You guys launched at SXSW last year.
That’s correct, yeah. So 2010, in March, that’s where we launched. I was designing the idea and the concept for a really long time while I was managing bands. Throughout that period, I came up with different ideas of how it could look and feel if we could build something. And then once I found a few engineers out here in San Francisco that believed in the idea and had the ability to build what we were looking at building, it was a number of months. But when you think about that too, we were working from our couches and from the living room. We all believed really strongly in the idea, so it would be like 80-hour, 90-hour weeks where we would sleep on the couch and then get back up and just start coding again.
When you guys did actually do the roll-out at SXSW, how did it go? Were there any major problems?
At SX, I literally had a wooden pole stick, and at the top of the stick I had a poster that said “Music On Facebook,” and then there was an image of what BandPage looked like at that time, and I was just going up and down the street, on the street corner, talking to everybody. “Hey, yo, check this out. It’s real. You know, we did this thing. You should use it.”
I know that you said you’re having meetings today and can’t divulge too much about them, but is there anything that you can share as far as RootMusic’s plans for the remainder of the year?
In year two, you can expect us to provide a lot of real tangible value. We really offered up great promotional, marketing and distribution value on Facebook: being where the fans are, allowing you to promote yourself, play your songs, show your upcoming gigs. But we just had an integration last week with Topspin, so now you can actually sell merchandise directly from the BandPage and your fans can make a transaction right within Facebook without having to leave.
Do you have any tips for people looking to launch any kind of music-centered startup?
Absolutely. I would just say start. A lot of times, people get hung up on trying to plan and think about how they’re going to build it and what they’re going do. If it’s a tech startup, it’s very valuable to be in a tech world, so San Francisco is a great place to be, but there are a few other places in the country that you can be to do that. But really, the reason I moved to San Francisco was because of all the resources immediately that were available here. Just make sure you come from a music perspective, make sure that you are providing a real solution. It’s not just about starting up a company and trying to make money. It’s providing real solutions for musicians or for fans around the world. You can’t build a business off of perceived value; it’s got to be tangible value.