Universal Music Group Announces New Accelerator Network
When it comes to talent scouting you may think Universal Music Group, one of the big three record labels, is just looking for artist. That may be true in their A&R department but, Tuhin Roy, Vice President of New Digital Business at UMG is looking for startups and startup accelerators.
There was a time when digital technology was the arch nemesis to the traditional music industry. Many of us remember when Napster shook up the music industry by giving their music away. Later came iTunes and Spotify, great new models for the consumer, but models that drastically changed the economics of the music industry. Now, Mashable reports, that we are turning a corner.
When we think music startups the obvious goto companies are the Spotifys and Pandora’s of the world but their are other startups that could bring value to the music industry now like Musistic, LANDR, and even LISNR. Startups that can help with music consumption, production, promotion and sales are all things that Roy and his counterparts at other labels are examining every day.
Music industry heads are as common to find at accelerator demo days as venture capitalists and seed stage investors. They want to see the newest technologies at the earliest possible time to get a competitive advantage, much like signing artists.
There are music startup accelerators popping up, like Project Music at the Entrepreneur Center in Nashville. With Nashville’s deep roots in music and startups it’s a natural combination proving some really interesting startups.
Roy wants to go beyond that though and get access to startups as soon as possible. To do that he and Universal are eager to help with mentoring, cultivating meetings and even beta testing. That’s why on Monday, Universal announced their Accelerator Network.
Through the Universal Music Group Accelerator Network, the company will partner with startup accelerators to identify great music startups as early as the application process. Universal will lend their expertise and mentorship to founders with music focused startups.
Plug and Play, LeanSquare and NYC Media Lab were the first three accelerator partners announced. Roy told Mashable that they hope to have a total of 10 accelerator partners in the network.
“They’re willing to help startups in ways that can be very crucial to them to get their ideas validated, and I think that’s one of the things we’re going to see here with Universal Music Group,” Justin Hendrix, Executive Director of NYC Media Lab told Mashable.
Through these partnerships accelerators may take a second look at a music startup idea over another technology because they know they will have the support from Universal. The message of innovation in the music industry hasn’t fallen on deaf ears when it comes to Roy (see what I did there), he realizes that partnering with accelerators and startups has just as much benefit to Universal as it does for the startups.
“There’s a reverse learning process for us. We actually learn as we engage in these startups how they view the business which is maybe a view for where things are heading,” Roy told Mashable.