David Dufresne of Bandzoogle organised a talk at SXSW and the description highlighted the nature of the DIY problem, misunderstood by so many. I think the sheer complexity of it all is too often forgotten. It’s probably wise to stay mindful of the challenges this brave new world poses, and perhaps tone down the “you don’t need a label” rhetoric. No, you don’t need a label as such, but I am sure you could use some help.
“It used to be that a a simple website, a MySpace profile, and tracks on iTunes was considered an online strategy. Nowadays, DIY artists are expected to blog, tweet, update their Facebook, have an iPhone app, manage geo-targeted mailing lists, give their music for free but at the same time sell it on 200 different stores and marketing widgets. They’re expected to become hardcore analytics experts, understand conversion rates and SEO optimization. All that while they design t-shirts and Uzi-shaped USB keys, and tuck their fans in at bedtime. Oh yeah, they’re also expected to write songs and play some music once in a while.”
The always interesting Paul Resnikoff of Digital Music News makes an interesting point about the vulnerability of the music startup scene. He underlines what is easily forgotten: we are all in the hands of the big players.
Here you think major labels, but Presnikoff starts off his piece with an interesting quote from Vince Bannon of Getty Images: “Index Ventures will put a lot of money into music…But they won’t touch anything involving the major labels or licensing.”
Presnikoff goes on to say that the venture capitalist has “figured that part out” and “if Spotify dies while waiting for UMG’s signature, then it’s their own damn fault. Because the ‘major label problem’ was isolated and identified years ago.”
Here one has to pause for a second and wonder if that is true? Many music startup sport business models that require huge numbers of user and they understand that the masses want access to all the music in the world all the time, preferably for free.
But instead of the majors, Presnikoff identifies other players as the real killers of your music startup. Read the whole piece, if you dare.
This is a nice overview of the current state of affairs. Any surprises?
The new Topspin platform is now live. As Topspin has to offer courses and educate their customers on how to market music and use the product, they have a clear positioning as high end, with a steep learning curve. Consider the details found here with the earlier paragraph about the DIY complexity.