CASE STUDY: Film Composer Junkie XL Leads Fans on Music ‘Raiding’ Adventure

Dutch musician, composer and producer Tom Holkenborg (aka Junkie XL) has been on absolute fire in recent years.

While most artists strive for a successful creative career, Tom has had two. Following a massively successful electronic music career in the 90s and 2000s under his Junkie XL moniker — which included a worldwide #1 remix of Elvis Presley’s “A Little Less Conversation” — Tom essentially started over again to become a film composer, moving to L.A. and working his way up from the bottom.

Today, having scored blockbusters like Mad Max: Fury Road, Deadpool, Batman v Superman (alongside Hans Zimmer), and most recently the 2018 Tomb Raider reboot, it’s clear to see the man is dedicated to his craft.

Another thing Tom is equally dedicated to?
His fans.


Tom is a huge believer in education, particularly in non-traditional means of self-education through real-world experiences. He’s also a “full contact composer,” meaning he is extremely hands-on in every aspect of the creative process, from playing instruments to mixing his own scores. As such, he’s exceptionally well versed to demonstrate how he creates his work.

In late 2015 Tom launched Studio Time with Junkie XL on his YouTube channel, which offers incredibly in-depth tutorials on how he wrote and produced various film scores, his technical workflow, full-length answers to FAQs from social media, the gear he likes to use, and much more. This degree of transparency and open education at such an elite level has never been seen before… and people have noticed.

In just over two years, Tom’s YouTube channel has amassed over 80,000 subscribers.
Tom’s YouTube channel has become a destination for aspiring film composers around the world.

Taking things a step further, Tom engages his community to create their own musical pieces based on projects he’s worked on and concepts taught in Studio Time through his #NowScoreThis initiative. Here fans are provided a prompt and given direction to create derivative works to share with the Junkie XL community via a curated playlist on Tom’s SoundCloud.

All this coupled with regular Facebook Live ‘ask-me-anything’ sessions, calls-to-action on social media for fan photos of their gear / studios, and more… it’s clear to see Tom goes far above and beyond to involve his audience


Having already completed two seasons of Studio Time (with a third on the way), Tom tends to create mini Studio Time Specials surrounding individual films in conjunction with their theatrical release. So naturally, his audience was expecting this for the 2018 Tomb Raider reboot.

Instead of simply releasing the videos on YouTube and calling it a campaign, we really wanted people to feel invested in the Tomb Raider score… invested enough to listen to it upon release, to see how it was made in Studio Time, and of course to see the film itself in theaters.

As a team, we thought:

“What better way to make people feel part of the story than to include them in their own Tomb Raiding adventure? Create an interactive game for a film BASED on a game.”

The idea was to have Tom’s fans anticipate our usual Friday release of Studio Time in conjunction with Tomb Raider’s release, only to have the episode “go missing” in the tombs.

Here’s how it went down…

We dropped a hint on Twitter one week before to plant the seed:

The following week, we launched a short trailer to condition the audience that ‘Studio Time Fridays’ were coming back:

We kept reinforcing throughout the week, increasing expectation and anticipation:

The day the episode was supposed to drop… oh no, it’s gone missing!!

Fans were swerved into thinking the episode was lost, but were instead treated to a mini-game to find it.


We instructed fans to search for the missing episode by unlocking tombs containing “musical treasures” in a custom interactive microsite*:

Microsite Homepage
*Try it Yourself: CLICK HERE

Using a custom alphabet pulling film-authentic hieroglyphics, fans had to decode word puzzles related to featured tracks from the score.

These featured tracks all correspond with the material Tom covers in Studio Time.

Once unlocked, a video of Tom appears introducing the piece of music you’re about to listen to:

Pop-up videos were embedded using YouTube to allow for future “Recommend Videos” from the JXL channel.

The player then listens to the music…

This process allowed fans to get to know the music before they dissect it in Studio Time.

…and continues unlocking the other tombs.


Once all the tombs are unlocked, they’ve proven themselves worthy of obtaining the ultimate prize — Episode 1 of the Studio Time Special!

Episode 1 was exclusive to the microsite throughout the film’s opening weekend.

Upon completion, fans share the game through Facebook or Twitter:


Fan response was tremendously positive…





The microsite saw tons of stable organic traffic over the course of three days:

Opening weekend

Traffic sources

— Facebook — 51.09%

— YouTube — 22.83%

— Twitter — 15.67%


The level of effort Toms undergoes to interact with his fans and involve them in his work sets a new standard for how a composer of his caliber involves their community and keeps them engaged.

It also corresponds completely accurately with who he is as a person.

For at the end of the day…

The most powerful form of “marketing” is simply amplifying your own authenticity.


Hisham Dahud

Digital Strategy & Brand Marketing


Twitter: @HishamDahud

Matt Lee

Creative Web Development


Twitter: @bymattlee

Michiel Groeneveld

Artist Management


Tom Holkenborg aka Junkie XL


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