midemblog: What would you say is the one unique quality you bring to the Midemlab jury?
Mike Herring: I’ve worked with a number of Internet companies with varied business models and that experience helps me understand the choke points and what makes or breaks a business model. Additionally, my time at Pandora has given me a deep understanding of music business economics. This combination can help turn a creative idea into a real business.
> What are the best ways for a music startup to stand out today?
Starting with a clear idea of how a customer problem is being solved and/or how a pain point is being addressed is critical. It’s not trying to be all things to all people.
> What is your one biggest concern about the music industry today? How can technology address that concern?
We talk about technology as being “disruptive” and this is true in that it has the power to force an entire industry to evolve or adapt. In the case of music, the move to digital has led to dwindling revenue streams in terms of physical sales but an enormous opportunity to leverage data and the scale of services like Pandora to grow other revenue streams from live events, touring, merchandise and brand partnerships.
> What advice would you give to startups submitting for Midemlab 2016?
The ability to describe your company, your opportunity and go-to-market plan succinctly — in less than a minute, really — demonstrates clarity and focus which, as I mentioned earlier, is critical for success.
> If you had to create a startup in the music industry right now, what would it be?
It exists in some forms today, but some combination of a Shazam/Snapchat for music that harnesses the social connections music engenders, while fairly compensating artists. Nobody’s seemed to really crack the code on this yet.
Mike Herring, president & CFO of Pandora, is part of the jury of Midemlab. Find out more about Midem’s startup competition here