[Startup Nomad] Now is the Time for Artists to Follow Fans, JJS Media

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Startup Nomad 2013 is a three month long global accelerator program organized by The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning and The National IT Industry Promotion Agency, and hosted by VentureSquare in collaboration with Plug&Play.
The Startup Nomad teams plan to leave in early November for Silicon Valley to participate in an acceleration program at Plug&Play Tech Center. Each team will undergo intensive mentoring and coaching to equip them with the tools to enter the global market. There will also be an opportunity to showcase the startup to local investors in the USA, and upon return to Korea, a Demo Day will be held on Dec 11th.
VentureSquare has taken this opportunity to hear about the global strategy and the expectations of each team waiting aboard on ‘Startup Nomad’ global accelerator program in Silicon Valley.

JJS Media, which has developed ‘Mironi’, a music-oriented social network service, is a startup specialized in the music industry. Based on the experience from ‘Mironi’, MyMusicTaste, the web and mobile based social platform has been born. The service is for music fans to invite their favorite artists to their own turf for a reasonable budget.

What was the hardest part in doing a music-oriented service?

It is hard for a startup to put together all the distribution rights of music sources because it would cost lots of money. Big companies which have distribution rights don’t want another distribution channels to come up. Even big companies such as Naver music use a music source database from Mnet. There are a few such as LOEN Entertainment, CJ and KT, which distribute the music source on their own.  Business on music source is hard to get for a startup. So, we naturally turn to another niche. It was the concert market.

It is known that MyMusicTaste originated from the concert-related function of Mironi, the music-oriented social network service.

The music sharing experience, what music my friends listen to, what message has been left after listening the music, is the key to Mironi service. Another key was the concert recommendation function. This function is supposed to provide music fans with concert information that matches the music they often listen to.

For now, Mironi and MyMusicTaste are operated respectively. The two services, however, will be converged at the point of a music streaming service from Mironi and concert planning and ticketing service from MyMusicTaste put together.

What problem is MyMusicTaste trying to solve in music market?

As you can see, these days thousands of fans come out for various music concerts, the demand for joining their favorite artists’ concerts is enormous. Recently in Korea, large music festivals were held in a row, the market demand was eminent.

Last week, one of the festivals was cancelled all of a sudden. The music festival that featured lots of great hiphop artists got stuck because the CEO of the concert agency ran away with the contract fee. In Singapore, ‘1 World Music Festival’ was cancelled for a similar reason, and flight tickets and hotels for the fans were cancelled accordingly. The financial burden naturally comes back to fans. JJS Media wanted to fix this situation.

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Taking a deep look into the market, we have found out that money, artists, and places were the major issues for a concert to take place. Sometimes, tickets are overpriced to guarantee the profit of the agency. Hosting a concert is like gambling in Korea. You don’t know how many fans will be coming out for the concert. So, the agency falls for the-more-popular-artist, the-safer-profit circle. To attract more fans, concert agencies spend too much to invite more popular artist. The problem is that even with popular artists, you still can’t be sure how many fans will come out.

If you put the ‘fan’ in as a variable, the scenes would change. For instance, I love Coldplay, the rock band. They have never visited Korea before. As a fan of Coldplay, I’m willing to pay $50. If I can collect a half a million dollars from 10,000 like-minded fans, we can invite Coldplay to Korea with the fund. This is because you have the money to host the concert and the fans to join it.

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The artist is taken care of, now the venue is another variable to be considered. Let’s say one music band takes a tour to 5 cities, you can gather information on which cities you can target through the vote from the users at MyMusicTaste. Fans are able to choose their nearest cities for artists to come.

I wonder how you are going out to the global market with MyMusicTaste.

Nonetheless we are not doing any particular overseas marketing, and there are already many international users who use our service. An impressive case was LUNAFLY, a boy band in South Korea. As you can see on our application, many fans in Argentina, Venezuela, and Tunisia are requesting their performance in each country.

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Being a small band yet, LUNAFLY cannot afford a large-scaled concert, but as fans in Tunisia really wanted to see them, they contacted the Korean Embassy in Tunisia to invite LUNAFLY, so finally they flew to Tunisia last year to join a K-Pop event there.

Having been found through MyMusicTaste, we let the LUNAFLY’s management company know that there is a demand for LUNAFLY’s performance in South American locations such as Venezuela.

‘We’ll go anywhere you want us’ LUNAFLY on MyMusicTaste’s YouTube channel

Other entertainment companies mostly relied on the analysis of YouTube replays or Google Trends, but you will find it very different when you compare them with the fans’ demand through the MyMusicTaste service. Demand for concerts is precious data, and we hope that we will reduce uncertainties in the concert market by collecting it.

What is the strength of MyMusicTaste in the global market?

People overseas also started talking about a concert request platform via crowd-funding. Since we are based in Korea, our strength is that we can send K-Pop artists to other countries as we take a request. We are planning to enlarge the Korean artist pool until 2014 and focus on their overseas expansion. Then from 2014, we will invite foreign artists to Korea and ultimately pursue to become an online concert open market to connect artists globally from one point to another regardless of their nationalities.

Second, we also have a function called ‘Maker’s Note’ by which people build up their own community. Through this service, fans can communicate among themselves and plan an artist’s performance beforehand to appeal it to the artist. We are also considering adding another game-like function such as joint requests. For example, let’s say the majority of a certain performance is female fans, and we’ll give them a reward if they gather 500 male fans as a quest. Of course, the biggest reward is that you can see an artist’s performance in a city you live, and it may be possible that people can see MyMusicTaste user names on a movie-like ending credit with the section ‘fans who contributed to bringing this concert to us’.

What is your goal in Silicon Valley by participating Startup Nomad?

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Left: Hazel Yu, Global Business Development Manager/ Right: Jaeseok Ethan Lee, CEO

We want to build a network with musicians and music-related startups by participating music festival in San Francisco. We also want to get feedback on our service and do some research as to whether there is a company that provides a similar service in Silicon Valley. We have high expectations for this program because we believe that we can learn many things from where the best music industry exists.

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