Startups interested in anything media/entertainment sit in this unfortunate purgatory. No one will do a deal with you until you are huge. You get huge by enabling people to do things they couldn’t do before… which usually means bending/breaking/discovering the law.
Mr. Cohen has hit the nail on the head on this one, in his post on the Universal Music vs YouTube clucking. I quote:
Have a good idea for a business employing music? Try to be reasonable and ask for permission? You won’t get it. You’ll spin your wheels, wasting time and money, and eventually be forced to go out of business, or launch on such a limited, hamstrung basis, that you’ll end up with a site/service that no one wants to use….
So act brazenly, steal with impunity. Maybe, like the principals of Hummer Winblad, you’ll be sued personally for your efforts, but you’ll go down in the history books as bringing the future to the people, as pushing the envelope, as doing a good thing.
Without Napster, there’s no iTunes Music Store.
Without the Rio, there’s no iPod.
Don’t ask! Hell, record execs are too busy in marketing meetings figuring out how to get their wares placed in the few existing slots on radio so they don’t get fired to pay attention to your wacky idea until it gets traction.
Its good stuff. Read more.