I have had the pleasure of interviewing Henry Bueno from the social marketplace for musicians named myMusicCircle that I reviewed last week. He provided some very elaborate answers, and I am very thankful for the time he devoted to this interview.
The interview will be split in two parts. This is part 1, and part 2 (“Music & You”) is right here.
Full Name: Henry M. Bueno
Position: CEO / CIO
Tell us a little about your startup. How was it conceived? What are its most distinctive features in your opinion?
myMusicCircle.com is a Service Marketplace for the Music Industry Professional; whereas music industry professionals register/create their profile and they are empowered with useful online portfolio and interactive tools, a professional image, leads and additional sources of revenue.
Currently, we are inviting all Music Industry Professionals and any creative, support, financial or managerial professionals that provide valuable services to the Music Industry to register/create their profile, upload their portfolio and set their work terms.
The birth of myMusicCircle:
My background is in computer programming and engineering, I have worked for the corporate world all of my career. A few years ago, I had an interest in recording and releasing my own recording; so I started my mission of learning about the music industry and how to get started. To my surprise, I found that even though there were many websites that promoted artists and had isolated services rendered, I could not find a one stop shop to review, explore and endulge in a variety of choices of professionals to work with in the music industry. This disappointed me and left me an impression that stayed with me until I decided to take on the project myself and provide a service marketplace of music industry professionals… fast forward to 2009 and we are now at this exciting soft launch of myMusicCircle.com
The most distinctive features of myMusicCircle are:
1. myMusicCircle.com’s Internal Feedback System
a. When a Professional and Client complete doing business (a project)… the Professional can provide positive or negative feedback for the Client and the Client can also provide positive or negative feedback for the Professional. This system is similar to the way Ebay.com allows it’s buyers and sellers to rate each other. The feedback system will create a means of mitigating bad customer service and bad product quality. Keeping a permanent feedback history online will weed out the best working professionals from the slackers and wrong-doers of the industry.
2. Our partnership with Ebay’s official secure escrow company (Escrow.com)
a. Escrow.com – will enable myMusicCircle.com to offer peace of mind to Music Industry Professionals and their clients. When using Escrow.com’s program, the client will first deposit funds for the project into escrow before the Music Professional starts to work on the project hired for. Once the Music Industry Professional completes the project, the client then approves and releases the funds to the professional. This will establish a secure means of trust between professionals and clients when doing business together online.
3. Powerful Music Industry Professional Tools
a. Multi-media Rich Portfolios
Members are allowed to:
i. upload/display Video
ii. upload/display Audio
iv. upload/display Docs
4. SMS / Text Messaging Alerts
a. The Text Message Alerts feature will empower the Music Industry Professional with the advantage of always getting immediate/instant notification of new posted work/gigs/projects within the site. Allowing them to be worry free of not having to be attached to a computer regularly. This freedom will give them the peace of mind when waiting for new work.
5. myMusicCircle Media Share
a. When a client and professional have decided to work together, there is an private hosting area that is accessed through their profile control panel that we provide them to upload and download media. It’s a central working area/repository in myMusicCircle’s servers that benefits both parties by allowing them to exchange files in one place.
What was the original launch date?
The soft launch started in July 2009
6. Referral Program
a. All members of myMusicCircle.com qualify to get $10.00 per paying referral. Once the referred member subscribes to a paid membership or does a qualifying paid transaction, the referring member instantly gets credited with $10.00 USD in their account.
What has been the response so far? In which countries has it been more successful?
With close to 500 professionals registered in just 3 weeks and the great feedback and ideas that we are getting from the professionals, we think that the site can grow exponentially. Currently our focus is the United States, but we have members joining all over the world: Italy, Poland, London, South America, the Caribbean… it’s awesome.
What features can we expect to see implemented in future revisions?
We have so many ideas and are getting many suggestions from our members, that we are embracing the development of some great tools and features; a sneak overview of some currently in development are:
1. Virtual Studio Live and Virtual Recorder
a. myMusicCircle.com’s Virtual Studio Live will allow Music Professional’s to have live face to face virtual sessions with their clients, whereas a Client could virtually see the professional interact in the studio without physically being in the Music Industry Professional’s studio. This enables the Music Professional to expand his/her market to a world wide audience and not be limited to physical studio sessions with locals only or spend thousands on travel expenses. This can also be used as an interview tool whereas clients can verify the professional is who they say they are.
b. Virtual Studio Recorder will allow the recording of video streaming feed straight into the site. This gives the Music Industry Professionals the ability to record their own “how to” videos, video greetings, video messages, recorded video sessions and opens a great deal of opportunities to be visually broadcasted.
2. myMusicCircle Profile Stores
a. Stores will enable Industry Professionals with a profile store capability; where they can brand and sell their products and ready made services instantly on their own profiles. For example; beats, songs, arrangements, service packages, contracts, studio time, etc.
There is a certain tendency to demonize the Internet in the music industry. I think it is all a matter of perspective – it all depends on the uses it is put to. What is your opinion? In which areas has the Internet left an unquestionably positive mark?
We have seen many different ideologies materialize on the internet. Many have contributed to changing the music industry, some will debate for the worse and some for the better. Whatever it may be, the way music is created and the way business of music is done is changing, may we like it or not (it is reality); so we all should work together to adapt, embrace and contribute to its growth and change. In today’s market, Music Industry Professionals may have more gigs and opportunities that in the yesteryears would have been difficult to attain and break through to attain… now it’s just about how well music industry professionals market themselves as a brand or individual franchise. In comparison to the old days where print publication, radio and television were the only way of marketing; the internet has leveled the playing field implementing various alternative methods to marketing ones services and talent.
If I could suggest something to our readers, it would be:
If you participate in the music industry, you either have a service to offer or need a service done within the music life-cycle.
Do not stand still, be active by placing your works and services online for your audience and potential clients to see. Get out there and setup shop.
What advice could you give to anybody who is launching a music-related startup in the future? What are the obvious mistakes that should be avoided?
Make sure you believe in your startup. If you believe strong enough, others will believe. Make sure you cross your T’s and dot your I’s before launching your site, anxiety is a traitor and can get the best of you, so be patient and just move forward and continue to move forward. Chances are, even if you slow down, you will get to your destination if you just keep walking and moving forward.
(Continue to Part 2)