We talked to Steve Bainbridge on how Beatsuite has been providing royalty free music to some of the best companies and brands in the world for the last 15 years.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Steve Bainbridge: Great, thanks. We’re having a good time at home and making the most of it.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Beatsuite.
Steve Bainbridge: As an obsessed bedroom DJ and music producer finishing up music college in Newcastle in 98, I had an idea to create an online music library. The internet was in its infancy, and I had some ideas about where it would go. My idea was to assemble a great collection of modern dance music tracks that could be licensed by businesses and brands for promotional media.
Beatsuite.com was eventually founded in 2003 after a few years of trying to formulate the idea, create business plans, and raising a small amount of finance (£5k). It took years to get going. I also attended Durham University Business School and completed an entrepreneurship program. It really helped formulate my ideas and thinking into a more structured roadmap for my business and future plans.
How does Beatsuite innovate?
Steve Bainbridge: We pay close attention to the customer experience, user interface, communications, and sales flow. We try to minimize and simplify.
These are the essential elements of a good customer experience in the digital domain. Make it easy and pleasant for customers, and they will thank you in business.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Steve Bainbridge: Well, it’s pretty tricky. With online services, people tend to think it’s easy – it’s all online, right? Actually, it’s all about good people and developing ideas. Not being able to be together has been really tough. Hopefully, we will be able to go about normal life again soon.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Steve Bainbridge: Sometimes, you can be flying, and everything is great. It’s all going very fast. Other times things can be slow, frustrating, and difficult. Learn to deal with it. Be solid and adaptable. Cut back when necessary. Plan for the long haul. It takes 10 years to become proficient in anything.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Steve Bainbridge: Business can be full-on. It requires everything from you. It takes over. You become a machine. You don’t realize it when you’re on stress level 5 all the time. It’s kinds of a side effect of becoming the engine of the business.
I think some people have a better temperament and cope with it better than I do. Getting away from it does help, so I go out mountain biking or play computer games.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Steve Bainbridge: Since we started 20 years ago, the internet has transformed dramatically. The royalty-free music space is densely populated with many music libraries and sites from the small right through to YouTube’s own music library. In that sense, it is daunting. Beatsuite.com has managed to carve out space with a solid and reliable customer base of businesses, creative professionals from across all kinds of industries and sectors by being ourselves.
Staying in the game is a constant process of developing who we are and defining ourselves uniquely. How can we be better and help our customers more? How can we attract new customers? That’s hard to figure out, and the competition space is just rife too.
Your final thoughts?
Steve Bainbridge: Business is tough, but the rewards are real. It’s not for the faint of heart or the dreamers.
I’ve been lucky enough to have had a supportive family to which I am eternally grateful. If you are yearning to be the boss or have ideas for success, I offer this advice.
Think of what success looks like. What does Monday morning look like when you’ve ‘made it’? Is it money, time, or lifestyle you seek?
Money is currency, it’s like air and will come and go. You need only so much of it to breathe. What comes after that?
Take advice from the qualified and read the wise. No-one can stop you on your journey. You can be anything you want.