I’ve had a few folks reach out to me recently for a company update, and suggest that we try and do an update periodically. Admittedly, I believe we should be doing just that, and given we have a smallish team, sometimes other priorities get in the way. So, I am going to make an effort to provide you with a regular update on how things are going.
The first thing I want to make clear to shareholders and VNUE followers alike is that VNUE is not a “short term” play. When I joined in 2016, I knew that this was going to be more of a marathon - based on the fact that we are tackling monumental problems that have existed for decades, in the case of music licensing especially. This is not simple technology, nor is it a simple business. It is all quite complex. But we have an amazing team that I am very proud to have working with me on our objectives. If anyone can do it, it is this team.
For those of you who may not read our press, we added Jim King to the team a few months ago as our CTO. Jim is a former “C” level executive at BMI, specifically in technology. He also is an entrepreneur and founder of a company called CoreRights, which had sought to work on direct licensing solutions for music. Jim brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to VNUE, not only because of his tenure at BMI and his understanding of their thinking, but also because he understands all the ins and outs of general music licensing in the real world. This was a huge add for us.
Another big win for us, as you may know, was landing Rob Thomas as a client for our consumer recorded products. Rob is the lead singer for Matchbox Twenty and is an international superstar. We are recording every show on his world tour, called “Chip Tooth Tour,” and releasing limited-edition, live CD sets to fans immediately afterward, as well as download cards and digital downloads via our set.fm technology.
Landing this deal did not come overnight. In fact, I have been working on it long before VNUE was even a thought. As some of you know, I have been doing live recording now for 15 years, through DiscLive Network, which is now VNUE’s exclusive partner, and/or through Abbey Road Live, which was the name that DiscLive took during the time we partnered with EMI. In fact - when you want to talk “marathon,” this is truly a perfect example. When I discovered what a cool product that the “instant live” recordings are, around 2003, I dove in head first. I have always believed that provide artists with additional revenue streams and the ability to control their own master recordings is hugely important. And in the early days, there was a lot of challenges, for example record labels worrying about our product affecting album sales, quality concerns, etc.
And through the years, we overcame a lot of those challenges, and in fact, through the natural evolution of the music industry, and digital technology, some of those challenges simply went away. As recorded music sales (CD sales) slipped, and streaming started taking off, we were already out there creating these experiential products, and doing “real” downloads, which paid off for artists and labels much better than traditional products.
So in essence, my VNUE marathon started 15 years ago, and is culminating in a company that is the vehicle to bring several important things together: music licensing and recognition, through Soundstr, and our consumer products - experiential products - which is what allowed me to get here in the first place.
I think what I am saying here is that those of you have invested, or taken interest, in VNUE, should be aware that the very short time that I’ve been involved, and my team, is nothing compared to the groundwork that has been laid before it. What may seem like an eternity - three years since I joined - is a very short time period compared with the 15 years that it took me to bring it to this point. And in those three short years we achieved monumental things on literally a shoestring budget:
Cleaned up the company entity which took approximately a year and a half.
Immediately leveraged DiscLive to create revenue opportunities for the company where none existed.
Acquired set.fm to enable the company’s original call to have a digital “instant live” solution, and immediately landed Rob Thomas as a client for the first set of small shows in New Jersey (which gave us momentum to land the entire tour this year).
Acquired Soundstr, which mirrored my own patents I had filed in regard to music identification. Soundstr was and is a huge win, and we are actively in development and testing, and have signed contracts.
Brought on Lou Mann, former GM of Capitol Records, and former president of House of Blues Media Properties
Brought on Jeff Zakim, former head of digital for EMI and Blue Note Records.
Brought on Jock Weaver, former president of Hard Rock Cafe International (who took that company public), and who also founded TBA Entertainment, one of the largest live entertainment companies at the time.
Brought on Jim King (above).
Recently, signed a very important deal with Pro Music Rights, a small but aggressive PRO (performing rights organization) who is requiring our Soundstr devices and technology be utilized for every licensee they sign.
Brought on John Madison, an experienced radio executive, as an advisor to the company, to help with our Soundstr model as it pertains to radio.
Brought on Nan and Bob Kingsley as advisors, who are deeply affiliated in country music as well as radio.
Announced the addition of Nick Lippman as an advisor to the company. Nick is half of the management team that manages Rob, as well as the late great David Bowie and others.
And there’s more.
My point here is all this occurred in a very short amount of time, with basically “bootstrap” level funding. And we are JUST getting started. The Rob tour is a catalyst for more and bigger tours. We are engaged in discussion on multiple fronts in regard to both more tours and Soundstr. It is frustrating because we cannot announce things before they happen due to being public, but with me knowing that YOU would like to know.
So please. Stay tuned, and bear in mind we are all “in it to win it”. And my commitment to you - as shareholders and/or fans of the company - is to do my absolute best to get us to the next level. There will be fluctuations in the share price, no doubt, but again this is a long term play (note to self: I should have bought Apple stock in 1991!) At this level, that is going to be normal. My plan - as I have stated publicly - is to build value and to get VNUE on to an exchange such as Nasdaq or Nynex, where the share price will correct itself and more accurately reflect our true value (we also know we are quite undervalued any way you look at it).
My team and I are all serious guys. We love music. We love technology. And most importantly, we like disrupting a business model that has been done the same way for a century. There is no reason that technology cannot change, help and improve it. Get artists and writers paid. Make it easier on the PROs. And create revenue streams for artists where none existed previously. We believe we have insanely valuable technology that once we hit our stride, will become apparent; and we have the team that knows what to do with it, and importantly, how to do it.
I appreciate you taking this ride with me. With us. It is a long ride, but as noted above, most of that ride started long before I became CEO of VNUE. :)
I hope I will see you at a show sometime, and I will make a point to get updates out when possible, on a regular basis.
In the meantime, rock on!