Crush Ventures’ Andrew Kahn On Finding Music Tech’s ‘Next Big Thing’

Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.
Crush Ventures’ Andrew Kahn
Photo courtesy of Crush Ventures

On this episode of the LA Venture podcast, Crush Ventures Head Andrew Kahn discusses the technology driving sales and engagement for artists, the future of social platforms in the music industry and the similar ways in which artists and entrepreneurs innovate.

When Crush Ventures was formed in the year 2000, an offshoot of technology and talent management firm Crush Management, the idea was to invest in “the intersection of artists, their cache, their interests,” according to Kahn. Now, the firm has a slightly different vision.

“Really, I think the focus is companies building the future of how we're gonna find fans, engage fans and monetize fans,” he said.

NFTs are one such way — in terms of taking intellectual property and using it to connect with fans and build on it. But Kahn said the company is now starting to rethink how they use the blockchain.

“I do think where we're betting now we’re much more interested in solutions using blockchain as a core technology to solve real business problems,” he said. “It isn't about necessarily, like, buying an NFT as a collectible or a point of access because at some point there'll be resale value; It's the technology of a smart contract [as] a replacement for whatever we're doing today.”

For Crush, building on artists’ success means keeping an eye on “innovative media” that could reshape how the business works.

“So, new ways for people to interact [with] and consume content, IP exploitation — which sounds kind of brutal and not sexy — but new ways for us to monetize the existing assets that our artists are creating,” he said.

In a world where going viral on Spotify or TikTok can make or break an artist, distribution is key.

“Just because you make a great song doesn’t mean the world’s gonna hear it,” Khan said. “You need great product and great distribution.”

Kahn said there are two parts to engaging fans: One is monitoring engagement around an artist and their work, and another is figuring out the best way to put content in front of potential fans.

“We’re looking for tools for our team to be able to track and monitor and drive better engagement, right?” Kahn said. “Market these people more effectively, and on the other side, we’re looking for the next consumer who hasn’t heard of Green Day.”

Artists are already spending more time engaging with their fans on social media. Kahn believes the next “big thing” in music will be an interactive platform that allows fans to stream music with a community — or even with the artists themselves.

“I do think the future of streaming will be an MMO [massively multiplayer online game] experience,” he said. “It won't be a Spotify — the next great big streaming company is going to look a lot different from Spotify and Apple.”

dot.LA Editorial Fellow Kristin Snydercontributed to this post.

Click the link above to hear the full episode, and subscribe to LA Venture on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

This podcast is produced by L.A. Venture. The views and opinions expressed in the show are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of dot.LA or its newsroom.

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