#StartupIsland: Record Mob & Jay Sparrow

Welcome to our first edition of #StartupIsland, a column in which the Pirates will be diving into some of the most exciting and innovative startup companies emerging on the scene today!

In our first feature we have the pleasure of picking the brain of Jay Sparrow, the founder and content director of Record Mob.

Record Mob is an emerging music discovery app and multi channel network, and it’s seriously wicked. The app hosts a Grid of curated video content from a slew of global hosts. These talented characters typically cover emerging artists and the latest in lifestyle and cultural topics. The app also connects users to their favorite hosts via live stream.

Whether they’re backstage with a band in Brooklyn or partying in Paris, the Record Mob always sticks together. New songs are provided daily via a daily drop for all those music lovers itching for fresh jams.

In a music and entertainment market that has become more saturated than ever, companies have been looking to influencers to connect their brands with new audiences, as well as to engage their current fans. Record Mob is positioning itself to be the thought leader in the new school of independent music vanguards, and the Mob is almost ready to mobilize worldwide. Brands and music festivals will soon be flocking to partner with Record Mob with hopes of joining forces to create the coolest content on the web.

You can read our conversation with Jay Sparrow, a seasoned musician and veteran in the Canadian music business, below! The dude even has a Wiki page so you know he’s legit.

IBMDt4E9-150x150 Thanks for speaking with us, Jay! For some reason I was under the impression that the 1st rule of Record Mob was to not talk about it.

maxresdefault-4 Haha! Well, there’s something interesting to this question actually. Historically in business when you had a fresh or potentially disruptive idea it was in your best interest to keep it hidden as long as possible while development occurred. However, in the modern tech arena, I feel like that ethos has gone by the wayside.

Leaders of new tech initiatives are speaking more freely with each other regarding projects. Information is being shared readily, and collectively we are seeing a progressive return on this evolution. The industry at large grows at an exponential rate as the lines of communication broaden.

So, in other words, I am happy to discuss Record Mob. At the end of the day, authenticity rules now and when you are the spark of an idea then it is baked in.

IBMDt4E9-150x150 How long has the Record Mob project been marching, and where’s it marching too?

maxresdefault-4 We have been working on our Multi Platform Network for three years now. Our team has been expanding largely over the last 10 months as we get closer to launch. We are marching towards our goal of being a strong cultural voice in 2016 and beyond.

IBMDt4E9-150x150 It seems that this first wave is already built up with interesting individuals in different locations worldwide. How does the diversity of the crew affect the product and the company culture?

maxresdefault-4 For us, diversity of location, talent and personality is key to building a strong community. We spend a lot of time seeking and vetting our hosts, but in the same breath we allow them a great deal of freedom in creating their distinct voice. It’s important to us that the whole team shares our socially conscious values and makes good decisions regarding the type of content they are contributing. We want true tastemakers with their ears to the ground supporting the next big thing.

IBMDt4E9-150x150 Live streaming is going to be an even bigger buzzword in 2016 than it was last year. How important is that aspect of the experience to the platform?

maxresdefault-4 I am most excited about this element of our platform. I feel like it’s the Wild West a bit with regards to live content. Styles and winning formulas are just being developed now and creatives are staking their claim in the space. It is our intention to have a robust selection of styles to choose from within our platform. Data will dictate what direction is responding  our audience.

IBMDt4E9-150x150 How has your music career affected your business mentality when it comes to the startup space?

maxresdefault-4 I was coming up in the music industry basically as it was crashing. The fast moving tech world seemed to be cannibalizing the slow moving music space. I was, at times, sad for the state of music sales’ decline, but at the same time excited for what tech was enabling the independents.

The music industry was, and still is, very much in flux as far as global earnings go. Being that Record Mob is artist owned and directed, it is clearly our mandate to seek out and support new revenue streams for artists worldwide. Plus, we want to exist as a gateway to a larger audience for up and coming talent.

We have nurtured some great relationships with many of the large independent labels and we will continue to listen to them and their artists to see how we can all navigate to a more fruitful future.

IBMDt4E9-150x150 What do the Canadian artists of today have to offer to the global music scene? What bands or acts are you most hyped about right now?

maxresdefault-4 For the last year or so, Canadian artists have been a commanding presence at the top of the global charts. Artists like Drake, the Weeknd and Bieber have been killing it. But beyond just the pop megastars, Canada has an unending well spring of talent. Right now I am super stoked on The Arkells, July Talk, Corb Lund, Owls By Nature, Scenic Route To Alaska and brand new indie-r&b singer/producer HILL.

IBMDt4E9-150x150 We’ve got to ask: why the black and white aesthetic?

maxresdefault-4 I am a minimalist. I’ve always been attracted to the confinement of black and white imagery. It forces the content maker to use their creativity to fight their way out of the inherent boundaries of grey scale. I also like that when our content proliferates though social media sites you know exactly who made it. It’s our calling card.

IBMDt4E9-150x150 It seems to us like Record Mob could work in all sorts of industry along with music. Is the sky the limit or is the scope narrower?

maxresdefault-4 We definitely don’t consider ourselves a music only platform. Because we are owned and operated by musicians it will always be at our core, but we are expanding presently to deliver a wide variety of content. Expect to see Grid videos featuring the most current travel, food, fashion, technology, visual art, sports, comedy and opinion driven editorial pieces.

IBMDt4E9-150x150 What’s your favorite part of working on the venture? What keeps you driven to  push the envelope?

maxresdefault-4 My favorite part of working on the Record Mob venture has been watching our community grow. Being on the inside of a movement is exciting and the mutual exchange of ideas has pushed us all forward. I am driven by the sense of belonging I feel in our group between our users, our content creators and our management team. It is an open and symbiotic relationship and its growing rapidly.

IBMDt4E9-150x150 Any advice for the young entrepreneurs applying their own energy into their personal passion projects?

maxresdefault-4 Yeah. A few things that have helped me have been:

When I have felt overwhelmed by the size of what has needed to be accomplished I simply broke down the tasks to manageable events. Solve a series of smaller manageable events and you’ll find you’re accomplishing the grander task.
Be open. Discuss ideas with as many intelligent voices as you can. Be adaptable and pivot towards growth with ease. Your idea will likely evolve through many iterations before you connect and knock it out of the park.
It’s healthy to look on your projects with a comfortable distance from yourself. What I mean by that is that it’s easy to get in your own way when you see your project as an extension of yourself. For clear objectivity it’s essential to allow your work not be a reflection of you as a person.

That’s all folks! Make sure to download the Record Mob app on the Apple and Android stores to keep up with the best curated music content out there, and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat for all Mob updates.

Now be sure to stream Sparrow’s exclusive VP playlist below!