Guest post by James Martin of Midem
After leaving Universal Music France in 2013, David Weiszfeld founded an artist management company with its own system for monitoring its artists’ activity on social media, streaming playlists and more. Called Soundcharts, this system proved so useful that Weiszfeld decided to make it his new startup venture. Four years later, last June, Soundcharts won the 10th edition of Midemlab. Here, as the call for entries for the 2018 edition of Midem’s world-renowned startup competition opens, Weiszfeld tells us what’s coming next.
midemblog: How would you describe Soundcharts?
David Weiszfeld: We are the market intelligence and productivity platform of the music industry. By market intelligence, we mean that we monitor the global consumption and engagement (social metrics, charts positions, playlists on DSPs and airplay from global stations). By productivity/workflow, we mean that we don’t show the data in a raw spreadsheet-looking format, but rather help our users work more efficiently by showing the right data at the right time (alerts, reports, in depth views, overviews etc).
> Why did you decide to launch your own business?
Having started working in the industry in 2004, I was dealing with downsizing like most companies, having to multitask. Automating some of the workflow was a necessity. When I left Universal in 2013, I created bSHARP, an artist management and consulting company. As a two-person setup, we had to be even more productive. Soundcharts became an internal project used exclusively by my bSHARP team and a few friends. But when more and more people started to use it, I became fascinated by how people work, and so started to develop the system’s visibility for all professionals in the new global market.
> What does it take to launch a startup today?
A team, patience and execution. The idea is just the first part. Most startups fail because of a lack of product-market fit; but execution is a close second. Finding and growing talent, trying to look at the long term while dealing with today’s priorities, are all key, I’d say.
> What are the specific challenges faced by music startups?
For us as a B2B platform, even if people like a product, there is a barrier to paying for a SaaS (software as a service) product. Most small to medium-sized businesses in music don’t make as much as other industries (real estate, finance, sales etc). Making sure people understand Soundcharts is an investment with a positive ROI, rather than a spend, was the initial challenge. We were in open beta for a year, that helped a lot in terms of giving our product a kick-start, and helping people understand that a new way of working was possible.
> What did winning Midemlab 2017 change for Soundcharts?
Midemlab brought us two major things: credibility and visibility. To win Midemlab is to follow the steps of successful companies such as EchoNest, Soundcloud or Next Big Sound (now part of Pandora), so it provides you with a lot of credibility among the music professionals. In doing so, it gave us additional media exposure, which never hurts early.
> What’s next for Soundcharts in 2018?
Making sure our platform is ahead of the market. We are building the tools for today while preparing tomorrow. Giving all our users the added value they are looking for is our number one priority. We’ve built an amazing platform, but we’re focused on giving a lot more value to our users over the next months and years!
Looking to join Soundcharts in the Midemlab hall of fame? Submit your startup for Midemlab 2018 here!
Photo: David Weiszfeld, Soundcharts (left) and Alexandre Deniot, MIDEM Director (right) at International Midem Awards 2017