Bands And Startups

Bands and startups follow similar paths to success so it’s no surprise that a lot of musicians turn to technology to fund their musical goals. I’ll compare the two paths using the Lean Startup Methodology.

Lean Startup Diagram
Lean Startup Diagram via


The build portion of the Lean Startup Methodology is similar to the garage band. Most bands and startups start in the garage just like Nirvana and Apple. A few passionate folks come together to work on their craft and figure out their sound. Are we a rock band? Are we an app company? Do we want a deathcore singer? Do we want to use a freemium model?  Keeping things simple is important at this point. Our goal is an MVP. Don’t plan your laser light show for a sold out show in Madison Square Garden just yet. Build the basics to get a product or learn a few songs, oversell yourselves to buyers and then work extra hard to deliver.


Understanding the early growth of your app is as important as knowing your fan base. Who attends your gigs is equally as important as why don’t they upgrade to premium app? Measuring is all about collecting and synthesizing the right kind of data that will spark growth. Meet one-on-one with your client base and ask them tough questions. Get to the core of why they use your product or why they would support you as an artist. Make your content widely available. Use resources like SoundCloud to post your music, keeping notice of the most downloaded regions. YouTube is a great platform for explaining your new product or putting up demo tape.


The Learn phase is all about taking what you measured and turning that into actionable items. You may not like what you learn but it’s an opportunity to grow from. The term pivot is often thrown around during this phase. When Uncle Cracker changed genre’s to country music this was his pivot. He found a more profitable route than he initially started on. UC may not be the most inspiring example of a pivot in the music industry but it’s an example of someone learning from what they were measuring. Learning how people use your product is almost as important as building the product. PlanetMoney recently aired a podcast on how a gaming company makes most of it’s money from online karaoke and how they’ve embraced it.

Growth Steps

Band Startup
Early gigs MVP
Self-funded first album Boot strapping growth
Sign record label Seed round investment
Hoping it all works out Hoping it all works out

Which path do you dream of following? Personally, I’d like both.

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