Going for It: Woman Warrior

Musicians helping startups

Musicians for Music 2.0 is a fund that invests in music technology companies, particularly in the area of music discovery, and is funded by successful musicians. It fills a funding gap, while also highlighting the positive relationship between music technology and the careers of the artists themselves.  One of the things I love about working with Bandsintown is that we help get fans to concerts, which is financially beneficial for the artists.  

I recently interviewed Charlie McEnerney, the mastermind behind the initiative, about Musicians for Music 2.0 and the similarities between startups and artists. Here are some of this thoughts:

Can you compare the path to success for bands vs startups, and what lessons you think the artists that would invest in Musicians for Music 2.0 would have to share with the startups they are investing in?

I think musicians who succeeded from the 50s thru 90s would say they reached those heights because of hard work, tenacity, talent, and luck, but they would also likely admit they reached larger audiences because of getting attention and a push from music critics, DJs, fanzines, record store clerks, etc. With all of these tastemaker roles diminishing, successful musicians would have to recognize that it is harder for music fans to discover new artists without a more sustainable ecosystem. I hope this earlier era of musicians will feel a level of empathy with future generations and agree it's a terrific public relations opportunity.

Just like start-ups require capital to help general businesses get their footing, the music discovery tools and technologies that now exist--from people that produce blogs and podcasts to iPhone apps to music recommendation engines to live event tools to Internet radio stations--need financial support so that all of these developing outlets can promote the music they love. Of course, the reach is no longer just local, with the potential audience anywhere around the world. That's exciting for both music discovery businesses and for musicians.

What are the three main factors that you see as pivotal to the success of startups in the Music 2.0 space?

Growing your audience until you can monetize your site or technology is central to success these days. Given online economies, such music discovery businesses will see revenue from sources like advertising, sponsorships, grants, merchandise sales, and donations. As a result, you need time to grow your audience and fine tune your strategy. Lastly, your product or service doesn't have to be for the mainstream in the traditional sense, but it could be perfect for audiences that are underserved. Maybe it didn't make sense in the publishing or broadcasting worlds, but it could make economic sense online.

How do you see Musicians for Music 2.0 addressing these key factors?

Not every business person is a brilliant marketer, so Musicians for Music 2.0 will help to promote (and cross-promote) these sites and teach the business leaders how to best market their products by taking part in intense business incubators. Many of these sites and technologies are currently done as labors of love and not everyone will want to turn the projects into their day jobs, but for those who want to be part of a new era of music discovery, it's an incredibly efficient time to launch and sustain such a company. With the shift away from print, radio, and record stores a lot of genres have been hit hard by finding ways to reach fans, including jazz and classical music. Supporting all of these new discovery ideas will also benefit such genres by better connecting the online communities that care about specific genre and, ideally, introducing a wider variety of genres to more people.

Musicians for Music 2.0 recently hit an internal funding goal on Kickstarter to create an informational video and will soon begin raising money for the fund itself. This is a great time to get involved in the project.


Alexis Rodich

 |  April 13, 2010; 10:14 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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