Josh Roberts (Bandhack) – Interview (Part 1)

by Emilio Pérez Miguel on February 8, 2011

Quite a juicy interview, this is the conversation I had with Josh Roberts from Bandhack (the directory for local bands & musicians recently reviewed on MusicKO). He makes a far share a valid points, especially as regards the future of Facebook and the role the Internet plays (and has played) in the distribution of music.

And don’t forget to read part 2 of this interview (“Music & You”).

Full Name: Josh Roberts
Age: 27
Startup: Bandhack.com
Position: Editor & CEO (Chief Ear-Candy Officer)

bandhack

PART I

THE STARTUP

Tell us a little about your startup. How was it conceived? What are its most distinctive features in your opinion?

Bandhack.com is a website intended to serve as a directory for local band/musician Facebook pages.  Local artists connect their Facebook page to our site and we stream a consolidated view of band info, shows, photos, and videos.

The site was conceived by my partner in both business and crime, Clayton Pyrant, as well as my wife, Holly.  The idea actually came from a few too many rum-and-cokes as well as the frustration of trying to find local band pages.

If you want to fully understand the concept behind our site… go to Facebook and try to find a list of local shows or local bands in your area.  As soon you see that Facebook doesn’t offer a meaningful platform for doing such a thing, you’ll understand the gravity of what we’re trying to do.

The most distinctive feature is the connectivity.  There have been many other local band directories before us.  Most die off quickly, though, because their model requires bands to manually update info, shows, and other content.  Since Bandhack.com pulls its content directly from Facebook pages, all of our content will always be pertinent and up-to-date.

What was the original launch date?

The first band connected to our directory on December 28th, 2010.

What has been the response so far? What features have people requested?

The response has been great!  We’ve had a number of bands connect to our directory in the short amount of time we’ve had the site up.  We’ve also gotten some great feedback on our local artist reviews!

There are some really great local bands out there that no one’s ever heard of yet.  So we’re thrilled to be able to put them out there a little bit… and they seem to really appreciate it too.

We haven’t had too many requests for additional features; however, we have a pretty long list of things we’d like to do ourselves.  We just completed a major site redesign and are now working on developing in-house band profile pages and syndicating our calendar of local shows to other sites.  We’re also bringing on a really great amateur music writer to write news and reviews.

What is your take on Facebook? How far can it go? Will it dethrone Google?

Facebook is great.  It’s changing the way that people communicate and has really cornered the market on virtual farms.  In regards to music, however, it’s seriously lacking.

Personally, I don’t think Facebook will dethrone Google anytime soon.  I actually think Google could benefit by incorporating the open graph concept into the way they present products and advertising.  Wow… NERD ALERT!  I’ll stop there so your readers don’t realize what a geek I really am.

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?

From my perspective, the Internet has done nothing but great things for the music industry.  There was definitely a serious learning curve in regards to file-sharing, but I think they’re learning.  The advent of digital downloads and social networking seems to be bringing a lot of decision-making out of corporate board rooms and into online communities and grass roots efforts… which is great for unsigned artists!  Youtube videos made the careers of artists like Esmee Denters and Justin Bieber.  Love him or hate him, just try imagining a world without the ‘Bieb’.

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?

I’m not sure that I’m the best person to be giving advice.  I’m still figuring it out myself.

My best advice would be “Don’t wait, do it now!”  I procrastinated on a hundred good ideas before ever putting myself out there and running with one.  It was, by far, my biggest mistake.  Even a failed venture would have taught me the business that much sooner.

Read part 2 of this interview.

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Josh Roberts (Bandhack) – Interview (Part 2) | MusicKO
February 9, 2011 at 2:24 pm

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