a list for 'against comparison'
a list for 'against comparison'

Sync Tech - some advice.

Last week (wb 19th Feb 2024) - I took three meeting to talk sync-tech, two with CEOs pitching MVPs and another with an advisor & successfully exited founder in music-tech interested in sync.
For context, I have tried and failed to sell some ‘sync tech’ products, specifically to TV & Films studios - tools for the Creatives.
Slightly disenchanted with it, I have been avoiding it thinking or keeping abreast of it - but there was a sudden flurry of out-reach, so I took the meetings.
So today, I’m drawing up something of a hit list, a cross between ‘why your sync-tech startup will fail’ and some anecdotes about what you should think about if you’re building in this space.

Your MVP is broken.

Not a fan of Peter Thiel, however, is such an essential read for anyone building an MVP that its basically a clique saying it - it really is like night & day who has read it and who has not.
Summarising Zero to One for actionable insights into building an MVP using Pareto Principles is so basic that it makes me suspicious about how domain competence your product is.
With broken MVPs- if your product doesn’t 100% work, your company will fail - it’s that binary - and trust me on the 100%.
If your looking for a customer to work with and help you spec an MVP - don’t try and sell what you have bootstrapped as an MVP - be honest - in the creative industries vision and ideas our basically currency.

‘Jack-of-all-trades - master of none’ MVPs.

Products completely crammed full of features that manage the entire music licensing lifecycle, typically some sort of market-place.
We get MVPs like this every 36 months or so and I’ve always found these a little ‘incendiary’ - there’s a tendency for them to pitch ‘disruption’/
Successful innovation starts with providing a solution to an individual problem, if disruption occurs as part of that, then so be - but I’ve been pitched plenty of stories motivated by grievance with an entire industry rather than features.
Advertising, Film, TV, Adverts and Gaming each have their own unique workflow idiosyncrasies for the creatives. Similarly, the distribution, finance structures and music reporting requirements for each of these disciplines vary.
Choose a medium, find a customer and build something. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Your product is another play on centralisation but you can’t bring yourself to say it

Everyone’s platform is the platform for everything - just more and more data-lakes, eroding a little bit more of the pie. Yes, meta-data sucks and there’s so much unlocked value if only people would share data etc...
Just get over it. It’s never going to happen.
Centralisation has become a bit of a dirty term.
Solve a simple problem - do it well - and you too can justify your very own data-lake and start building a business off the back of it.
Don’t obfuscate - when people criticise your product for centralisation, its probably because they either don’t like your product or your overselling it / making some very bold claims.

You don’t understand that your competitor is a Spreadsheet & WhatsApp.

Most music licensing systems provide little in the way meaningful project management and workspace collaboration tools for the creatives and production teams making shows.
At worst, they intentionally prevent teams from doing so, typically with a music reporting workflow that cuts out a party from the loop.
Google Sheets are used extensively by these cross-functional teams, as everyone accessing it tends to have different login-credentials.
It’s not feasible for a ‘Sync Agency’ or ‘Music team’ to use an off the shelf CRM project management suite- ie Monday, Assana, ClickUp.
These products are completely copyright unaware and lack understanding the different tasks dependancies between legal entities.
If Film & TV studios could purchase a copyright product with low-level implementations into common SaaS back-office tools only an API key away - yeah, they’d probably do it - but theres only about 25,000 licenses here - thats global, total addressable market - inside of five years, there is little to no path to cash-flow positivity here.

Music Supervisors choose the music that get licensed into Films & TV shows.

Many sync-tech founders us Music Supervisors as a convient narrative for there systems super-users, particularly for how search & discovery bridges licensing.
The job of a Music Supervisor is to ensure that nothing to do with Music might impeded on the ability of Editors, Directors, Producers, Production Managers and Post-Production teams ability to turn up to work on time and to leave work on time.
In long-form video, only 15% of my time as a Music Supervisor is been spent on creative work for specific cues - typically sorting out a problem or replacing music for a different territory.
Think of them as gate-keepers - funnels for information - build your user-stories around that.

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