I've started blogging for the Harvard Business online about my new venture, Jamseed. Here's the "story so far" section as a teaser.
This blog chronicles the trials and tribulations of three longtime friends who are trying to start an Internet music company called Jamseed. All three have day jobs, all have failed in the past with new ventures, and all hope that this company will bring them entrepreneurial redemption.
The partners in this venture are Jack (52), Rich (40), and David (40). Start-Up Diaries chronicles their experiences from David’s point of view.
Jamseed is for musicians who have fans, but not enough exposure to get a record deal. The idea is to combine online social networks with the ageless music-business activity of “passing the hat.” Consumers can buy music directly from the site but also demonstrate their support for the bands' development efforts in other ways (including "giving gifts"). Fans receive recognition for this support with both virtual (listing online) and real (VIP passes, etc.) rewards. It is, the founders' hope, a new model for emerging performers -- one that is not tied to the cumbersome structures and royalty models that have lost relevance in the online world. As record stores close and major labels try to sue 12-year olds to stop file sharing, hundreds of new ventures are starting to solve the problem. It's a big dream, but Jamseed hopes to directly tie the consumer's enthusiasm for the artist's work the compensation an artist receives. (Consider Radiohead's much publicized decision to allow fans to pay whatever they wanted for the band's last release as a part of this model as well.)
Jack had the original idea for Jamseed, Rich helps with financial and operational advice, and David is trying to put it all together with the help of a shifting gang of programmers, PR folks, music industry pros, potential investors, and college students. Jack had the idea in 1998, but development of an alpha version began in earnest in 2008.