As Q1’2018 ends, there’s a few updates and thoughts I’d like to share. We’ve had the amazing milestone of launching our alpha, doing panels and meeting with many folks at SXSW, doing a partnership, and more. Our product roadmap relies heavily on user feedback and usage, and the more we learn from this, we’ve come to a very interesting phase where our mission intersects with value-driven features. Based on this, we’ve been able to dissect even more the problem we’re trying to solve and those who we are helping.
Having a sustainable career in music can mean different things. Historically speaking, you would be considered the next best thing next to royalty if you were hired by a king or queen to create music on a frequent basis. Take Jean Baptiste Lully, composer and musician at Louis XIV’s court. How can you land a gig like that? Of course, you have to have the skills. But more importantly, the network. Lully networked himself all the way to reach Louis XIV’s ears, and even got himself a nobility title. Let’s think we’re in the middle of 17th century France, with Louis XIV’s reign and of course, the ever-legendary Versailles. Now, the only way to get into the King’s court, would be as a noble. And as a musician, you would definitely have to foster a VIP network, have information about knowing what the King was looking for, etc.
Fast forward a few centuries, and we are still doing the same thing. Even though we have the internet to thank for having access to overwhelming amounts of information, the music industry still relies on networks. However, music’s gatekeepers still have the majority of power, the power than controls most of the revenues within the industry. And that power is based on information. The kind of information that would potentially help royalty owners, rights holders, young creators and musicians who are living in a digital age that largely supports easy distribution and consumption, but without strong building blocks to have sustainable careers and information transparency. As Matthew Smith, CEO at Royalty Exchange puts it in his Billboard guest op-ed
“[I]nformation asymmetry only allows some to win. Information transparency allows all to win.”
At SXSW, we had the chance to talk to many early-stage musicians right at the start of their careers. They are willing to do anything to have their music reach the right ears, have the chance to connect with people who will help them land music sync opportunities, and get more festivals and deal flow.
At Berklee’s Career Jam in Boston, we talked to many music students dipping their toes into what will be a brutal professional journey and some of them already graduating, looking for entry-level jobs. All of them had a printed-out resume, exhibiting how many ‘years of experience’ they’ve had, or the skills they’ve acquired. How are employers supposed to know if they are good drummers if it says so in piece of paper? Or know that they are great at ProTools or Ableton Live?
At Harvard’s Music Entrepreneur Conference last weekend, we talked during our panel about access in the industry, and how we are trying to redefine the way musicians have a formal, consistent online presence. Once which gives them an advantage when exhibiting their skills and projects, without the need of depending on the traditional ‘resume’ model a-la-LinkedIn.
The massive access gap in the music industry needs solving, and considering it generates over $47 billion dollars every year, imagine how more it could generate if 1) at least more than 50% of folks who major in music actually get to work in the music industry and 2) transparent access to information can help build a better, more sustainable industry.
The more we delve into this problem, the more we hone in on our product development efforts to better serve our users. Thinking of how we can make sure that every single 17 year-old kid who wants to have a career in music will have a clear roadmap and steps in order to make that happen. At Stereotheque, we value absolutely every step of the music career journey; their success is our success.