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#SXSWi: Technology Startups & Emerging Bands Are One & The Same

People often ask me why we integrate emerging music into our marketing, events and brand building efforts and man, I relish in being asked. This very conversation represents the entire strategy behind it.

The reason? Technology startups are no different than emerging bands.

Think about it. You start out with an idea and a goal, whether it’s a band name or great song or a company or product. You are banking on building a ‘stick it to the man’ career in the digital music startup age where companies like Kickstarter, Soundcloud, Pandora and Spotify disrupt the status quo (yes, a couple Dyn clients littered in there).

You set out to build a following, to monetize, to build stability, to build a brand. The shared goal is to build a profession and lifestyle doing something immensely enjoyable that you believe in without hesitation — all in an effort to take the world by storm.

In both cases, some stay bootstrapped and independent. Some decide to take venture capital or sign with a major label. For some, it’s a choice. For some, it’s just the way it is. In both cases, you “Keep Calm And Carry On” and stay true to your art, whatever form it may take.

It’s like our SXSW ’12 headliner Dawes sings: “It’s a little bit of everything.

Jay Nash
Jay Nash rocks the Dyn stage - January 2012

Recent DynTini ‘Music Meets Tech’ performer and 2011 SXSW 138 Listening Lounge co-headliner Jay Nash, who is 10+ years into his world travels towards his ultimate quest to play stadium shows, sums up the correlation nicely:

“For as long I have been making music, the business of making money & making music has been in a constant state of flux. It’s exciting for me to see a tech company taking such an interest in music. Our trajectories are so similar, we have a lot to learn from one and other.”

Watch last year’s SXSW 2011 highlight reel and you’ll what I mean. Side note: don’t miss this year’s event if you’re in Austin, TX, Tuesday. If you believe you’re VIP, then you are. Email me for the promotion code and join a killer list of people to rub elbows with.

Is It Working?

By aligning with emerging bands, Dyn has developed a similar image and style that a traveling band or artist represents. There is a commitment level to the craft that is really hard to fake and unbelievably admirable to an outsider looking in. You either have the drive or you don’t. Startups aren’t for everyone and neither is the life of an emerging artist.

Have you ever watched one of our event highlight reels, listened to our hold music, seen our trade show booth or attended a ‘Music Meets Tech’ networking event? The key to these efforts lay in their authenticity. We intertwine ourselves deeply and are motivated by many of the songs lyrics like Jay’s inspirational “TilI I Get Through”.

Could IBM, Verisign, Neustar, Akamai or Oracle really get away with this approach or would they need to align with commercially established artists? Does that even relate to their audience? Does that relate to their customers, made up of web enterprises looking to be the next big Internet success story? They wouldn’t stand a chance.

1band 1brand Connection

Bob Seger and Ford. French Connection and Ray Lamontagne. Chipotle and Coldplay/Willie Nelson. It’s easy for large, established brands to align tightly with large, established artists because of one unifying force: money. There is a certain loss of credibility for both when it happens, but they don’t care as they are making massive loot together reaching widespread audiences. Music purists hate it almost as much as DNS technology purists hate SOPA. It’s simply not genuine.

Why do you think Adele is such a global sensation? No glitz, no glam. She never sold out. Sure, she’s made it HUGE, but she’s done it her way. The UK megastar is proof that you can do it your way and achieve massive success. At this point, she wouldn’t dare tarnish her brand alongside some big company’s attempt at “cool relevance.”

Inspiring, right? Kind of reminds me of global phenomenons like Twitpic, Angry Birds and Groupon (all Dyn clients).

But what do you do when you’re a brand like Dyn? You align with emerging bands that look just like you do and lock arms. It’s the same market growth strategy we take when it comes to targeting startups to use our services. We go after companies that look, sound and feel just like us.

In 1band 1brand’s case (disclaimer – this is my side project), we’re aligning music and fashion brands like Bed Stu or Tikkr or PuraVida. Never heard of them? Good! These are emerging fashion brands who don’t have massive budgets, but are the next big thing in your closet. Go ahead and sign up if you’re into both or connect if you want to align with a rocking new band and mimic the Dyn approach.

No doubt with the right brand, the sky is the limit for technology startups and emerging bands. They’re one and the same.

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Kyle York
Whois: Kyle York

Kyle York is GM & VP, Product Strategy, and has been a long-time executive, having joined in 2008. Over the years, he has held go-to-market leadership roles in worldwide sales, marketing, and services. In his current role, Kyle focuses on overall corporate strategy, including: positioning and evangelism, new market entry, strategic alliances and partnerships, M&A, and business development. Outside of Oracle Dyn, Kyle is an angel investor, entrepreneur, and advisor in several startups.

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