Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Venture Capital and Music

Two of the most interesting VC plays in digital music right now : Pandora, through its Music Genome Project, is aiming to become the definitive music recommendation engine. Countless hours, dollars and music geek effort has been spent trying to map the unique properties of each song. The theory is that if you can track commonalities between songs, you can provide customers with a stream of genetically identical songs.

Can you predict musical taste, and also make money from it? And how do you provide for the quirkiness of individual taste? Some folks generally like jazz, for example, but may nonetheless be mesmerized by certain songs by, say, the Bay City Rollers (I don't care what you say, they were musical prophets).

This is a "swing for the fences" kind of investment, and you have to applaud the investors behind this venture for taking the risk.

LyricFind is, at this stage, a full lyric search engine. This is an important missing piece in the world of digital music search. LyricFind has managed to both obtain the necessary licenses and to also hit the market at a time when publishers are moving to actively enforce and protect these rights.

What I love about this company is the multiple points of pain it can alleviate. Full lyric search is not just a nice added feature to any digital music service or online store. It could be an important tool for parental monitoring and control of children's music downloads. At a recent gathering in D.C., I listened as a number of parents discussed using online lyric search to vet their children's downloads on a song by song basis. There's an immediate natural audience for the business while the company builds out the rest of its business. Best of all, it's Canadian. Go team!

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