James Kirkham

Defected Records

Chief Business Officer


Access Plus Pro

James Kirkham

Acknowledged widely as an authority on all things marketing, public relations and content creation, James Kirkham joined Defected Records as Chief Business Officer in January 2020. Making the move to the independent label from an advertising and marketing background, James had just concluded four years at the football media company COPA90, where during his successful tenure as CBO he oversaw a 100% increase in revenue year-on-year, and coordinated partnerships with brands such as Uber, Budweiser, Nike, Pepsi and EA Sports.

As well as his impressive work with COPA90, where James and his team built a vast audience of young fans, peaking at 650 million monthly views in 2019, James has established himself as a media innovator and specialist voice on the industry, providing insights for news outlets such as The Guardian, CNN, Al Jazeera, Sky News and the BBC. As one of the world’s foremost media industry speakers, he has appeared on stage for a number of years at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, featured in BIMA’s prestigious Top 100 for three years running and was recently selected as one of the top Leaders Under 40 in the sports business. He was also named in Campaign Magazine’s esteemed ‘Power 100’ in July 2019.

Prior to COPA90, James founded his own digital advertising business Holler, the first agency in the world to market a TV show using social media, and the trailblazing nature of the business was noticed by industry leaders Publicis Group, who acquired Holler in 2010. James was promoted to Leo Burnett Worldwide’s Global Head of Social and Mobile, working with clients such as Procter & Gamble, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Kellogg’s.

Now starting his new chapter at Defected Records, James joins the label as it enters its third decade. Upon starting the position at Defected James said,

“I’m so excited to be a part of the Defected family. Simon Dunmore and his team are building a new global music business for the 2020s. A hugely respected record label, now also a media company, we have one of the most engaged audiences and fervent fanbases I’ve ever seen. Combine that with staging truly incredible parties and events worldwide, it makes them the most exciting direct to consumer business on earth. I want to help Defected dominate this decade.”

James will oversee all social, content, marketing and PR activations in his role at Defected, and makes an invaluable addition to the company as it navigates its position as an industry leader in a new era for the music industry.

Get the latest news and updates.



WMC is and has always been the lifeblood of the dance music scene. Never missed a year since ’96, I can’t imagine Amsterdam Dance Event or Ibiza Music Summit existing without the blueprint that WMC originated. Seeing this revived is absolutely essential to reunifying the North American scene surrounding electronic music and its fringes.

Tommie Sunshine

Producer/DJ/Activist/Netflix Host

Miami has always been a place I’ve considered home and WMC was essential for me and the label in many ways. From showcasing our new music to keeping up with all the new artists and releases. It was the official kickoff of the year and I’m happy to see it thriving again.

Louie Vega

DJ/Vega Records

If you want to know about our industry from the people that make it happen then go to WMC. It’s an accelerated masterclass in all things dance music.

Carl Cox

DJ/Intec Records

Having only missed the very first year of WMC in 1985, it was 1986-1990 that initially placed me on the map globally due to the international attendance of the entire dance music community. All throughout the 90s I was often getting written about by various high profile mags and websites for having contributed to help break many artists, DJs, producers and remixers. WMC enabled me to bring many top industry people together all under one roof, especially at Groove Jet, where house music officially met Techno in my sets and it’s all been uphill since…TBC

Danny Tenaglia

DJ, Producer

Before there was Ultra Music Festival, there was The Winter Music Conference, the annual coming together of the dance music tribes. Miami in March is a fundamental place to be from a business perspective, and has always given me endless opportunities for discovering new partnerships and talent. WMC brings together the dance music industry and surrounding culture like no other event in America. I’ve been attending WMC for nearly 20 years, and I’m very much looking forward to experiencing its evolution in 2019.

Matt Colon

Director, North America - YM&U Music