BIMM Institute Brighton graduate Josh Deal creates Zebr

26 August, 2021

Since graduating from BIMM Institute Brighton, Josh Deal has had a successful career as a session drummer for Gabrielle Aplin, Foxes and The X Factor house band. Now, he’s created his own company that allows musicians to submit music to influencers on TikTok and Instagram in the hopes of their song generating hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of streams.

What is Zebr?

The Zebr app allows artists to send their music to influencers and brands to be used in their video content. There’s already a broad spectrum of influencers using the platform, including make-up artists, dancers, fashion vloggers, food bloggers and gamers.

The app offers a wide variety of influencers to help artists find the right audience for their music. On the app, artists have the power to pick who they want to submit their music to, giving them an incredible opportunity to reach a bigger audience through multiple influencer channels.

Zebr has also just achieved their first No.1 trending song on TikTok with Rollin’ by MIST featuring Burna Boy. Josh worked on the campaign with Warner Records for over four weeks, and 60k+ videos later, it finally reached the top of TikTok’s UK trending, ‘Hip-Hop Fire’ and ‘Fun in the Sun’ charts.

Catching up with Josh Deal

What initially inspired Zebr?

I was inspired to create Zebr due to the lack of relevant marketing tools accessible to independent artists. I started in music as part of Gabrielle Aplin’s live band and played the drums on her first album, English Rain.

“The right influencer marketing on TikTok and Instagram is the answer in 2021.”

Gabrielle had her first breakthrough moment when her cover of ‘Power of Love’ was featured on the John Lewis Christmas ad. The track then went to No.1 and took us all to the moon. This inspired me to find a contemporary way to market music and achieve that same level of exposure. I believe the right influencer marketing on TikTok and Instagram is the answer in 2021.

Where do you see Zebr in the next few years?

We have an incredible team at Zebr, so we will continue to innovate new technology and ways to market music and products with creators on the most relevant platforms of today and the future.

How do you separate yourself from the big competitors in the influencer market?

The Zebr platform offers a unique approach to influencer marketing, which allows you to access a live community of influencers onboarded to the platform. This allows more opportunity for marketing with a broader outreach that is fully automated, from picking the most suitable influencers to tracking all the analytics on posted content. We also offer the same tools to independent artists with no minimum spend, unlike most agencies with unachievable costs for smaller artists.

What’s it like working on projects with big clients?

We started with only independent artists, which helped us learn a lot about maximising smaller budgets. So now that we work with major labels, it allows us to show the platform’s potential on a bigger scale. Our most recent success story of a No.1 song on TikTok was four years of hard work and building for us.

How did BIMM Institute help you in your journey?

BIMM Institute was very supportive during the launch of the app with independent artists and also helped me connect with Music Ally through a Masterclass, who have gone on to write about us and help spread the word with record labels. This just shows how important it is to attend the Masterclasses at BIMM Institute. Whether you think they are relevant to you or not, you never know who you might meet!


Wow, inspiring stuff from Josh there, and we wish him every success with Zebr. Discover more of our student success stories here.

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