My #7daystartup Day Seven (Launch Day!!)

It’s 3:07pm CST and I’m sitting at Starbucks (or should we call it “StartBucks”) in West Dundee, IL.  The staff knows me – now.  I’ve been coming here every afternoon for the past week plowing through the work required to get to launch.

I’m pleased to announce that EchlinMedia Stock Music is online.

I’ll be the first to admit that the hill got steeper the closer I got to launch-ready.  I think I need to caveat what I mean by launch.  Since I was following Dan Norris’ 7-Day Launch blueprint, what has been launched is a MVP stock music service.  The best part of this process has been the awesome people I’ve talked to via Dan’s FB group who have helped shape the MVP.  This is the essence of what he discusses in his book.

“You don’t earn till you learn” – not sure if Dan said that, but I might use it as my own. The feedback has been valuable and interesting.  It’s been interesting because the first lesson is that not all customers want the same thing.  The opinions and ideas that have been discussed have been unique and “one-size-fits-all” does not apply to a stock music service.  Also true for just about every business.  This speaks to the exercise of finding the ideal customer profile or avatar.

I talked to 5 potential customers from different walks and they all want something different.  A couple love the idea of a subscription, while others just want a la cart songs at a competitive price.

I think I’ve come up with a model that is easy to understand and provides a fair solution.  It’s basically a freemium model.

  • One free track per month delivered to email
  • Monthly subscription that provides download codes
  • A la carte store ($14-$99 per track based on license usage)

The licensing model is one concept I’m pretty excited about since it could be a good differentiator – in addition to the awesome music :)

Here are the three license options:

  1. Audio (Podcasts, Radio, Commercials(non-video), Website)
  2. Animated Video (Video Games, Apps, Animated Videos)
  3. Moving Pictures (Theatrical, TV, Cable, YouTube, Video)

Pricing is relative to license option, audio being the least expensive.  It just made sense to offer licenses based on usage type.

I’ve got some other ideas that I will be testing over the next few weeks, such as a creator community. There still is a lot of work to do on the UX and navigation so that signup and store browsing is simple and intuitive.

This is all very exciting, especially since I got my first paid subscriber just this afternoon!

A huge thanks to Dan and his community for a swift kick in the pants to get this going.

My #7daystartup Day 6.5

Okay – juuuust about ready to launch!

I had a great conversation with internet marketer/podcaster Nicola Cairncross and she buys stock music for her podcasts.  We talked about pricing/licensing and it’s clear I need to keep it simple.

So, I’ve come up with two options:

  1. A la carte store – Buy one track at a time and chose the appropriate license.
  2. Monthly Subscription – Discounted tracks with universal licensing.

I think this will allow customers to get the best of both worlds.  If they just need to buy a track here and there, great!  However, if they are an agency or music super, you can get several tracks per month at a steep discount.

The new landing page is completed.  By tomorrow, 1/14/15, I will have the store component ready to go.  The subscriptions will be handled via PayPal.

Then, it’s a matter of fine-tuning a few dozen tracks to populate the store and we’re off! It’s really a ton of work, but I’m very excited to launch this and get more customer feedback.

Thanks to all who have commented and provided moral support!

My #7daystartup Day Six

So here we are day six.  One “day” before the official launch.  As I stated before, I’m considering these “7 days” as steps really, since I’m not doing these steps in sequential days.  I am however, getting through all seven steps rather quickly (less than a month).

Day six was very sobering.  I created a pro-forma, (aka financial model) and quickly realized that I needed at least 500 active paid subscribers to make this a viable business. And when I say active, I mean that they need to be purchasing tracks on a monthly basis.

Then I started to consider how many unique pieces of music I needed to have in inventory to support 500 active subscribers.  Is it hundreds or dozens? Not sure this is a question that I can answer at this point. I do have about 200 song ideas that are usable, however I need to fully produce most of them before I can add them on the stock music site.   Producing these tracks will likely take up to a year to complete, but that should be ok since I can add them to the site as they are completed and they will keep the site freshly stocked with music.

I’m still stalled a bit on the landing pages and think I’m going to need some help.  Since each track (I use “track” and “song” interchangeably) will be available with an exclusive and non-exclusive license, I need to setup EDD with variable pricing.

This is the point where I start to glaze over and consider hiring someone to handle all the technology and WordPress work since I need to be in the studio creating music.

My #7daystartup Day Five

So, I’m getting excited to launch this venture and it’s so cool to have feedback from Dan’s group on Facebook!

Day Five is all about the marketing plan.  Dan provides an excellent list of marketing channels in the book.  I’ve experimented with most of these channels on past projects/startups.  Here are the tactics I’m starting with for the stock music project:

  1. Personal Outreach – I’ve made a list of 50 people in my network to whom I will reach out personally and introduce this business.
  2. Podcast – I started a podcast a few years ago and will resurrect to achieve a few things.  A) Show off the music within the actual podcast for intro/outro and interstitials. B) Interview people in the video/music space and connect with their audience.
  3. Guest Blogging – Make a list of 10-20 blogs where I can submit long-form articles that contribute to the new media industry.

Those are the main tactics I’m starting with and have a list of a few others that are on the back burner until I can measure some results and talk to a few more customers. Online forums being one in particular that I’m gathering more intel.

Also, as an aside I’m considering these “7 days” more like 7 steps since it’s taking me longer than one day to strategize and execute (still have lots of other work to do to pay the bills!)

