Ryan Leslie is a US singer, songwriter, rapper and entrepreneur. His innovative approach to digital promotion — he famously features his mobile phone number at the top of his Twitter account, so fans can reach him anytime — has notably led him to found several companies, including SuperPhone and NextSelection Lifestyle Group. And his Midem 2015 session remains one of our most-watched ever! This year, he returns to Midem as part of the jury of startup competition Midemlab. Enjoy this, the third in a series of interviews with Midemlab’s panel of experts.
midemblog: What is the unique quality you bring to the Midemlab jury?
Ryan Leslie: After graduating from Harvard University with a BA in Government, I continued to pursue my passion: music. In 2005, a good friend of mine discovered a way to hack the Google search algorithm, which led to our ability to own the Myspace music chart, and enabled us to launch Cassie, the first mainstream artist powered by social media, to superstardom. This breakthrough moment was the start to my career in both music and technology. So the unique quality I bring is my insight to music and trends in technology.
> What are the best ways for a music startup to stand out today?
Master the three “P’s”: Product, Presentation, and Press.
> What is your biggest concern about the music industry today? How can technology address that concern?
Since the beginning of my career I have been (and still remain) concerned with audience ownership. Even today, most artists continue to give the responsibility of audience management & ownership to third parties who, because of their privacy agreements with users, withhold personally identifiable information about listeners and followers. Technology can bridge this gap by giving artists tools to own, analyse and visualise actionable insights around this data so that they may be more efficient in communicating with the people that support them most.
> If you had to create a startup in the music industry right now, what would it be?
I already have one – SuperPhone. We’ve built an incredible and groundbreaking product. Our job now is to inform the world what the future of messaging looks like and how it will impact the way we achieve success as a civilisation. This is the kind of explosive success that can only be fostered and accelerated by technology-enabled personal and professional relationship management.