Need a business idea? Steal this one…

Resources and Tools

I’m always amazed at how many people say they don’t have a good idea for a business. I truly believe everyone has at least one (probably multiple) million-dollar ideas – it’s just doing something about it.

I love reading all sorts of different sites, magazines, etc. And sometimes ideas just pop out at me and I can’t do anything with all of them so here’s one I saw the other day that I think has great potential…

Inside Game Informer magazine they had a feature piece about how the company behind Rock Band, Harmonix, is now going to release something called “Rock Band Network“.  And what this will do is give individual bands, publishers and artists the tools needed to create Rock Band tracks and sell them through Xbox live. Now you don’t need to be a Green Day to get your music out to the legions of fans who are looking for more tracks to play.

If you read the article I scanned for you (below) it gives a good account of why this was created thanks to a backlog of bands wanted to get into the game (read: demand). And they wanted to get into the game because they were seeing massive upswings in music sales once they hit in there.

The other interesting thing you’ll read about in the article is the amount of work required to make your band’s track into the game is “not trivial”. That’s good news as I’ll explain in a sec.

So here’s the idea…drum roll please…

“Done for Them Service for Bands, Musicians and Artists”

Now let’s give our new fledgling business a cool name – I dunno – how about “Rock Starmakers 2.0″? I’m sure you can do better but we’ll go with it for now.

If you are into RockBand and into music – this might be the perfect idea for you. I really think this would crush it since we already talked about the demand and the fact it’s pretty difficult for a novice to do this on their own. Now this does have some downfalls – namely there isn’t that much leverage in it since you are trading time for money – but I’ll fix that in a second.

Basic offer – $xxx for getting your track into Xbox Live and playable on Rockband.

If you want to jazz up the deal and give yourself a little more leverage I’d add a success bonus. Rockband Network is set to pay out 30% of every dollar they receive – so why couldn’t your agreement also state that you get X% of every payout. Just like a music publisher or record label. I’d suggest you collect the money and provide a monthly deposit to your artists (but that’s up to you and I’m not an attorney, nor do I play one on TV.)

If I were making a bet, any band or artist that had a few bucks and realized the millions of people who play Rock Band would be all over this deal. And the element of scarcity you add is that you work with bands/artists on a first-reserved, first created studio slot based on payment. I bet for zero bucks and just some time connecting with bands on MySpace you could have a dozen customers lined up immediately! Make sure you take into account all the fees required to get the track approved and your time before you set a price.

Let’s go back to your time involved. Initially you’ll probably want to do this yourself unless you have extra funds immediately. If that’s the case, outsource the work now or as soon as you can. Free yourself up to do the marketing.

Joint Venture and Partners:

Next, you’ll want to start thinking about where you can find indie bands and artists who’d lust after being in the game. I already mentioned MySpace and that’s probably the first stop. But soon after, I’d start looking for and approaching joint venture partners once you have some case studies and success stories. Think of all the places bands and artists gather or find one central entity that has some affinity with them…or better still someone who has more to gain than you. The perfect partner would be a site like

Think about it. Getting your music in a hot game significantly increases downloads and purchases, so has something to gain by promoting you to their base. What’s more, if you work out a fair affiliate relationship they might be even happier. I know there are dozens and dozens of sites that have a relationship with artists and it’s up to you to make it ‘brain dead’ simple for them to partner with you. Or think about working with musician stores in your area. I bet they’d be all over promoting this.

What’s more, now we start considering other services to sell to our customers. Maybe you start with a $xxx promotion package that gets the word out once their song hits Rock Band. Maybe there’s MySpace mgmt, Twitter mgmt, Facebook – all their Web 2.0 social media tools. And there’s all sorts of other back-end services that will start popping up that you can deliver or you can partner with someone else to deliver. Or maybe you also put your bands and artists on a continuity program so that they get X amount of songs per month submitted automatically. I mean – the ideas are truly endless.

But I’m not done yet making this into a really nice empire. Let’s say by this point our “Rock Starmaker 2.0″ business is going along at a nice clip – now it’s time to leverage again. You could license your concept, systems, marketing plans like a “business in a box” to people around the world or perhaps even start selling franchises.

All of this from a tiny little article and about 10 minutes of my time thinking about it. Still think there are no good ideas out there? Phooey…

I truly hope somebody (or multiple people) run with this. Please keep me posted.

If you’ve been a reader here for awhile you know our 2020 goal is have 1,000,000 young entrepreneurs start their own businesses – and I’m thinking part of that will be an online area that includes an “idea bank” like this.

Please drop me a comment and let me know what you think.