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

My #7daystartup Day Four

Day four is filled with a lot of heavy lifting. In fact, I’m still working on day four tasks after several days.

I’m using the Divi theme by Elegant Themes to run my site. The landing page for the stock music business will be located at echlinmedia.com/stock-music

The landing page is up now, however I’m a little stuck on formatting the CTA blocks. I can’t seem to get access at all to the top block. Also need to figure out how to drop in song samples without distracting from the CTAs.

In addition to the layout issues, I’m also trying to decide on pricing and licensing.

Here are the pricing options:

  • Free Access: 2 songs per month with email (non-exclusive license)
  • Premium Access: $19/mo. + $.99 or $49 discounted downloads (non-exclusive or exclusive license)

Discounted song pricing for exclusive songs only good while premium subscription is active.  If canceled prior to one year, a pro-rated fee is charged. *Need to test this with actual customers.

An “exclusive” license means that the buyer has sole rights to use the song for a period of one year.

A “non-exclusive” license means that an unlimited number of buyers can use the song for a period of one year.

At this point, I have no idea how I would track the expiration of these licenses.

Still unsure if I will offer downloads without a subscription?

My #7daystartup Day Two

Day two has turned out to be pretty enlightening.  I used Dan’s guide for creating a minimum viable product asked some hard questions.

Here’s my worksheet from day two:

MVP Questions Answers
What will launch on Day 7? I think the landing page needs to have a certain aesthtic that reflects my brand. Music is the type of product that creates/changes moods. So, it can’t be too generic looking. Will use the Divi theme and the “homepage shop” layout for echlinmedia.com/stock-music. I love the layout and it’s very pro. Within that landing page I will present two options: free and premium. Also on the landing page, will be 3 sample tracks that can be streamed only.
What will my customer receive? Free: 2 tracks per month delivered to inbox. Premium $19/mo. and access to full catalog. All tracks in the catalog will be priced at $.99.
What’s included and excluded? Each track is sold as is. There will be a contact form for requests and custom-tailored songs. Each song will carry a non-exclusive CC license so many customers can use the same track. Unique, “exclusive” songs are available at higher price point and on request.
What is automated and what is manual? I’m looking into EDD to mange the file storage and delivery. Not sure if EDD can manage the store aspect long-term, but it should be suitable for MVP. The delivery of the 2 free tracks will be handled manually. Need to determine if I should send MP3 or link to repository?
Open Items: Resolution:
Track File Types Should I offer high-fidelity .wav in addition to mp3? How about .aiff?
Free Level Should I provide high-fidelity files to customers on free level?
Song Length Each song will vary in length from 15 seconds to 1 min. Is there any strategy around limiting the free level to receiving the shorter tracks?
Song Samples Any sense to sending song samples in exchange for email and not providing streaming sample on landing page?
CC Licensing For now, it appears this Creative Commons license will work. It is non-derivative, so the music cannot be distributed in modified form. <a rel=”license” href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0/”><img alt=”Creative Commons License” style=”border-width:0″ src=”https://i.creativecommons.org/l/by-nd/4.0/88×31.png” /></a><br />This work is licensed under a <a rel=”license” href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0/”>Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License</a>.

 

My #7daystartup Day One

So, yes I’ve been inspired to launch yet another project.  It never gets old, right??

Dan Norris, CEO of WPCurve.com and entrepreneur/author wrote a book called “The 7 Day Startup: You Don’t Learn Until You Launch”.  In this best-seller, Dan talks about the many businesses he started and the lessons learned along the way.  The culmination of his journey is a blueprint for starting a business in 7 days.  Now, I’ve started several businesses and 7-days seems ridiculous.  However, after reading through the book and understanding his approach, it makes a ton of sense. Especially, for businesses that are internet-based where you can get a ton a feedback in a short amount of time.

So, I’ve been thinking about this new project for some time and after talking to a few people in his Facebook group, I’m launching this new idea.

What’s the idea? Since that is the purpose behind “Day One” in Dan’s blueprint.

My ideas is this: stock music membership site

What is “stock music?”  It’s the background music you hear in many different mediums when something is playing in the foreground. For example; TV Commercials, intro music for podcasts, music behind product videos, etc.

The producers of these works usually have a musical connection somewhere.  They either have a roster of music producers who they can tap for custom music.  Or, they search online marketplaces, such as audiojungle. Or they hire a musician and co-produce a customer piece of music.

Well I happen to have hundreds of recorded works that fit into this category.  Some of the recordings will be used for actual songs that I will put on a future album, but those are the “special” ones.  90% of the songs ideas are snippets.  So, why not offer these as stock music?  Seems like a viable idea and it’s exciting to considering putting these pieces of music out there.

There are several unknowns at this point:

  • will I be able to generate enough traffic to the site to sell anything
  • how much time is required to finish these recorded works to be usable
  • should I offer them with Creative Commons License or standard copyright?
  • how should I price the membership?  annual or monthly? lifetime?
  • should I sell tracks individually?

I will be answering these questions and many more over the next 7 days!

Here are my notes from going through the “nine elements” exercise:

Screenshot 2014-12-11 21.59.41So that’s day one – establishing the idea.

Special CD Sale!

I’d love your help to spread my music!  For a limited time, I’m offering 3 signed CDs for the price of one.

Independent artists like me rely on word-of-mouth to find new “fans.”  I hope you like these songs and you will share them far and wide.

Thanks in advance!