Help Me Save the Music Business

Sorry for the clickbait title. I'm not a goober I promise.

I watched the Stripe Sessions keynote and a few of the breakout sessions yesterday and I was really struck by their idea of being the "unified commerce solution for the internet".

I currently run an online record shop (https://thirdhandrecords.com), but our goal is to do more than that.

Our mission is to make the job of recording artist a blue collar occupation, and not an expensive hobby with a moonshot at superwealth.

In my humble understanding of the status quo, record companies ultimately act as a bank, providing cash advances to musicians which they then spend to record an album. These advances are due back to the record company and are deducted (along with MANY other expenses) from the royalties that album eventually generates for the musician.

Labels, especially micro indies, provide access to production, distribution, marketing, in addition to passing intangible "clout" to bands they decide to sign. There is an emerging trend of "label services" businesses, which provide marketing, digital distribution, etc to bands as a service.

There are also a million other service jobs tangential to and deeply entwined in the music industry. Bands pay producers, engineers, arrangers, session musicians, stylists. Bands get paid by record companies, publishers, streaming companies, fans. And this is just for the recording half of music, not even the (soon to be absolutely ROARING live music industry).

Our idea is to build a "unified commerce system for the music industry", and we're starting, oddly enough, with vinyl records. We've planned to offer consignment in our shop to bands[1], eventually growing into a full out product/service marketplace for musicians where we aren't even selling records ourselves (except our band's!!).

I thought yesterday watching Stripe Sessions that the next evolution of our business model would be a financial services platform, built with Stripe Connect, whereby we issue card accounts (and maybe capital?) to bands making money on our marketplace for them to use to produce new records.

I know the idea is straddling being a bank and being a record company, but it's got me excited.

Roast my idea, be brutal.

[1] not sure if we'll go physical distribution (cdbaby) or band fulfilled consignment (bandcamp) or straight fba-style fulfillment for bands

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