Music Traveler is a startup from the creative industries sector and is one of the successful examples at the interface between digital and creative industries. What does the company stand for?
“Music Traveler is the platform that helps you find and book music practice, rehearsal, performance and recording spaces all in one place. We bring musicians to the forefront as entrepreneurs.”
How can the entrepreneurs maintain the good-humoured, laid-back attitude we see in campaign videos, pursue their careers as artists, and market their startups internationally simultaneously? How does the team see the future in the creative industries? Find out all in this interview with Aleksey Igudesman, whom we had the pleasure of meeting on stage at a panel with his co-founder and a bit of coaching.
Musician as entrepreneur
Dear Aleksey, at Music Traveler you are first and foremost fantastic artists on the international stage with a far-reaching performance in countless concerts. Where did you get your entrepreneurial gene? How did it come to the start of Music Traveler?
With Igudesman & Joo I’ve been travelling all over the world for more than 15 years, and what we do is comparable to a business. In my opinion, every artist is his own company. We also write about this in our latest book about creativity, “Save the World.” One chapter in the book is also about Music Traveler.
I had the idea for Music Traveler while walking in the city park with my partner at the time. She is a pianist and when we were traveling, which was often, we always had the problem of finding a room to play music. It is the same with my musical partner Hyung-ki Joo. We are also always looking for rehearsal rooms.
How did the idea become a business? Did anyone help you with the actual implementation?
I approached my good friend and successful entrepreneur Julia Rhee with my idea. She immediately understood what it was about, as she used to be a pianist as well, and even in Vienna or New York always had problems playing music without disturbing the neighbours. She became co-founder and CEO of Music Traveler. Before our launch, we still did detailed research to understand the music industry in its entirety and not just the market for some pianists. We quickly realized that there was a huge demand across all instruments, ensembles, and bands as well as a wide variety of genres to find space to make music.
After seeing the potential and the huge market size, we gathered a great team around us. With many good friends and acquaintances as stable business partners, our company then grew in earnest.
You are successful in several international markets and are continuing to expand. How do you choose your markets, how do you go about it?
Vienna, as the music capital, was the perfect start for us. We received great help from the business agency, for which we are extremely grateful. Then came the logical expansion into German-speaking countries. Then it was on to Italy, where I travel a lot, have numerous contacts, and where demand is also very high. The next steps are logical, because of the size of the market, New York and London, where we have already started offering rooms. In England, I also went to the Yehudi Menuhin School, so I have many valuable contacts.
And right after that came Korea and Japan, where the demand for music rooms is constantly high. Here we also have valuable contacts, thanks to WKO and the goSeoul program, which we participated in at the end of 2019. In addition, my co-founder and CEO of Music Traveler, Julia Rhee was born in Korea herself and knows the market very well. Our illustrious Ambassadors also help us expand into the different markets.
Artist and startup under one hat
Well-known artists recommend Music Traveler, they sometimes take part in promotional videos, which are in a class of their own and show a great atmosphere. How do you balance artist career and startup?
The combination with my music career works wonderfully, as I forge more partnerships along the way and recruit new exceptional musicians and well-known personalities as supporters, such as Billy Joel, Hans Zimmer, Yuja Wang, or even John Malkovich, with whom I’ll be traveling a lot in the near future with my project called “The Music Critic”. They all know the problem of finding rooms in which to rehearse. With Music Traveler, we’re fixing that problem and letting music into more and more people’s lives.
The future of the music business
How do you see the future in the music and creative industries? Business models are changing – is everything getting better or worse?
We are actually very positive. Julia Rhee and I notice how much is going on in the music and creative industries. The demand for music is getting bigger and the market is growing as a result. For us at Music Traveler, it’s a very positive time, because we notice that more and more music is being made. This is exactly what we want to promote because in my opinion creativity and music are two of the most important things that make us human!
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