Thoughts from Alex White at Next Big Sound

Last week I had the chance to sit down with Alex White, CEO of Next Big Sound. We spent a few minutes talking about the bootstrap stage of Next Big Sound, its trek through Tech Stars and the year following.

Next Big Sound started during some rough economic times which almost forced the close of the company just before it was accepted into Tech Stars.

“I quit my job the same week as a major market crash,” said White.

The first year of Next Big Sound consisted of its three founders working out of a house in Chicago, where White slept on a couch for several months during the first major iteration of NBS. Prior to its current model, White described Next Big Sound as a “fantasy sports league for the music industry.”

“Each of us were continually fascinated with the question of ‘How does a band become famous?’”

The way by which NBS tried to answer that question changed dramatically during the company’s time at Tech Stars. Shortly before closing the company, acceptance into Tech Stars gave White and his team “a second chance at life” to reinvent how Next Big Sound would approach the music industry.

Shortly after acceptance into the tech startup accelerator, Next Big Sound dumped its old model and spent several weeks contemplating and ideating a new business model, this time focused on providing data and analytics to music industry professionals.

The free version of the new software started collecting data just 5 weeks into the 13 week Tech Stars program last year. Since then, NBS has grown to track  more than 700,000 online artist profiles which have generated more than a billion unique data points. Subscribers can get weekly notifications reporting on the online activity surrounding specific band profiles.

“When we started, we wanted to reverse engineer the billboard charts, but you just can’t go back in time.”

Now with a full year’s worth of data under its belt and a growing list of online platforms, NBS might get its wish.

“We’ve seen bands go from 50 plays a day to over 500,000 in that time.”

Band managers, producers and other industry professionals interested in “the why” of such quick growth can subscribe to Next Big Sound Premiere, a music analytics software service which gives context to the data.

Going forward, White looks to more data and continually increasing user involvement to drive success.

“We want to solidify our place as the standard of music industry data.”

As quickly as they’ve gathered data sources and a backlog of online social media activity, they might do just that..

About the Author:
Andrew leads the TEDxBoulder, Boulder Startup Week and Ignite Boulder efforts and has worked in startups for ten years. He blogs about startups, bootstrapping, events and triathlon at and you can follow him on twitter here.

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