For its tenth anniversary edition, Midemlab, Midem’s ever-pioneering startup competition, has lined up a stellar jury to assess tomorrow’s biggest music companies looking to follow in the footsteps of Soundcloud, Kickstarter, The Next Big Sound and countless more. In this, the first in a series of interviews with Midemlab 2017’s jury members, we speak to Andre Stapleton, Partner, Development & Global Digital Business at Sony Music Entertainment. Welcome, Andre!

midemblog: What is the unique quality you will bring to the Midemlab jury?

Andre Stapleton: I have worked in business development at a major record label for over a decade, and have been privileged enough to attend pitches from a wide and diverse range of companies during this time; many of which actually resulted in deals. As a result I think (or hope!) I’ve developed a reasonable instinct for what is realistic and what might have a chance of success.

> What are the best ways for a music startup to stand out today?

Having a strong team with good pedigree and connections; financing if possible; and, of course, a terrific idea!

> What is your biggest concern about the music industry today? How can technology address that concern?

Coming from the recorded music side of the business, my biggest concern remains the scaling of the paid subscription business. Technology really created that opportunity through the amazing devices and astounding music services we have become accustomed to over recent years, and the incredible innovation that continues to enrich these experiences (both in and off platform) provides a major incentive for users to get their wallets out and pay.

> What advice would you give to startups submitting for Midemlab 2017?

Be realistic about the business model! The music space has been an infamously difficult one in which to survive financially across many areas of the industry – so a healthy dose of realism is always a good thing, especially when thinking of attracting investors etc.

> If you had to create a startup in the music industry right now, what would it be?

This is an incredible time, because new technologies are creating so many new opportunities for startups with music applications. From AR and VR to AI to Big Data, we are facing new and totally unforeseen (up to a few years ago) possibilities. But one interesting area that still stands out to me is the use of music as a communication tool – across messaging services, social networks etc. There have been a number of attempts in the space, but with iOS10 plus the emergence of bots, it feels as though there may be an opportunity for that killer product and business model.

Find out more about Midemlab — and submit your startup — here!

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