Kyle York (1Band1Brand) – Interview

by Emilio Pérez Miguel on May 7, 2011

I’ve had the pleasure to interview Kyle York from 1Band1Brand, a really great service that combines fashion and music in a way never seen before (original post here). Personally, I find it really interesting to hear the voice of people who are doing something entirely new in the industry. Thanks Kyle & Co. for your time!

Full Name: Kyle York
Age: 28
Startup: 1band 1brand
Position: Partner

1band1brand

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

ABOUT 1BAND 1BRAND
1band 1brand is a free, subscription-based digital platform that introduces emerging, independent musicians and fashion labels to influential young adults who want to stay connected by encouraging them to hear, wear and share. The group facilitates all kinds of innovative collaborations between emerging bands and brands. Learn more at: http://1band1brand.com.

Each one of us involved has a slightly different story. For me, it all started back in 2004 when my brother Travis and a crew of us threw the now infamous ‘Summer Shindy’ music party at his former home in Manchester, NH. In our opinion, it was the craziest party we’ve ever seen. With a few years of maturity and business experience under our belt in marketing, branding and technology we realized we were actually onto something that sunny Saturday back in 2004.

When Travis and his wife Danielle purchased their current home (where my Mom grew up and my grandparents lived for 50+ years) they decided to replace the galley kitchen and expand the home with an amazing room for entertaining. The 138 Listening Lounge, an invitation-only home concert series was born after Travis hosted a birthday party for Danielle with one of her favorite emerging bands as the entertainment.

After planning and hosting shows for over a year and getting involved in the positioning, packaging and promotion of several artists (Travis had managed artists for years), we decided that bi-monthly introductions to new bands just wasn’t enough. That, coupled with the fact that several brands were reaching out to get involved with the Listening Lounge, led us to create 1band 1brand, a concept that myself and a couple friends, Brady Sadler & Justin Griffin came up with at SXSW in 2010.

The simplicity and genuine nature of 1band 1brand seems to be something that subscribers, bands and brands alike have gravitated towards. We’re working hard to build up credibility and an engaged audience without over complicating things or rushing to evolve too fast.

How are bands/brands chosen?

Bands and brands are chosen through a thorough review process: discovery followed by due diligence. We search for a diverse set of genres of bands/brands first and pair them together second, presented individually, but with a semblance of relevance. They have to have an online following and digital distribution as well as an ability to offer music or clothing…with deals. They must be “emerging” and cannot have already made it on a big label. If they are on a label, it must be independent artist-focused. The five of us working on the project have a cross-section of taste in both music and fashion. We all approve each week well in advance (we don’t always agree!) – the actual bands/brands as well as the pairing. There is a standard we are in search of – we won’t settle. Believe it or not, we actually had a queue of 17 weeks lined up before our launch at SXSW in March 2011.

The discovery process is actually getting easier as more folks keep sending us bands and brands to feature, but the diligence process is harder in a way as not all of them sent are the caliber we are looking for.

In which countries has it been more successful?

Success is entirely subjective and we’re not worried too much about trying to measure it just yet. There are lots of different things we will eventually measure, for sure. We’ve gotten press coverage in the US, UK and Netherlands. We’ve featured bands and brands from all over the world and we see traffic to our digital presence from many countries. Being US-based and English-oriented, I’d have to say we’ve seen the most buzz and excitement from the US, UK, Canada and Australia. It’s really impressive for us to see eyeballs from Spain, France, Brazil, Germany and India as well. We’re amazed by the global interest and are being very strategic about our band and brand selection to ensure we stay diverse.

What features can we expect to see implemented in future revisions? What have people specifically asked for?

You’ll see a lot of enhancements on the website, like embedding the music experience (listening and purchasing), a focus on detailed qualification questions for better segmentation, more social media integration for sharing and promotion, among other things.

We’ll be doing a lot by pairing bands and brands outside of just the 1band 1brand digital experience, as the interest for collaboration between both is really strong. We’re excited about future live events, music and fashion collaboration, potentially our own merchandise line, sponsor involvement, content curation (and distribution) and more.

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?

Well, in our opinion there is a huge difference between what established bands and large labels may think versus what the independent label or artist may think. We are huge believers in the reach the Internet has created for the emerging music we’re focused on with 1band 1brand. We can relate very closely with the bands and brands we feature as we aim to build a following and cut through the clutter ourselves. We’re obviously huge Internet advocates.

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?

Don’t pretend you’re an industry insider if you’re not. My partners involved with 1band 1brand all love listening to music and love discovering new artists but we don’t try and act like we’re experts – we’re fans. We are all marketing, branding and technology oriented guys with a passion for music, fashion and the Web – but in no way are we trying to be something we’re not. The advice we give (which was given to us back in the day) is to simply be honest, passionate and persistent and you’ll achieve whatever you set out to accomplish.

Find us online across the digital landscape:
http://1band1brand.com
http://facebook.com/1band1brand
http://twitter.com/1band1brand.com
http://138music.com
http://twitter.com/138music
http://facebook.com/138listeninglounge

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