Last week, we had the opportunity of being one of the 4 startups to pitch at Who’s who in Music Tech, the Music Tech Meetup hosted at 2112 Incubator based out of Chicago. Being the first of its kind, 2112 is focused on music, technology, film and arts. From an investor’s standpoint, some may think these industries can’t scale 10x or that are too subjective, given the nature of the creativity across all of these disciplines. However, those of us who have been for many years not only working in the industry but innovating in it, we know the creative industry mixed with technology is a unique opportunity which can scale at a very high rate and with major dividends.
Tomas Uribe at Who's Who in Music Tech
Tomas Uribe at Who’s Who in Music Tech

The State of the Music Industry

At the meetup, music and creative industry professionals agreed on one specific topic. The industry is craving innovation and it is up to the new generations of startups to spearhead this new movement. The VL group, a company who uses music and data to connect brands with their audiences was represented by the music veteran, J. Anthony Miguez. After being part of the first dot com boom at the end of the 20th century, they faced the fast-paced environment that the internet offered, opening up new possibilities for innovation. He made it clear that it is a great moment in time to invest, innovate and execute.

“It is a great moment in time to invest, innovate and execute in the Music Industry”. J. Anthony Miguez.

Yet, the most interesting talk was given by Eric Sheinkop, founder of indie music rights publisher Music Dealers and author of “Return of the Hustle: The Art of Marketing with Music”. As a music producer himself, when coming out of Fullsail University in Orlando, he saw an opportunity where everyone else inside the industry was seeing an obstacle or problem. And that’s what this is all about: solving problems in a creative yet scalable way (with tech hopefully). He later found the way of making Music Dealers a very big success, landing early clients including McDonalds and CocaCola. Similar to the VL group, he also insisted in the way we, the new generation of startups, have to innovate.

For this, Eric recalled the rise and fall of the nostalgic record industry, when the 90’s topped the revenue for music album generated sales, then record companies and stores (think Tower Records in the documentary All Things Must Pass) saw bankruptcies and decrease in sales, then Napster came along and digital music downloads grew with the rise of iTunes, becoming he savior and innovator once again of the music industry, leading once again to innovation with music streaming and the increased use of the internet, maybe concluding in the next two years when iTunes will shut down its music downloads. Point being, the music industry is up for grabs, and that’s just music, think of the possibilities with AR, VR, AI, film, media, and tech as a whole. It’s endless, and it’s a great moment to innovate and create solutions that will disrupt these industries once again.

The startup pitches are always exciting. Companies from different parts of the country came to the meetup and discuss the different opportunities available for the industry. As for Stereotheque, we received great feedback and the response was very positive in general.

Most importantly, we had the chance to know what other people are doing and witness how serendipity is a real denominator across these companies. Thinking how to solve big problems at the same time, bringing to the table healthy competition. The difference in the end will always be execution and vision. Think about Uber and Lyft, or Spotify and Apple Music. They are all giants trying to solve big problems, but always leaving room for fresh, new innovation.

The Chicago Music Scene

Chicago Music Scene - Green Mill
Chicago Music Scene – Green Mill
Our participation in the Chicago startup scene wouldn’t be complete without visiting and experiencing the music scene, after all, that’s what Stereotheque is all about. First, we visited the legendary Green Mill. With the strong foundation in the heady sounds of the 1930’s and 1940’s, the Green Mill breathes and sleeps jazz, whether it’s Bebop, contemporary or improvisational. The place holds the mysticism of Al Capone’s day, evident by the memorabilia found in its corners. People from all ages dress like it was a Fall weekday from 1945, making visitors feel exactly how it used to be. But best of all, the quality and execution of the music was impeccable. A big band composed of 9 horns, drums, guitar, piano, double bass and a singer were enough to make the night fabulously timeless.

The second place we visited, Kingston Mines, was also one of its kind, housing the local artists and bands in a laid back, rock-n-roll atmosphere. With two simultaneous stages, you will never feel the need of more music, it’s a continuous rush of rock and roll all night. Two great bands with different music styles commingled through the night, making us feel right at home and making us remember the uniqueness of the Chicago music scene.

It’s a great moment indeed to innovate for the music industry, and we at Stereotheque are just getting started! Sign up and visit http://www.stereotheque.com to learn more and become a beta tester!

Tomas Uribe

Tomas Uribe is the Co-founder and CEO of Stereotheque. Composer, bass player and front-end designer and engineer. Also a die-hard fan of Nine Inch Nails.

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