As you probably recall, last week I reviewed (and was very impressed) by a startup named Minimum Noise. I was lucky enough to interview co-founder Kristian Dupont, and I am extremely grateful for his insight and advice. I have split the interview in two parts, the first is found below and it deals with the company, whereas the second one is the “Music & You” section that you are probably familiar with already if you are a MusicKO regular. It is found here.
Full Name: Kristian Dupont
Startup: Minimum Noise
Tell us a little about your startup. How was it conceived? What are its most distinctive features in your opinion?
Sammy (my co-founder) and I have worked with tv-production and video games for many years. We love all things media. Having seen the crowdsourcing model work well for design sites, we wanted to apply this to media production in general. Minimum Noise does this for music. The concept is simple: if you need music production, you post a “project” on Minimum Noise. This project describes your requirements and how much you want to pay. Musicians can then upload mp3’s with sketches of how they would make it. You pick a winner, pay the musician and get the audio material.
What was the original launch date?
We launched on December 22th, 2008.
What has been the response so far? In which countries has it been more successful?
We have been mentioned a number of times in magazines like Wired, Computer Music, Music Connection and numerous blogs. We have a small but very excited user base, mostly coming from the US. However, it has been harder to find buyers of music production than we anticipated. While the crowdsourcing model is fairly known in the world of design, we still have to make people aware that this is an actual possibility instead of relying on stock music like they have so far. We have seen the concept work very well. When there are good projects, our users have created some amazing material and proved that the concept really works.
What features can we expect to see implemented in future revisions?
We have many features planned. For one, we are planning to implement the reversed model as well, i.e. allowing producers sell their productions on display. In essence, a musician would get a “store” where he or she can sell pieces of music that were already made.
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 feel that whether or not you like the way things are developing, there is no stopping it so you might as well make the best of it. The music industry is changing. We have many musician friends and we have seen several of them cheering because they were finally signed, only to discover that selling cd’s today is almost impossible no matter how good your label is. That is sad. On the other hand, many, many people are now able to create a song using free music software and cheap microphones, put them on myspace and become celebrities without ever going through labels or anything. The celebrity status allows you to utilize alternative business models such as selling merchandize or promoting products. We are hoping that in time, we will be able to add a small but useful tool in the musicians’ toolbox. Participating in projects on Minimum Noise is not going to make you rich. But it does enable you to make some money doing what you love (produce music), and what is much more valuable – establish a network with fellow musicians and buyers of music.
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?
The music industry is a tough one when it comes to the legal stuff. Minimum Noise runs on the same engine as our new site, www.graphicster.com, which is the same concept for all things graphics. We are developing the two sites simultaneously and we expect them to be very similar for a long time, but we are definitely watching out for legal implications when it comes to music
Continue to Part 2.