Look, even if you don’t “swipe” this idea – I hope you paid attention to the thinking of it. With every new advance in technology there’s a place for a “done for them” service. And if there’s a way to leverage it like the ‘certification’ or ‘licensing’ model all the better. Plus, I hope you noticed how I surveyed the marketplace landscape for partners and joint ventures. All of this adds to the power of starting something quickly and seeing what happens.

Also, I’ve got a lot of fun stories and pictures to add from our Maverick Totally Rad 80’s Road Rally last week that you’ll see here soon.

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  1. October 9, 2009, 2:42 pm

    Awesome Idea. Yet another profitable niche that someone could get into.

  2. Clement
    October 9, 2009, 9:18 pm

    dear yanik.

    wow. Im gonna swipe this idea unabashedly for a government grant for young entrepreneurs!

    Singapore government gives out a 4 dollar for every dollar grant raised.

    I will use this idea to raise angel funding!

    If I go from this idea, can you be my online mentor?


  3. October 11, 2009, 11:18 am

    Thanks for sharing Yanik!

  4. Brittany
    October 12, 2009, 1:22 pm


    Thanks for sharing! I am just a beginning entrepreneur. I read the article and watched the video on the Rockband website. It looks really interesting. Although I might be confused. From what I gathered on the website, they are providing the tech and materials for the bands record albels to sella and be playable in the Rockband store and xbox. After reading your idea, it seemed like the same service as Rockband. Are you saying to work through Rockband? EX. my srevice would be to find the bands and get a certain % from this and then still let Rockbands tools create the playable tracks?

    * Correct they do provide the tools but they admit it’s extremely complicated…therefore a service for bands to do it for them would be ideal. -Y.S. *

  5. October 12, 2009, 8:53 pm

    Hi Yanik,

    Thanks for sharing this gem of an idea…I mean, ideas.

    I’m not passionate about rock bands but you’ve given my a new perspective on pursuing another business venture.

    For example, the “Done for Them Service” can be applied to a number of industries.

    You said it better:
    “Look, even if you don’t “swipe” this idea – I hope you paid attention to the thinking of it.”

    Thanks again!!!

  6. October 12, 2009, 9:10 pm

    I wonder. What would be the legal issues involved if someone transcribed the work of an established music artist without their permission? Should they be grateful because someone is helping them do free publicity, or should they be upset cos of… misrepresentation?

    * No, I would only work with a group that gave permission to use their work. Copyright laws are pretty tough (though I’m not an attny) – Y.S. *

  7. October 12, 2009, 10:35 pm

    Hey Yanik!

    Thanks for sharing this idea. The possibilities are vast. I’m grabbing this idea and running with it. This is a great reason to buy a XB360, and keep it in the office also 😉

    I’d setup all the software required from what I’d gathered thus far. I am having a site created now, and coming up with my inital marketing plan. I’d like to get some bands signed up now prior to it going live…

    Trying to figure out what my initial costs will be so that I can come up with a pricing structure. Do you have any thoughts? I’ve been pushing to become one of your 1,000,000 young entrepreneurs – this is going to be my start….

    Anyways thanks again!


    ** For pricing, I always think about what is the value provided and then set the price. Not based on hours or hard cost if possible. – Y.S. **

  8. October 13, 2009, 1:57 pm

    Sounds like a great idea if you can get it off the ground

  9. October 16, 2009, 7:35 pm

    Testing my cool new add-on.


  10. David Tietz
    October 23, 2009, 1:05 pm

    Thank you very much for this really cool idea. I will probably be staying up late the next few evenings to “Moonlight” and get this one going. Thank you for your willingness to share. I want to be one of your next success stories with this one. But I will also be willing to share with others like you have shared with us. Thanks again.


  11. October 31, 2009, 12:58 am

    This is a great business idea! There are so many additional services you can offer to musicians when you have delivered quality results and gained their trust.

    One example is to create iTunes LP ( packages for their albums. There was an early (incorrect) story in the press which suggested that Apple was charging $10,000 for this service. So there’s a high perceived value for such a service.

    Another example is to create an iPhone app for the band. Again, it has a high perceived value and also a high cool factor at the moment.

    And by creating, I don’t mean that you have to do the programming yourself. There are many companies that you can outsource the technical details to.

  12. Mastermo411
    June 30, 2010, 10:00 pm

    Great Idea! I have always had these sorts of ideas everywhere I go. A while ago I started text messaging myself every time I got an idea but then i never did anything with it.

    I wanted to share them, so I searched for a place online to share them and found and its awesome. There are quite a few ideas; its a growing community and ideas like this are just what they like. Check it out.

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