A few weeks back, Echo Music‘s CEO Mark Montgomery wrote an open letter in response to my inclusion in Bob Lefsetz’ “Mid-Year Power Top Ten”. If you read the comments you’ll see I responded and invited Marko to lunch when he’s next in LA.
To his credit, he took me up on it and we hit up Echigo on Santa Monica Blvd for lunch. I was a little burnt, having flown in that morning from my “dropping Zoe off at college” weekend, and Mark brought along David Markus (who I ended up bumping into two days later by a rooftop pool in Santa Barbara — small world).
This week, Mark posted on his blog about our meeting.
I agree with Mark 100% on the outcome. I really enjoyed hearing the story of how Echo has grown and evolved over the years, and was happy to share how we plan on attacking the task at hand at Topspin. I came to the same conclusion as Mark, while we’re in the same space we’re ultimately addressing different segments of the market.
Our firm belief is there’s a new market disruption at hand; by changing the music business from a low-margin business to a high-margin business (from the artist’s perspective) and giving them the tools to run their business, there are a large number of artists for whom this flips the bit from not making a living to making a living. At Topspin we aim to be “what the pros use” and are not serving the far right of the long tail the way say MySpace are but we are most certainly focused on building software to serve this emerging middle class of artists. However, Mark is right, if our toolset is good (and complements other simple site-building tools like Drupal and WordPress), Topspin and Echo Music will bump into each other from time to time. But that’s ok, as I mention in this post on Topspin’s blog the best part about the new music business is that artists have choice, and will get to choose from a variety of toolsets how they build their business. When there’s competition, the customer wins.
I hope Marko makes time for me the next time he comes to LA, we have a ton to talk about and I could learn a lot from him. Thanks sincerely for making the time for the meeting and taking the time for the kind words on your blog. It was truly a pleasure to start to get to know you. I have a ton of respect for what you and your team have built.
Marko’s post reminds me something Rob Lord said once upon a time: “You’re…you’re…” (he was searching for the right word, as he often is, and he usually finds it, even if often he’s the only person in the room who knows what it means) “UNDISLIKEABLE.” I know, it sounds like a compliment, a good thing. But Rob meant it as a dis. Maybe he was right?
Finally, I like that Marko’s post paints me as a true California boy, preserved by skateboarding and non-meat-eating-ness. I moved here from Indiana 13.5 years ago and never looked back. Feels like home. Glad I fit in. Oh, and I know I look young and it really freaks people out that I have a college age kid. Facts to help with the puzzle: I was born 8/29/1972. Zoe was born 8/5/1990. The rest, is life.