October 03, 2014

Jared Leto on why investing in Spotify isn't screwing over bands like his




October 2, 2014, 1:45pm EDT


Actor/musician Jared Leto has been showing up a lot lately as a startup investor. On Wednesday he showed up at the Techmanity conference in San Jose where he explained why he invested in Spotify's music-streaming service.

Jared Leto, who has battled music label "greed" as part of the band Thirty Seconds to Mars, sees no contradiction between his pro-musician stance and his investments in Spotify's song-streaming service.

The award-winning actor/musician has been popping up a lot recently as an investor, most recently in Reddit's $50 million funding, and he talked about his business philosophy on Wednesday in San Jose at the Techmanity conference.

"It's interesting. As an actor you actually get paid for your work," he said. "A successful makeup tutorial artist on YouTube will make more than a band will ever make, month-to-month, on YouTube. That's because the labels take all the money and they don't share it with artists."

"I've never been one to change my appetite based on someone else's horrible business model. If a mountain is difficult to climb, you don't not climb it."

"I am compelled to make music and to share music with people and make things," he said. "I'm not going to stop doing that just because there is some corruption out there."

He made a film about the subject called Artifact after EMI/Virgin sued his band for $30 million. After selling million of albums, the company said 30 Seconds to Mars was millions in debt.

"I would never categorize Spotify as a company that is perpetuating a fraud on artists. That's the wrong way to look at that company, personally," he said.

Leto said a comparison between Silicon Valley startups and bands illuminates the perversity of the music business.

"The problem doesn't necessarily lie with Spotify. It lies with the labels that are refusing to make clear and transparent deals with artists. Could you you imagine if they went to Mark Zuckerberg or Sergey Brin or Larry Page or the other brilliant people in Silicon Valley and said, "Hey, we're going to give you some seed money but we are going to take 80 percent of your company and you have to pay back all the debt first before we pay any of your 25 percent profits? That's what the deal is, roughly."

Still, Leto said he'd rather work to correct the situation than abstain.

"Certainly the monies that are diverted to artists from streaming are pretty embarassing and that needs to be corrected," he said. "But there are a lot of problems and there is a great deal of corruption in our country. But I'm not about to move somewhere else and give up my citizenship. We all have ownership in this country as citizens. I think it is kind of similar. It's a great company to be a part of, to listen, to learn and contribute. I believe artists should have a seat at the table where the future of this digital architecture that is being drafted is taking place."

In addition to Spotify and Reddit, Leto's recent investments include Robinhood, the Redwood City-based developer of a mobile app that allows stock trading without commissions; San Francisco-based B2B marketing company Radius and cloud-based HR company Zenefits and Southern California-based private jet travel company SurfAir.

Leto also founded several startups: The Hive, which helps bands manage social media; Adventures in Wonderland, a VIP concert access business; and VyRT, which live-streams concerts.

He explained why he has jumped into startup founding and investing, on top of his music career and Academy Award-winning acting, saying he feels compelled to do it.

"I think you have to be so drawn to your work that it's no longer your work. It's your life," he said. "I don't really question my motives. I act upon them."

The appeal in startups is the same as in music and acting, he said. "It's creating something from nothing and sharing it with the world. That seems to be a common theme, not specific to me. I'm an artist. I make things and I see a lot of art in technology. I see a lot of creativity in technology and the people who make this world. There is a lot of common ground there."


Source: Upstart Business Journal.


1 comment:

tasha said...

Wow I never knew Jared leto did so much in his life its amazing how much he gives back

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