Music Business

Music Tech “Pre-Accelerator” Music Foundry Launches In LA

Attic-studio-mo-riza-flickrWhile we used to hear a lot about incubators and now we tend to hear more about accelerators there are a variety of educational programs designed to prepare companies seeking investors to get in the game. Music Foundry is one of those eductional pre-accelerators that helps those interested in learning more about the music industry on their way to a minimum viable product.

The Music Foundry was founded by Corey Crossfield and Marc Saltzman.

The program supports music tech entrepreneurs over the course of 8 weeks with a weekly 3 hour class. The program fee is $150:

"We will focus on helping teams through mentor sessions, weekly tasks and group lectures we will help teams, develop a business strategy and plan specific to their music industry vertical, a minimal viable product and skills necessary to help their companies."

You can see an outline of the curriculum here.

Applications are now being accepted for the first group which will convene at Blank Spaces.

But What About "Industry Skepticism?"

The LA Business Journal ran a piece on The Music Foundry emphasizing "abiding skepticism about music tech investments." (via Solveig Whittle).

But when you start examining said skepticism you get claims that stories like the failure of made "potential investors tune out music tech pitches."

Which is a bit odd when you're talking about an investment scene in which the majority of companies in which one invests are expected to either fail outright or to not make enough money to keep VCs and other investors going.

When you look more closely you realize that the real problem is not failures but two things:

  • The difficulty in building a profitable business that relies on licensed music.
  • The inability of many investors to recognize that not all music tech startups require such licensing.

I've gradually been building up small anecdotes and data points about this issue. My favorite example remains one in which a really smart founder at a leading tech accelerator found himself in a conversation with an investor who never invests in music tech startups due to licensing issues yet could not comprehend that the app at which they were looking, which provided such features as concert recommendations, did not require music licensing.

Being told otherwise didn't affect his assumptions at all. Brick wall consciousness.

So there is skepticism which has to be addressed but unfortunately it's facing the weight of VC's herd mentality which is compounded by the tendency of many founders around the world to start similar companies in the music tech space leading to an inevitable trail of failures.

How Will The Music Foundry Respond?

Both Corey Crossfield and Marc Saltzman told the LA Business Journal that music tech startups include numerous successful exits. And Saltzman stated that: "Our goal is to showcase other companies beyond music distribution and consumption."

Of course by exits we're talking about events where early investors make their money cause they're not looking to establish anything long-term. So why look down at an industry vertical that includes the $3 billion acquisition of Beats Music and the IPO of Pandora?

That said there are a lot of other options in the music tech space. Perhaps some emphasis might be placed on education for investors and how to explain to investors that "music tech" doesn't just mean music streaming or licensing.

The co-founders are hoping to launch a full-scale accelerator sometime next year. That would likely include initial funding, a fully immersive environment and help getting to know investors.

[Attic Studio pic courtesy Mo Riza.]


Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) recently launched DanceLand. Send news about music tech startups and services, DIY music biz and music marketing to: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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