What is the story behind your company?
The idea for Music Dealers was born in 2007 when Eric Sheinkop and John Williamson, then heads of a brand consulting and artist management company called Bandit Productions, grew frustrated with their inability to pitch for more licensing opportunities via their relationship with Ira Antelis, head of music worldwide at Leo Burnett. The fundamental problem was that Bandit only represented a handful of artists, the majority of whom created similar styles of music, and despite being presented with ample opportunities from Ira, they simply didn’t have the catalog of music to compete.
Bandit’s first solution was to create a list of producers in their network and email them when they had appropriate opportunities. This approach led to a wider variety of submissions but also led to a near fatal blow when Bandit was unable to secure the rights to an existing song they submitted from an artist after Leo Burnett selected it for a television commercial. Ira was understandably angry because he had invested time and political capital in convincing his own client that this was the right song. Bandit, for its part, had been repeatedly assured by the song’s publisher that the rights were available only to have them yanked away when the artist decided he didn’t want his music associated with the client’s name. Clearly, there had to be a better way.
Ira then suggested that Bandit take a look at a company called Pump Audio, who was automating the music licensing business online. Ira was not using Pump Audio because he didn’t like the quality of the offerings in their catalog, but he felt the fundamental approach was a good one if it could be performed correctly. Thus challenged, Eric and John spent the next several months brainstorming how to do just that, and ultimately decided to launch Music Dealers.
What makes your company unique in its industry?
MusicDealers.com has blended a B2B music licensing company with a social network Site. Over the past two years, The Founders have overseen the development of smart technology for managing an unlimited number of artist relationships as well as creating a powerful music search engine to both catalog and locate unique tracks once they’re in the catalog. Music Dealers’ focus is on using the collective intelligence of crowdsourcing and social media applications to allow the team to reach further, faster and work more creatively together.
The development of a non exclusive music licensing company dedicated to serving the best interests of artists as well as Agency and Brand clients simultaneously threatens the previously accepted standards for many of the companies that either make profits from artists desire to find licensing work or companies that once had a choke hold on the music industry. Eric and his team’s determination has helped raise awareness for a number of great artists in every corner of the globe and is attracting a international pool of serious music talent with songs that are being heard in many major Ad campaigns as well as the most popular television programs, such as HBO’s True Blood to FX’s Justified. The company’s song catalog now boasts over 6000 pre-screened artists and caters to a client list that reads like “Who’s Who” of licensees. This in turn has attracted the attention of major brands such as Coke as well as Kraft who work with Music Dealers to develop new ideas uniquely integrating the consumer experience.
Future plans for the company?
Music Dealers is well-positioned to compete to become one of the top one or two companies in the marketplace. If successful, this could result in a much larger piece of the pie as the market continues to move online and consolidate.
The Music Dealers catalog also has the potential to generate revenues and profits in a number of other ways that are not included in the projections including those that cater to consumers. For example: Music Dealers could create a “Pandora” style consumer business that is focused on undiscovered music (instead of the established music used by Pandora). The basic idea is that consumers could create streaming play lists using Music Dealers’ catalog and sophisticated filtering system (which could be as broad as “genre” or as narrow as specific terms for each of the fifty or so fields available). Besides competing in an area of relative strength (undiscovered artists), Music Dealers could have another important advantage over Pandora in that users could even choose the exact songs they want to listen to and would not have any of the restrictions on skipping songs, etc. that Pandora was forced to implement in order to be allowed use of the music in their service. Like Pandora, Music Dealers could make money by selling ads (video, audio, or graphical), which it would share with the artists. Other significant potential upside comes from:
• Subscription-based in-store radio service (similar to Muzak)
• Partnerships to sell downloads to consumers
• Turning webisode promo show into an actual television production
• Ebay-style product placement engine using the end-user/music creator relationship in reverse
• Booking live acts by including venues into artist network (similar to “Sonic Bids”) – would provide advertising revenues in addition to the booking fees
• Brokering publishing rights for top unsigned artists to publishing companies
Founders and Ages:
Eric Sheinkop, CEO 27
John Williamson, Director of Ops. 30
Jonathan Sheinkop, Exec.Chairman 41
Help answer their questions!
Question 1: hiring strong sales people
Question 2: developing strategic alliances that work
Question 3: hiring strong sales people