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Startups explain the lessons they learned working with the music industry


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In the Music & Tech Springboard series of videos we’ve produced with the BPI, we’ve heard from collecting societies, lawyers, advisors, accelerators and incubators, and labels about their advice for music/tech startups. But what about hearing from some startups themselves?

That’s what this video does. A group of British startups who’ve all signed licensing deals and/or worked on pilots with music industry rightsholders give us the key lessons they’ve learned along the way, for the benefit of younger companies about to embark on similar journeys.

“Work collaboratively, build ideas together, work on new solutions, talk to people that like your idea, but also talk to people that aren’t yet convinced. Listen to their arguments for and against and find different ways to work around those arguments to build different solutions,” says Jo McNally, SVP licensing and strategy at virtual-reality music startup MelodyVR.

Vaughn McKenzie-Landell, CEO of music-licensing infrastructure startup Jaak, suggests that balancing fundraising and licensing is key for many startups. “I think that needs to be treated with almost equal fervour in terms of how you go after it, how much strategy you put behind it, the way you think about selling into those labels, because they become a key supplier to make your whole business work,” he says.

“Be realistic. If you’re starting jumping out with millions and millions of dollars of revenue in the next year, that’s probably not so realistic,” advises Chantal Epp, CEO of ClicknClear, which helps teams in performance sports (like cheerleading and ice skating) to license music for their routines.

“So you do need to have an honest and open conversation with labels and publishers and just be really clear on what it is that you’re doing and how you’re going to target that market.”

Meanwhile, Tom Nield, co-founder of location-based marketing startup Landmrk, thinks it’s crucial for startups to understand who’s who within music companies, and to target their efforts accordingly.

“You have to find the champions. You have to find those people who will work with you, who will take a slight risk for the benefit of doing something exciting. A lot of the times those people find us as well, or have found us,” he says.

You can watch the full startups video above, while the other videos in the Music & Tech Springboard series are linked to 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 springboard@bpi.co.uk with your suggestions. We will collate and publish a FAQ document to accompany the series later in the year.

bpi music ally springboard

Introduction
BPI CEO Geoff Taylor and Music Ally CEO Paul Brindley introduce the Springboard series and offer some tips for startups.

Labels
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.

Legal
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.

Licensing
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.

Advisors
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.

Media
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.

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.

Music Ally

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