Paul-Rene Albertini is Chairman and co-founder of Marathon Artists. For this post we did a short interview with him on the music business today and Marathon Artists new music x tech startup accelerator
You’re one of the founders at Marathon Artists and also started MarathonArtist LABs which focuses on startups with applications for music. How did this come about ?
I also run a technology investment firm called Sushi Venture Partners which launched many startup accelerator programs focused on mediatech applications. Some with relevance to the music industry in its current transformation.
SushiVP & Marathon Artists have always had mutual exchanges in these areas, to identify novel ways of supporting their artists roster. We decided to build on this approach of serving the artists’ work by launching MarathonArtists LABs to support tech startups with their product development in music and entertainment in a six month program. Our first program titled “Tools for Artists and Music Managers” launched in January with six startups from the US, UK, Germany and Israel. The program will complete this month and we have organised a Demo Day on July 6th for our startups to showcase the pilots they are developing in music, awards, clients won and funds they’ve raised.
“ There’s never been so much music listened to and available everywhere and this is just the beginning. ”
You’ve worked in very senior music industry roles. How would you describe the music landscape today ?
There’s never been so much music listened to and available everywhere and this is just the beginning. This incredible expansion and passion for music globally cuts across all demographics, music genres and segments. It is spreading in a transgenerational mode, potentially with no geographic barriers as to where creation is initiated, or who by, without any preconceived views or filters between artists and their audiences. So in this era of distributed audiences we see the historical barriers that limited creation and exposure, totally lifted!
What a fascinating era for creators. This is generating so many exciting opportunities, so the “music business” in response to your question is about providing artists with tools to interact with their audience and ensuring that artists’ work get compensated if any value chain is activated through the interaction with their audience.
“ The only thing that matters is that through all these fascinating changes, the artist’s work is not taken for granted ”
Sounds great, is this a prevailing view in the music business ?
Please let’s not oversimplify. As long as creators are able to express themselves and can generate fair revenues from their work when they’ve found an audience I guess that is all what matters through whichever model. The only thing that matters is that through all these fascinating changes, the artist’s work is not taken for granted as usable (and abusable) just to leverage some new versus old value chains they are totally left out from.
Are tech startups disrupting the music business ?
Disruption is part of the music industry DNA. Through the ages every new piece of technology has “disrupted” the way music was created distributed and monetised. From the first printed musical scores a century ago to the latest participative/distributed audiences via streaming, music and musicians have experienced regular fundamental changes in expressing distributing and monetising their work.
All these changes have been great for opening up music to global and larger listener bases but has also constantly challenged how one must think about artists’ work exposure and monetisation.
I have always worked with admiration and respect for artists. Being an Artist is a fascinating but also a very difficult job you know…and this must be respected. I do believe that there is a constant need to adapt to new models to support what artists do, as long as their work is not reduced to a commodity to monetise someone else’s systems – and that goes for both newcomers as well as established artists.
To your question I believe startup innovations, emerging from the creative minds of a new generation of music users and lovers have a key role to play in helping artists to navigate these shifts and adapt to find better ways and meaningful value chain models.
“ At MarathonArtists LABs we’re starting to see novel approaches in artist collectives, coop models and live experiences… ”
What do you look for in startups at Sushi Venture Partners and MarathonArtists LABs ?
At MarathonArtists LABs we’re starting to see novel approaches in artist collectives, coop models and live experiences. As well as new monetisation through adtech, which we believe are creating the basis of new ecosystems that support artists at work and upholds the value of their creations.
“ We’ve achieved something unique to support artists while adding real value to the startups via commercial partnerships in music & entertainment ”
What have you been excited about recently ?
Working with the MarathonArtists label means we can make decisions fast. This has supported running a specialised six month accelerator focused on developing business for tech startups in the music business. I feel we’ve achieved something unique to support artists while adding real value to the startups via commercial partnerships in music & entertainment. Sounds like we are striking cords that are echoing the current needs. One of our startups just won the award at Midem a few weeks ago for example.
At our demo day we will present their client wins, awards, artist pilots they are developing, investments and share our experiences – I’m very much looking forward to meeting everyone.