Today I bring you a really complete interview with Jason Grunstra from JamCloud, the revolutionary service for enjoying music and videos collectively that I profiled last week on MusicKO. I sincerely thank Jason for having taken the time to answer everything so thoroughly. You can read the first part of the interview below; the second part is here.
Full Name: Jason Grunstra
Position: Co-Founder & CEO
Tell us a little about your startup. How was it conceived?
JamCloud was created as a way to harness the massive amount of media that already exists out in the cloud and collect and organize those items that you love from various content providers into one unified player.
What are its most distinctive features in your opinion? Does JamCloud lend itself to more than listening to music? Who else could benefit from it?
Overall I would say that the most distinctive thing when you first use JamCloud is really the overall app itself in that it is really intuitive, easy to use and just looks great. If I had to choose a specific feature I would probably say the discovery tools that we’ve come up with give people multiple ways to discover some really great music and videos that they may have never otherwise heard of before. Tapping into the collective knowledge of friends and peers really helps bring some hidden talent to the surface.
Music is certainly the first thing that comes to mind when using the app. But when you think about it, JamCloud is actually the perfect app to use for any type of content that is fun to watch with others. Comedy routines is a great example – everyone loves to laugh with friends. Or sports highlights is another example where users can chat in real-time as they watch the same sports clips that are synced up across multiple peoples computers. JamCloud really creates an environment where you can socialize with others about any interest really. Or how about animated short films? We even have a group that shares woodworking videos with each other and get inspiration from others for their own projects. The possibilities are limitless.
So far, in which countries has JamCloud been better-received?
We started with the US audience since that’s where we are based, but we’ve had a really good reception in Canada, Germany and the UK. Many times people outside of the US will see a new music platform spring up one day to only to get shut down a few months later due to the record labels clamping down and I think those people are just plain tired of it. With JamCloud since we aren’t the ones providing the actual content we are able to reach an international audience without any problems. We’re just finishing up work on translations for the application into Spanish, German, French and Japanese.
What features can we expect to see implemented in future revisions?
We’re working on some additional ways to discover great new content as well as integrating other popular content providers. We’ve got some other tricks up our sleeve too, but you’ll just have to stay tuned to our @jamcloud Twitter account or like us on http://facebook.com/jamcloud to hear more about those!
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?
The biggest negative I see that the Internet has had on the music industry is it has created an environment where many consumers tend to have the expectation that music should be free which is detrimental to the craft. But where the Internet has had an enormously positive impact is in distribution. The cost to distribute music to such a large audience is so cheap now compared to in the past that it really empowers a lot of artists. I believe this shift of power from the record labels to the recording artist has really damaged the music industry as a whole because of this tug of war that has been going on.
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?
It’s very easy to think you have the greatest idea since sliced bread and then just become completely encased inside that bubble. But you really need to step outside of the bubble early and often to make sure there is a demand for your product and that you’re going to be able to make money for your business. Also, you absolutely have to consider the artists and musicians that create this music — they need to benefit too. It can’t be one-sided where only the consumer benefits.
Continue to Part 2: “Music & You”