Lots of speculation that I am leaving eMusic because I either don’t believe in the business anymore or I was asked to leave. I wanted to set the record straight (seems to be a theme for me); neither of these is true.
For eMusic, our success cannot be understated. In the past five years, we have defied all expectations to grow an indie-only music retailer from $7M to $70M in revenue. We increased subscribers more than 5x from where we started. We took a broken business from Vivendi Universal and turned it into the second largest digital music retailer in the world, on top of a newly enhanced targeted direct marketing machine. The team we assembled at eMusic responsible for these great feats remains focused on even greater accomplishment. I will remain with them as a board member and adviser. I will help select my replacement. I remain committed to the mission we set out to achieve: to build the largest stand-alone digital entertainment retailer focused on super-serving buyers over the age of 25. I think my contributions over the past five years to the digital music industry through eMusic remain well chronicled. I’m just ready for my next set of challenges.
My passion is building small companies into bigger ones. I love using the disruptive forces of technology to create new players in the value chain of media and technology industries. I like working with entrepreneurs who see the world differently than everyone else. I love exploiting the inefficiencies of markets. And I enjoy building value by taking advantage of incumbents.
In particular, the digital media landscape is highly disjointed. We are really only in the first stage of the transition from physical to digital media, and with this continued migration, we will see more disruption. New York City has a vibrant entrepreneurial community with great strength in media. The proximity of the big media companies, Madison Avenue, and of course Silicon Alley combine to form an ecosystem in need of more venture support. Most VCs in New York do not focus on these areas, and entrepreneurs are forced to head out of NY to find top tier alternatives.
That is all about to change. In a few weeks, we will announce the firm I am joining and its juxtaposition with my passions and the opportunity discussed here will become clear.
If you are an entrepreneur focused on any of the verticals around digital media, from advertising technology to consumer services, from original content to entertainment retailing, from mobile media to measurement platforms, from web 2.0 technologies to social media, please drop me a line. I’d love to know what you are up to.
So, as I shift some of my focus to working with other entrepreneurs to grow their vision into highly successful companies, I thank those who have helped me get to where I am. I look forward to more challenges ahead.