midemblog: What would you say is the one unique quality you bring to the Midemlab jury?
Hugh McIntyre: I am looking at almost every aspect of the music industry every day, and not just one small part. I write about everything that touches music, both from an outsider’s perspective and from someone who knows the industry.
> What are the best ways for a music startup to stand out today?
A music startup needs to stand out by doing well, and that’s tough. A lot of people get into this with grand ideas about changing everything, but I think it’s really about focusing solely on one issue, doing it well, and proving worth and viability before moving on to other things and expanding.
> What is your one biggest concern about the music industry today? How can technology address that concern?
My biggest concern is that while the industry is transitioning from sales to streaming, there is essentially no profit being made, even by the biggest companies. I’m worried that some of them will fold, and once that happens, the industry will really be in chaos.
> What advice would you give to startups submitting for Midemlab 2016?
Be specific about what you want to address and how you will be useful, and make sure everybody understands that this is something where some money can be made. It doesn’t need to be industry-altering or the next thing that will make you a billionaire. I’d rather see a company that’s able to survive for ten years making a few million a year than a huge risk that will likely fail.
> If you created a startup in the music industry right now, what would it be?
I would make a product that looked at lists online-set lists for shows, bills for festivals, best of lists from blogs and magazines and the like-and picked out specific songs from those artists. This way, when you’re going to a festival of looking at a lineup, you can begin discovering the acts you don’t know or get a sense of what kind of crowd this will be without spending a lot of time searching. It’s specific, but would be very helpful.
Freelance music journalist Hugh McIntyre is part of this year’s Midemlab jury. Find out more about Midem’s startup competition – including how to apply – here