One of the digital music world’s veterans is Jason ‘J’ Herskowitz – previously at Tomahawk, Spotify, other music and/or tech firms, and currently at SeatGeek, who offered some startup advice on his Twitter thread.
“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; to get licensing sorted early.
It’s a valuable thread.