In October, we held an exciting Founders Secrets event with the founders of 7Digital, the world's leading digital music and content technology platform. Since then, they've gone on to become Team members of ours, at our City Road location.
We spoke to Rob Bowley, Director of Technology at 7Digital, about the company, the industry, and more...
You guys had some very impressive growth from 2009-onwards (and possibly before?), how much of this would you attribute to the partnerships you made early on?
The most vital partnerships for us have always been those we have with our suppliers - the music rights holders. Beyond the obvious industry trend towards digital music and away from CDs, the huge growth we've seen in the last few years is down to the the arrival of smart phones and tablets. When companies such as Samsung, HP & Blackberry wanted to create music services for their devices, our breadth of global distribution rights (over 22 million tracks in over 40 territories worldwide) made us the obvious choice. So yes, our success over recent years is absolutely attributable to the relationships we've formed and maintained with those partners. Of course without the "Open API Platform" we made to allow us and our clients to build music services those relationships would be pretty useless!
Obviously mobile plays a huge part in your business, do you see 2013 being the year that mobile 'takes over'?
I think we passed that milestone some time ago to be honest. Look at it globally - countries like India have completely leap frogged the whole PC phase altogether. I even think "mobile" is the wrong way to be looking at it now. The breadth of devices people now use to connect to the internet or play media is quite staggering - you can now access your 7digital music locker from a car, television, phone, pc, tablet, even a fridge! The challenge for everyone today is which platforms to target as there are so bloody many! Within that context html/web-based services are still very compelling - most connected devices still have browsers and we're certainly pushing very hard to improve our 7digital.com website experience as well as our mobile apps.
You've got offices across the US and in Luxembourg, why did you decide to be headquartered in London?
I don't think there was much decision involved - both our co-founders were already based in London when they started 7digital over 8 years ago now (working at DotMusic). Being in London has huge advantages for us, particularly as the UK industry is so strong and the four major labels (EMI, Warner, Sony, Universal) all have a very big operational presence here, making European licensing negotiations far easier than if we were in another European city. Beyond that London's digital economy is doing well at drawing really talented people from across the globe, which is making up for the lack of people coming through the education system (but that's another story).
What is it about your job that you most love?
It's got to be all the really inspiring and talented people I get to work with. Also, the thrill of not having to wear a suit and tie to work every day still hasn't worn off.
We love to laugh at TechHub. Can you hit us with your best joke?
I'm afraid the only jokes I seem to remember are far too rude for publication. I'll try a music related one:
What does David Bowie do after he goes swimming?