What Artists Can Learn from Startups

First Thoughts

Lately, as I’ve been changing parts of my pitch to artists, I’ve been referencing things I never thought would be applicable in such a way. Whereas it’s common to reference other music services and discuss how things can be done differently—what voids still have yet to be filled—it’s less common to discuss companies with seemingly no great musical focus.

Recently though, I’ve referenced names like Mattermark, Harry Stebbings’ The Twenty Minute VC podcast, Eric Willis’ StartupTV snapchat channel,Startup Study Group, and others because these types of things can help artists begin to think about themselves as something more than just creative minds. They can—and need—to start thinking of themselves as business people too. As startup founders of sorts.

I spoke with an artist just yesterday and referenced Product Hunt within the context of building a community. Everyone in music talks about fanbases, but the discussion usually centers around collecting people who are likely to enjoy your music. I use PH as an example in pitches because it provides a good litmus test for how a collective—be it a startup company or band—can capture me as a loyal user and evangelist despite the fact that I was never much of a tech person before.

Imagine my surprise when this artist—whom I’ve known for years and has never been heavily into tech—said that he was familiar with PH because he loves to listen to Tim Ferriss and finds a lot of his material in the podcast section. Here is exactly the approachable quality about the aforementioned entities that artists need to start employing.

Music needs to be expansive in its thought and practice. Hyper-curation is great for a lot of things, but in music, it can sometimes become a drag on potential growth. Hyper-locality is great when you want to see bars and shops near you, but not when you want to break out of the ecosystem in which you already exist. The music-streaming wars may already be drawing to a close, but the music-community wars are just gearing up.

It’s going to be an interesting next few years.

More to come on this soon.

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