Motoi Konno, one of the founders of Mashrooom.fm (a web service for creating your own mashups using different YouTube videos) was kind-enough to answer all the questions I put his way about his startup, and also about the role music has in his life.
This is the first time that I interview someone from Japan, and it’s really refreshing to have the insight from people living in what’s unarguably one of the most technically-developed countries in the world.
Full Name: Motoi Konno
Position: Music Manager/Marketer
Tell us a little about your startup. How was it conceived? What are its most distinctive features in your opinion?
1 years ago, I and co founder Makoto Watanabe watched the video of Playing For Change. There were a lot of professional musicians and street musicians playing together there, no matter how different were their lives and their languages. It really moved our hearts. And we simply thought “We want to make this happen on the web!” That was the start.
What was the original launch date?
It was 27 January 2012
What has been the response so far? In which countries has it been more successful?
So far, it hasn’t been so bad but we hope to have more active users per month.
Right now, our site is visited from 59 countries. Spain and USA are the most active ones.
What features can we expect to see implemented in future revisions?
We want to support musicians and artists all over the world. So, in the future we want Mashroom.fm to become a platform where they can sell and exchange their work. We want to change the fact of gifted musicians and artists not being able to earn enough money to support themselves.
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?
Because of the Internet, music files became easier to copy and spread. And sometimes, people violate musicians’ copyrights. But because of the growth of the Internet and SNS, there are big changes in how we get to share information. And who can stop that? Nobody.
No matter how hard the music industries tries, that’s the will of people in the world.
People have really got used to sharing information this easily on the web. So, maybe in the future information these things that are easy to share lose their value. And information that is really hard to share becomes very valuable. Say, real-time gigs and jam sessions.
But, because of the Internet, information has become really easy to spread around the world. So, gifted musicians and artists gain the chance to become famous just by sharing a single song or video.
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?
A very important thing is to protect the musicians and artists of the world, and empower them to do their best. Their every single piece of work is valuable. The worst thing to do is to use a musician and his art just to earn money for your own service.
Read Part 2 of this interview (“Music & You”)