In an era of one-stop shopping and social networking, why shouldn't the music business have a place where the industry connects with startups?
The Music Startup Network is just such a place. A recent creation of the Music Business Association, also known as Music Biz and formerly known as NARM, the Music Startup Network is an easy-to-use, well-designed tool that helps music startups connect with the companies needed to know when starting a business.
The goal is to create a better ecosystem in which music startups operate, says Bill Wilson, VP of digital strategy and business development for Music Biz. "It's like an AngelList for music startups," Wilson says in reference to the online platform that brings together startups and investors.
The Music Startup Network has grown from the Music Startup Academy, a suite of tools designed to help educate and encourage startups working in the music business. Music Startup Academy provides developers with basic knowledge of the music business -- from rights owners to royalties -- needed to operate a legal digital music service. A series of educations sessions held around the country launched in 2011. An API directory debuted the following year.
The Music Startup Network continues previous efforts to foster a better music startup community. Wilson says the service was born from his learning of the due diligence companies do when engaging with startups. Startups are asked to provide a variety of information, such as what they are seeking (e.g. licenses, relationships, mentoring), describe their service or product and explain the problem being solved (e.g. simplify the process of attaching music to photos or videos). They're asked about the size of their companies, funding they have raised and types of APIs used.
Qualified industry professionals -- management companies, record labels and music publishers that "have skin in the game," Wilson explains -- can access a wealth of knowledge at Music Startup Network. The dashboard allows for search by date a profile was created (to see the most recent additions to the network) and other variables. Other features mimic e-commerce sites: users can assign a rating of one to five stars and save a startup on a list of favorites.
The service currently has about 70 startups with more signing up all the time, Wilson says. "Some of these businesses may fail, some will scale. We need to provide them with the tools they need to succeed."