Even in the earliest days of a music-tech startup, having a trusted lawyer is invaluable. Once a company progresses to the point where they are forging partnerships and/or licensing deals with music rightsholders, it’s essential.
Industry lawyers also have a very good understanding of what can make startup/music partnerships positive and collaborative, or hit unforeseen roadblocks, from their experiences.
Reed Smith represents talent, artists and companies across the music industry, from Jay-Z, Rihanna and Mariah Carey to streaming services, labels and startups. In this video, partners Gregor Pryor and Sophie Goossens offer their advice for startups looking to work with the industry.
“Just read, educate yourself, learn about your industry, learn about the context, learn about your competition. And I find that this basic research is often completely overlooked,” says Goossens. “You’re building a business. You need to invest time in really understanding what you’re talking about and if you’ve done your homework, this will come across.”
Pryor also sees research as key. “You have to pick your investors and your business partners really carefully. If you have the wrong people working with you in your business, who don’t share your vision, your objective, your business goals, your strategy, it can come undone pretty quickly,” he says.
“So at every point you have the option of working with someone, particularly if they’re going to have a say in your business, be incredibly careful and rigorous about how you select them.”
You can watch the full Legal video above. It’s part of a series of Music & Tech Springboard Programme 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!
In the meantime, if there are any areas that, as a startup, you may feel have not been addressed, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions. We will collate and publish a FAQ document to accompany the series later in the year.
BPI CEO Geoff Taylor and Music Ally CEO Paul Brindley introduce the Springboard series and offer some tips for startups.
Universal Music’s Glenn Cooper, Sony Music’s Victoria Cruz, PIAS’ Adrian Pope, and Warner Music’s Scott Cohen offer startups advice from their label perspectives.
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 free BPI membership for 2020 – giving 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.