This is post #6 about the Qloud experience. The previous post was about Developing our service in Romania.
We had launched the world’s first music search service that searched on tags and usage. It was revolutionary. The problem was that nobody cared. The amount of use we had was small. Granted, we didn’t iterate on it much and maybe over time usage would have increased, but out of the gates it was DOA.
The few thousand customers we had we talked to and grabbed feedback from. They wanted more. Just a list of songs wasn’t enough. They wanted everything. Specifically:
- On-demand music. They see a track, they want to click and play it right then and right there (in the browser)
- Major label music – all the popular stuff for the 4 major music labels
- Indie label music – all the niche stuff from the dozens of indie labels
- Unlimited music – they wanted no limit to what they could do (unlike radio stations)
- Free. They didn’t want to pay because the alternative at the time (Kazaa, Bit Torrent, etc.) were all free
So, we decided to focus on delivering a full-featured music streaming service instead of a music search service. It was a bold move, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
It turns out we were right. This was the right direction as you’ll see in a later post. However, it created different problems such as:
- How do you build a business around free music? (answer: you can’t)
- How do you make the record labels happy if you’re not charging? (answer: you can’t)
- Technically, how do you get the music to serve to the users? We’ll address in a later post.
I learned a valuable lesson here in that you shouldn’t be afraid to drastically change your service if your usage is low. Don’t hang on to past work just because of the sunk costs. I’ll credit Toby for being super bold. Toby is not one to do things half-assed. He likes to pick a direction and go full steam in that direction. It’s tough to make a decision to throw away a year’s worth of work.
This would come in handy later when we did something similar at Kapost.