Whether major or independent, music labels are keen to talk to any startup who can help them find new ways to deliver music, build audiences for their artists, and make their businesses as efficient as possible.
For the majors and larger independents, there are dedicated teams who focus on reaching out to startups (and fielding incoming interest) and figuring out how they might work together.
This video sees some of those people – Universal Music’s Glenn Cooper, Sony Music’s Victoria Cruz, PIAS’s Adrian Pope, and Warner Music’s Scott Cohen – explaining what they’re looking for, and how they think startup/label relationships can work best.
“When working with startups, I always look for people with a real drive, passion and belief in what they’re doing. I do like to see people who’ve been in startups previously, even if it failed. You learn a lot, I learned a lot from that,” says Cooper.
“I think the primary thing is whether the startup has a fresh idea that sticks, regardless of what they’re trying to serve – whether it’s marketing, A&R or some new blockchain based trading service – it’s whether it addresses a current need in the business,” adds Cruz.
Cohen counsels against trying to do too much. “We’re not expecting them to solve every problem in the world and be this massive new thing that’s going to completely revolutionise how people listen, consume and pay for music. That’s not what we’re looking for,” he says.
“We’re looking for companies that can stay a half a step ahead or one step ahead and solve a single problem. They don’t have to solve everything… just tell me one thing you do and go really deep.”
“I look at S curves, if you like and what products and technologies are evolving, where they are in that evolution scale and at what point they are evolved to the extent that it’s time to pour rocket fuel on them and everybody getting involved in them,” adds Pope.
“I tend to plot technologies as they emerge in that sort of context. Does the technology work? Is there a product-market fit? And if so, is it now evolved to the extent that it’s time for everybody to embrace it and move forward?”
You can watch the full labels video above. It’s part of a series of The Music & Tech Springboard videos created by the BPI and Music Ally, with other episodes listed below. Note: this project has been a few months in the making, and the interviews were conducted before the Covid-19 pandemic. Some references (for example to meeting people / going to conferences) may jar, but we’re looking forward to a time when they’re relevant again!
BPI CEO Geoff Taylor and Music Ally CEO Paul Brindley introduce the Springboard series and offer some tips for startups.
Law firm Reed Smith partners Gregor Pryor and Sophie Goossens talk through some of the legal issues that music startups can face – and how to tackle them.
PPL’s chief licensing officer Jez Bell and PRS for Music head of online Nick Edwards explain the help available for startups seeking music licensing deals.
Eleven Advisory managing director Cliff Fluet and independent consultant Becky Brook offer lessons learned from their work connecting startups and music rightsholders.
Accelerators and Incubators
Abbey Road managing director Isabel Garvey and Marathon Artists chairman Paul-René Albertini explain how music/tech accelerators and incubators work, and what they look for in startups.
Music Ally’s editor Stuart Dredge talks about how he finds and writes about music-tech startups, and offers thoughts on how they can best deal with journalists.
Startups explain what they’ve learned from working with the music industry, including Jaak’s Vaughn McKenzie-Landell, MelodyVR’s Jo McNally, Landmrk’s Tom Nield, and ClicknClear’s Chantal Epp.
Also, if you’re a music-related tech startup that’s less than five years old or with fewer than 20 employees, we want to help you with practical steps. As such we are offering you the following:
– A heavily discounted BPI membership – giving you access to startups access to all of BPI’s resources – from market intelligence, to free training courses and free access to networking events. Click here to find out more.
– A six-month free subscription to Music Ally’s business information service, including a daily news bulletin and regular research reports. Request your free subscription here!
Want to know more about the Music & Tech Springboard Programme? Contact the BPI here.