Soundcloud - Flickr For Musicians
Yesterday, on the VC panel at LeWeb, Ouriel asked all of us "how should an entrepreneur pitch you?"
I replied, "they should send me a link to their web service and if I like it, I'll follow up and meet with them"
That has happened so many times and I am convinced its the best way to get my attention.
Back when I launched fredwilson.fm, I got an email from an entrepreneur asking me to put a soundcloud drop box on it so emerging artists could send me music to consider for my personal internet radio station. I thought "good idea" and put it up. You can see the soundcloud drop box if you visit fredwilson.fm.
Since I put up the soundcloud drop box, I've gotten 14 submissions. A few of them are very good and I plan on posting at least one or two of them to tumblr/fredwilson.fm before year end.
This experience opened my eyes to what soundcloud represents. It's a new way to get music out there. Bands and artists are using it (roughly 40,000 so far I've heard) to share music among themselves in rough form while they work on the final product, and then they use it to submit their music to various record labels, music bloggers, and other promotional outlets.
The company is based in Berlin and from what I can tell much of the user base is european to date. But music is a global experience and there is no reason why soundcloud can't take off in the US and other parts of the world.
Just to be clear, soundcloud is not for sharing licensed music. Of course, it can be used for that, but the company is working on tools like audio fingerprinting so they can police the service and make sure it's used by real musicians to share their work, not by fans looking to share music with friends.
After using soundcloud for a couple months, I finally got the opportunity to meet the founders yesterday at Le Web. We only had about 20 minutes, but we got right into the opportunity and they didn't have to spend most of the meeting explaining what soundcloud is. Because I'm already a user and a fan. That's the way to do it.
Of course, just because I like the service and enjoyed meeting the founders, it doesn't mean our firm wil invest. But we certainly are going to pay attention to what they are doing. By blogging about them, I'll get more feedback. I'd love it if all of you who are into music would check it out and let me know what you think.
As Eric Archambeau of Wellington Partners said on the panel yesterday, "the first step is I've got to like it, but I can't make an investment just because I like it. I've got to make sure that the market at large is going to like it too" [that's a paraphrase not a quote].
So please check out soundcloud and let me know what you think.