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Musicians are like Startups

…and record labels are venture capitalists

Musicians are like Startups

…and record labels are venture capitalists


I work at a tech startup but my only talent is music. Before college graduation I spent time brushing shoulders with big players in the music industry.

How big? Like Sony, Compound Entertainment (Neyo), Jan Smith Studios (Beiber, Rob Thomas, Usher). The stories…

With all that behind me, I present a parallel:

Musicians have a one-track mind (pun intended).

They want to sing, or write, or perform. But they aren’t marketing experts. They don’t have distribution. Most don’t even have enough cash to record in a studio. And that’s where a management company or record label comes along.

In exchange for basic resources, the musician reciprocates with creative input and 25% to life.

Startups are similar.

You have a founder, or a few co-founders, with 1337 programming skills. Maybe one of them is a hustler. But they spent more time learning RoR than becoming human.

They made their software open-source because, Github. But business isn’t fair and they’re getting ripped by well-funded competition, a Federal court case, or a 15-year-old prodigy in London. Cue: venture capitalists. They’re seasoned, wealthy with resources, and have been naive tech geeks themselves.

In exchange for basic resources, the startup reciprocates with a powerful asset and a chunk of their exit.

Loophole — successful startups can ‘pay off’ investors, but musicians hemorrhage royalties even after death.

So, there’s that.