video. And they just downloaded the video and posted it to social media. It looked good, but it wasn't what I wanted people to see. So I was like, they're just going to get Replay from here on out.

What advice you would give to people hoping to launch their own business in 2024?
I say, if you have the opportunity to do it, do it. If it feels like it's the chance you want to take, take it. When I first did it in 2016, it was rough. It didn't pan out the way I planned at all from the get go. But I don't look at the rough patches as losses. I look at them all as learning experiences. 

There's always things that help you sharpen your mentality. If there's some type of skill you’re lacking, it'll force you to connect with someone who's better in certain areas than you are. That makes your team, network, and resources grow. 

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.