Jonas Tempel, the former CEO of Beatport, has written a stirring open-letter about his time with the troubled digital music platform, and offered guidance on how its leaders might navigate the challenges ahead.
Tempel, who worked with the dance-music specialist business from 2002-2010 and currently serves as chairman of Factory Design Labs and Moody Recordings, says he felt moved to share his thoughts “on the current situation” with Beatport, which has undergone some drastic changes under its parent, SFX.
The exec reminisced about the company’s pioneering work servicing the electronic dance music community in a pre-iTunes era, and the “explosion” of the dance culture. “From 2004 until my exit in 2010, there was never a period where sales did not continue to grow. However, by 2010, we had an emerging problem,” he explained. “We had grown so successfully in our first few years that we were running out of new customers and in need of a broader vision. This change in our velocity was making our historically supportive group of investors anxious and looking for answers and adding a new pressure to sell the company while it was still growing. On top of everything else we had become internally fractured between the founders and that toxic vibe was infecting the company. The same passion that united us to build such an amazing brand was now killing it.”
He said he resigned “in anger and frustration” but said he remains “just as passionate” about Beatport as the day it was founded.
To it new owners, Tempel suggested a three big-picture strategic suggestions to restore Beatport’s place in the electronic music ecosystem: Refocus the business model, fix the brand and fix the experience. They’re “broad ideas that require investment, leadership, and innovative thinking,” Tempel conceded.
The exec’s message comes after the announcement Beatport would shut down its music and video streaming platforms, its mobile app, its Beatport News section and its Events vertical, according to a statement posted to the company’s website. The site will return its focus to the Beatport Store, which has been in operation for 12 years. SFX Entertainment had entertained plans to auction off the service it acquired for $50 million in 2013 amid a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. Bids for that auction were originally due April 25, but a delay in proceedings extended that date until May 3 with a winner set to be announced May 26. That auction has now been suspended, according to Beatport’s statement, though the company says it plans to continue considering offers.
“We all share a love for this brand,” Tempel concluded, “and fixing the weak spots makes sense for the industry.”
Read the open-letter here in full.