Jason ‘J’ Herskowitz is a true veteran of the digital music world: currently at SeatGeek, and previously of Spotify, Tomahawk and other music/tech firms. His Twitter thread offering his advice to newer startups is thus drawn from useful experience.
“Music is not “inherently social” – it is just as often anti-social. The number of people that care about what you listen to is very small – and very short lived,” wrote Herskowitz, adding that “discovery is not a viable product” (as a standalone service, he means).
There are also some thoughts on the meeting of startups and music companies. “There are very smart people at all of the organizations you claim ‘just don’t get it’ – they get it, it’s just they have different incentives. Middlemen are not inherently evil – they are desired if they can provide more value than they extract.”
Herskowitz advised startups that understanding and finding ways to align these incentives “is everything”, before delivering more views on the need for DIY artist tools startups to make sure those can grow to support bigger teams; to “learn about the music publishing side of the business” including how songwriters and producers work and make money; to learn about why past startups failed; and to get licensing sorted early. It’s a valuable thread.