We talked to Julian Sorsaburu and Miguel Warlies, Co-CEOs of BeatHey, about how they are helping artists cope during the pandemic. This is what they said:
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these Covid-19 times?
Miguel Warlies: The situation here in Latin America and in Argentina, where we are from and where we live, is difficult. It was a complex period of adaptation, living moments of uncertainty and fear, passing then to understanding the context better and starting to live with tranquility and awareness. This is our personal life as well as in the work aspect. The important thing is to understand that we all live in a situation of change, and it is our responsibility to accept it and act accordingly.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded BeatHey.
Julian Sorsaburu: I was a gastronomic entrepreneur, artist in my teens, and music lover. The idea of BeatHey was born when I got deeply involved in 2016 with the electronic scene in Buenos Aires. I witnessed the reality of independent artists and set as a personal goal to work to change it. Thus, the idea of BeatHey began to be born, the first step was the streaming and music sales platform.
In 2017, BeatHey was selected to participate in the Buenos Aires City Government incubator. There I met Miguel Warlies, Systems Engineer and mentor assigned to the venture by the incubator. Currently, we both lead BeatHey.
Since then, BeatHey began to open up to the world with new proposals and a clear objective.
How does BeatHey innovate?
Miguel Warlies: Our goal is to generate a root change in the industry. To transform the artist into a protagonist, a maker of his destiny. Today technology allows us to move towards this goal. As much as we see changes in the consumption of music (superficial), the origin of this content is still managed by a few companies and without observing an evolution that benefits the artist. We are working hard in order to start making changes in the basis of the industry.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and, how are you coping?
Julian Sorsaburu: The pandemic worked in our favor. The artists were hit hard, with the prohibition to perform live. At that moment, our decision as a company was to generate the greatest amount of monetary benefits for them. We needed to “put money in their pockets” so that they could face this adverse situation, motivated by this new possibility of monetization.
We launched pay-per-stream, which we had planned for 2021. We converted the prize of a quarterly contest to cash. We invested in mkt to give more exposure to the artists. We held 3 streaming festivals in which approximately 10 artists participated in each one, receiving payment for it, in addition to the exposure.
As a result, the consumption of BeatHey content grew by 400%.
Today we are very proud of the decisions made last year, now working to increase this growth in the coming months, with new proposals.
Did you have to make difficult choices and, what are the lessons learned?
Miguel Warlies: We made decisions that were emotionally difficult but business wise. We left our comfort zone aiming for a new horizon. The decision to start paying for streaming, without having the platform ready yet, without having the operation defined for this type of activity, was difficult, but the situation that the artists were and are going through gave us the strength to go forward and solve the problems in the best possible way, sometimes far from ideal.
The changes we implemented, we see today that they had a good result. We made a good analysis of the situation to understand the needs that this new context brought us.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Julian Sorsaburu: We started to manage the company remotely, which entails changing the way we interact among the different members and stakeholders. It requires more commitment and order, and together with the technological tools available, we were able to do it.
We had to become familiar with video streaming of our events and adopt it as a new monetization tool that is here to stay.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Miguel Warlies: When we are asked about this, we name Bandcamp, Spotify, Tidal, Deezer as competitors. Our content is complementary to what can be found on most of these platforms, as we work with independent artists.
Our strategy to stay in the game is always focused on generating opportunities for artists by relying on technological advances that allow us to scale. In the near future, we will be moving forward with blockchain-based solutions to provide artists with new monetization models and independence.
Your final thoughts?
Julian Sorsaburu: We believe that we are at the exact moment to bring change to reality. We are in a world where decentralization is becoming more and more important. Technological solutions are beginning to empower the end-user, removing intermediaries and replacing their value proposition through technology with more transparency and generating more trust.
We work every day for a change that not only affects the industry but the world in which we live, in the people who want to live doing and dedicating themselves to what they love. This is how we work.
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