Ty Morse Interview – Songwhale.com Founder, Design a Compelling Brand
What a cool site my next interviewee runs. It’s called SongWhale.com – a free entertainment service delivering premium digital content directly to your handheld device. Founder Ty Morse has always been interested in music – he’s even written two ROCK operas! When asked who he models himself on, Ty humorously replied “Doctor Who.”
One piece of advice from Ty really jumped out – it is:
Design a compelling brand, and care for your customers. There may come a time when your brand is your last defence.
A little bit more background information on Ty: (Ty’s sense of humor is everywhere 😉 )
How old are you (if you don’t mind answering)? Don’t mind at all. I’m 27 years old. How much do you guys weigh?
What motivates you? Iron Maiden, Horses, Jack Lalane, Tony Little, Richard Simmons
What inspires you? Tall mountains, deep purple sunsets, drum solos, and hard work from my staff. AND–Odd personalities.
Enjoy the interview – I look forward to your comments very much.
Ty Morse Interview
First – some background information on Ty:
I live in Pittsburgh, PA just a few blocks from our company headquarters in Lawrenceville (just a few miles from downtown Pittsburgh). Pittsburgh has easily been one of the most important aspects of our success, as the city is chalked full of talented young people graduating from Carnegie Mellon, University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne, and many others. In addition, it’s a small big city so we have built tons of wonderful partnerships within the city that have helped us to grow at a faster than normal rate.
1) Hi Ty, thank you for doing this interview. Our readers will appreciate it, I’m sure. Firstly, tell me about your company: SongWhale.com – tell us how the company formed?
My business partner Jon and I have started various companies over the years, but Songwhale was created specifically to monetize digital content through a platform that combines SMS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Direct-To-Device (USB, SD, MicroSD). Initially, Songwhale was created in an effort to generate revenue on music content in the mobile medium, but later we would expand to sports, real estate, retail, and more. Jon and I have always loved music and we own a record label together as well (Royalty, Etc. Records). As the music industry suffered due to declining cd sales we decided to take music content and allow users to access it for free via their handheld devices while supporting the platform with sponsorship and advertising of relevant partners.
2) You have written two rock operas. Are there any strategies you use to create Rock Operas that you now use in your business?
Creative thinking and arpeggios.
3) Can you share some of the biggest lessons you have learned personally and as a business as things have grown? If you were to start again, what might you do differently?
Beware of overselling your business as you grow. You must be able to make decisions about which clients you wish to serve. Make sure your infrastructure can keep up with your sales and any surprise successes you may encounter.
4) You keep the content free to the end user. How has this strategy been working for you?
This is only the case for our American business, and it has worked well in the current market. In our expansion into Asia the mobile market is still a paying market, much the way American mobile business operated 5 years ago–this is the model we are pursuing in those markets. Today, for-pay American mobile services no longer dominate and as such the free content method is used.
5) You’ve grown your business quite quickly. Any tips for young entrepreneurs looking to make a splash in their industries?
Design a compelling brand, and care for your customers. There may come a time when your brand is your last defense.
6) Do you have any suggestions for coping with set-backs, dealing with adversity?
Stay positive, and do not burn bridges. Casting blame has a limited value. After blame is assessed, do not fixate on it but correct it and move on.
7) How do you keep your business focus – Do you have any suggestions for entrepreneurs who are experiencing challenging times?
Get an accountant. Staff parties–you tube, CDs, video games. Create products that can be used in more than one place. Fire lazy staff.
8 ) Is there anyone that you look up to and model yourself on?
9) Do you have any favourite business related books that you can recommend to other entrepreneurs?
The Art of War, the Prince, Bridges of Madison County, Hunt for Red October, War and Peace, Hammer of the Gods, and The Devil is Dead
10) What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Do not burn bridges. Especially the Bridges of Madison County.
11) You have more than songwale. You and your partner have Royalty Etc. Records, a record label; Frankenstein: The Rock Opera, a production company; and Songwhale. How important do you think it is to do more than one thing? (Not keep all eggs in one basket)
It’s great for a financial profile, but do not dilute your primary talents too far, and do not be afraid to pick something and get behind it. Jon and I have always been focused on music, and every company we have started has revolved around music at the core. We started Songwhale so that we could fund recording more records. Musicians don’t make much money.
12) What do you like best about the Internet?
13) What do you like least about the Internet?
Internet Explorer 6! It is the worst thing about the internet.
14) Have you any plans (personal or business) that you can share with us about your future plans / goals / lifetime goals?
Yes. We are going to film Frankenstein: The Rock Opera and present it to the world. We are also going to train and go one on one with US Soccer pro Jay DeMerit. Lastly, we will lose to Billy Mitchell in Donkey Kong.