John Acquaviva is an Italo-Canadian DJ/Producer and electronic music entrepreneur. By day, he works at Plus8 Equity Partners, a fund for innovative music technology companies which he co-founded with Richie Hawtin; and by night, he continues his illustrious DJ career. This year, he will be part of the Midemlab experience as a jury member! Enjoy this interview with John Acquaviva, Midemlab 2018’s jury member, the second in a series of interviews with Midem’s startup competition’s panel of experts.
midemlab: What is the unique quality you will bring to the Midemlab jury?
We have been in the music business for life and started before it was even cool. So I would like to think we bring a depth, perspective and understanding of where we come from and also where we need to go as an industry.
> What are the best ways for a music startup to stand out today?
For us, it starts with dynamic and engaging people. Then, is there an idea present that improves our world at least incrementally or in a profound way?
> What is your biggest concern about the music industry today? How can technology address that concern?
The industry has been turning a corner where it is paying our record monies with digital sales leading the way. We are still slowed down and sometimes bogged down with antiquated rules and regulations especially with copyright and publishing. This held music back considerably in the first wave of internet compared to many other industries. Technology can help move it forward, however many startups are not fully aware of the past, and like all things if you don’t know your history, you are sometimes doomed to make the same mistakes. We work hard to reconcile the two when we participate in conferences and as investors.
> What advice would you give to startups submitting for Midemlab 2018?
We live in a capitalist world. Please don’t come selling only a dream which is like buying a lottery ticket. Almost no-one wins, and I personally don’t play the lottery. Please have a sense of how this will work in the world with regards to ultimately adding value to the music ecosystem. Revenues are not a bad thing, so be prepared to explain why you need money, what your product/brand will build and how it will ultimately create value for the business, your workers, investors and the industry.
> If you had to create a startup in the music industry right now, what would it be?
I will answer this hypothetical question in that I think that we need to modernise our outdated music system of copyrights and publishing. Some companies are trying to address this. I would certainly throw my hat into this ring. However, we are happy as a fund to invest in a portfolio of companies to better succeed and participate on many fronts. That is the reality for me. Looking forward to coming to Cannes and participating at Midemlab!