Brenden Mulligan’s Starting A Music Startup Series

image from media.linkedin.com This post is part of the Starting a Music Startup series by Brenden Mulligan, which focuses on building a company that creates online products for musicians. Mulligan founded ArtistData, which was recently acquired by Sonicbids, and can be found on Twitter at @bmull.

image from static.businessinsider.com

For the first post, I just wanted to lay out how this series will be structured. Of course, I'm hoping that the series grows with comments and input from everyone else, so it might not take this exact path.

This series is written to people who are starting music companies that plan to offer a service to musicians. It's what ArtistData has done over the past few years. This particular series isn't as relevant for people launching music startups aimed at music fans (for example, Pandora).

This series will be broken into 3 parts:

  1. Foundational Metrics: In order to build a company, it's important to understand some of the key metrics around the eco-system. These are things you might typically see in a business plan. Metrics like market size, willingness to pay, and exit potential.
  2. Value Approaches: We'll look at some different approaches to take when offering something to the artist market. We'll also explore how companies are doing with these approaches now.
  3. Individual Topics requested by you: This part is all you guys. You tell me what you want to know. I'm a pretty open person (most ArtistData users will tell you that) so I'm happy to share whatever. Just ask and we'll see if it can turn into a topic.

I'm excited to get this rolling. Please leave any thoughts in the comments on what you want to see included in this series!

Share on:


  1. Very excited for this series.
    One topic of discussion which would could be fruitful is how a music startup can best define itself and target its core artists in a market which is becoming more and more saturated every day with startups, many of whom offer very similar services.
    Looking forward to the first part of the series.

  2. really looking forward to this, particularly understanding how many musicians are available for such a service to target, and how much they’d pay!

  3. Will we learn how to exploit free third party services and find a way to charge people for using them, like Artist Data does?

  4. Going through the process now and I have to say kudos to whoever came up with this idea. Look forward to reading the advice and sharing my own experiences as they relate.

  5. Great idea, really looking forward to it. I’m especially interested in that first section. Might have some questions and topic ideas as the series progresses.

  6. Brenden,
    Before I ‘look forward to the series’, I’d like to understand your credentials for leading this discussion.
    1. Was Artist Data ever cash-flow break or profitable?
    2. How many paying customers did it have?
    3. What was the selling price?
    4. What was the return for your arms-length investors?
    You get my point. Nothing turns me off more than the thought of taking advice from someone who wasn’t actually successful. I’m NOT saying that you weren’t successful. Only that we don’t know. And the rumors I’ve heard are that Artist Data wasn’t going to make it on its own (tried to get people to pay but they wouldn’t) and that you sold it basically to land a job, um, at Sonicbids (which doesn’t say a lot about your prospects). Hope those rumors are not true.
    Anyway, here is your invitation to dispel those rumors and set the record straight about, well, your record as an entrepreneur. Please enlighten us with some truth about your credentials to lead this discussion. We all deserve it before we invest in following this thread. Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely interested, just don’t have time for posers (which I hope you are not, but you need to prove with real data).
    Hoping for full disclosure,

  7. What is the size of the global market of independent (or unsigned) musicians?
    Where do you find reliable stats for this market, when so many independent musicians have other occupations, and seldom belong to organizations? Plus, if they have an online presence, it is likely to be scattered around numerous different sites?

Comments are closed.