Talking tech since 2003

We've been spoiled when it comes to music. With the advent of Napster in the late 90s, people became accustomed to having music easily accessible to them with the click of a mouse, or now, the tap of a finger. After many years of legal battles, the music industry has been slowly coming to terms with the fact people take music for granted. Why shouldn't I be able to listen to any song that's ever been recorded right in the moment I want to hear it?

Look, I'm not saying I don't feel the same way. Music is such an expressive art form for pretty much everyone. I mean, who doesn't like music? Maybe a sociopath. But nonetheless, music is designed to be listened to and felt in that moment. You can't really do that with other arts. Movies are too long. Maybe a particular scene, but again, movies aren't as easily accessible as music is.

Anyway, I digress.

The thing is, we, as individuals are so lucky when it comes to having access to music. It wasn't always like this though! Thanks to companies like Spotify, Apple, and TIDAL, we can now listen to anything at any time. We even get curated playlists with songs tailored to our tastes. But unfortunately, this hasn't been true for businesses who want to use music as part of their experience. Muzak certainly didn't innovate here.

That's why when I connected with Ola Sars recently and learned about his new startup, Soundtrack Your Brand, I thought it was really rad. Sars, a long-time industry veteran (4x founder) who co-founded Beats Music (now Apple Music) and SpotifyBusiness, is back at it again and working on doing what Spotify did for consumer music in B2B.

"Starbucks was still using CDs," said Sars. The idea is simple, Soundtrack lets businesses play the "right music, at the right time," he went on to say. And he's right, why should a Subway in Midtown Manhattan have the same playlist as a Subway in Wynwood Miami? It shouldn't. They're two completely different places. That's where Soundtrack comes into play (ha!) by offering businesses the ability to have a completely personalized playlist(s) (that are frequently updated) that varies by location.

It's not all tech and algorithms though, "The truth lies somewhere between tech and humans to curate a good music collection," according to Sars. And you know what? I agree. Music curation needs a human element to it for it to be really good. Lately I've spent a lot of time curating my own playlists for different moods, times of day, etc and its made my listening experience so much better.

One thing that Sars & Co. are really excited about is the fact they're adding a new revenue stream for the music industry and a really good one to boot. Unlike Spotify which is $5 per month, Soundtrack charges between $35-$50 per month, meaning Soundtrack pays artists and labels 6-12 times more. In the last 6 months, the company has been growing fast despite the pandemic. They already have more than 58 million tracks for businesses and they're live in 75 markets including the U.S., which accounts for more than 50 percent of revenue.

Soundtrack Your Brand features.

Speaking of the U.S., Ola is looking to move from Stockholm to either Miami, NYC, or SF. The problem is that due to COVID-19, moving, let alone traveling has been very difficult. During our call, I did my best to convince him Miami was the place to be. He's always been a fan of Florida he said, as I made quite a few attempts to get him to commit to Miami, "I think Miami has a huge opportunity to be a starting point for international business," Ola went on to say. I found myself agreeing with him again, especially with the LatAm talent pipeline and all the incredible energy here.

I'm excited to see how Soundtrack continues to expand. If you're a business looking to up your music game, feel free to reach out to me – I'd be happy to connect you. You can also learn more here too.

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