by Sudhir Ahluwalia | Negosentro.com |
The crowds of fans to a music fest go berserk with joy when they watch a live performance of their favorite artist. Many fans themselves are musicians and singers. They draw inspiration from these performances. They adulate the performers. Some aspire to take their place in the future. But just like book best sellers, top performer numbers are few.
There are millions of compositions available on the internet. The consumer is spoilt for choice. Search, though, is often restricted to top numbers who not just have great content but have marketed themselves well. A lot of great music continues to lie undiscovered, unseen and unheard. One could maybe say that it is tougher for a musician and artist, when compared to a writer, to succeed.
The music industry is huge. It will reach $15 billion this year 2016 (IFPI, 2016). Digital revenues account for forty five percent of total revenues when compared to 39 percent for physical sales. Live performances and events are often the mainstay of revenue for artists with music labels digitally accessible to fans for free.
Given the size of the industry, clearly a business opportunity in music exists for individuals. How many are able to leverage this opportunity is dependent on a number of factors many of them are common to other businesses. They relate to business strategy, business process, brand building and marketing.
In a world where content is king and technology is disrupting every aspect of life and society, I was curious to know how the music industry was coping with this change. I spoke to Riccardo Torriani Founder of a startup focusing on music and artists. Torriani has named his venture Internet of Artists. He has incorporated the company in the UK, one of the world’s largest music market.
Unlike a writer, a musician and artists requires a complete ecosystem. To start with musicians need a place to practice. “Music rehearsal can be quite noisy and neighbors would hate a musician practicing at home.” Ricardo explained.
The Internet of Artists is an end to end platform for musicians, fans and artists. Riccardo has phased the roll out of his venture. The first module is being rolled out in October 2016. Final touches pre-launch are underway. This module enables access to artists and musicians a full complement of music ecosystem. They have called this module – MyM Vision.
Through this module artists and musicians will be able to get access to recording studios, rehearsing locations, performance venues like pubs and restaurants as well as music training schools. Registration to the module is free. Musicians and artists will be able to upload a demo reel of their work.
Musicians hunt for an appropriate venue for rehearsing, recording and playing and this is often both time taking and frustrating. Now they will be able to book and use this infrastructure through MyM. Music schools too will be listing on the platform.
Unlike other tech startups, Internet of Artists is a brick and mortar facilities provider. Ricardo, himself a musician and music lover has used his hands on experience in music making while designing the portfolio of services on offer on MyM. The system is designed to be meritocratic. Fans, consumers of music infrastructure will be able to rate each service and make their independent choices.
As the first module MyM Vision rolls out work on the second module that has been named MYM Labs will be put in motion. A full range of devices will be provided here. This includes cameras, sensors, tools for interaction, streaming music boxes, cross- media applications, augmented reality modules for promotion and streaming. Riccardo intends to provide the state of the art equipment to the art ecosystem under this module.
The final stage in the development of a full ecosystem for artists will be launch of MyM Venue. No date is as yet set for the launch of this module. As the name suggests, through this module artists will be able to gain access to venues. These are planned to set up in the UK, Europe, US and Japan.
The Internet of Artists was incorporated in the UK in September 2015. In one year, the company has growth and was said to have a staff of 20 people. The Founders bootstrapped the investment with their own funds to kick start the venture. A first round of funding has been secured and a second round is under closure. The venture is clearly getting a thumps up from investors.
I found the Internet of Artists concept, from the artist standpoint interesting. There was a need for a platform where all complements of music making and display can become available. As the system rolls out this will become a reality.
Another challenge for an artist and musician is discovery. There is so much content available on the internet, the choice is so overwhelming that it becomes difficult for fans and music lovers to sift through this mountain of content. Of course, things will become easier as analytics and artificial intelligence tools become better.
Going forward, if the startup, can support its members with digital marketing support, this can then emerge, truly, as an end to end service platform. The way the music marketplace is conceptualized and service quality is good, music lovers and artists should flock in to register.
The challenge will be discoverability and marketing. One of the Founders is an expert in digital strategy and marketing and his role will be critical. It is an interesting innovation in the field of music and art and will be good to keep a track of its performance as we go along.
Sudhir Ahluwalia is a business consultant. He has been management consulting head of Asia’s largest IT outsourcing company Tata Consultancy Services, business advisor to multiple companies, columnist and author of upcoming book on herbs-Holy Herbs. He has been a member of the Indian Forest Service. His webpage is: www.sudhirahluwalia.com