Wednesday, August 30, 2006

SpiralFrog: Too Much Management

Fred Wilson wrote a post about Universal offering their entire music catalogue free, but with DRM, through a new startup called SpiralFrog. Mr. Wilson thinks the idea sucks because he would rather pay for media without DRM than get it free with licensing restrictions.

SpiralFrog's is using an ad supported model and if they are not too restrictive with the DRM or too over-the-top with advertising, I think the idea could be quite popular. As a Napster subscriber, I know that I would seriously consider switching if the DRM let me keep songs on at least two devices, but then again I'm not exactly a prosumer. I don't know how they are planning on implementing the advertising and my guess is that it may be audio inserted ads. If so that could get pretty annoying very quickly.

Nonetheless, I was curious about SpiralFrog so I checked out their website and noticed one of the most top heavy management teams I have ever seen. For a startup that doesn't launch until December of this year, they already have a CEO, CTO, COO, Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Sales & Marketing Officer. I'd like to echo Ed Sim and ask what all of these people are doing for the company? Just how big is SpiralFrog? Are they really a 100+ person company that hasn't released a product? Alternatively, is SpiralFrog a 10 person company with 5 C-level officers? Neither option seems to make sense unless each officer is really a co-founding software developer that actually spends their days coding.

On a separate note, I find the titles of Chief Sales Officer, Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Strategy Officer to be ridiculous.


At August 30, 2006 2:42 PM, Anonymous Eric Litman said...

This pre-supposes that they're a tech company in need of significant development to establish differentiation. I don't think that's what they are; rather, they're a marketing vehicle for large brands looking to connect with broadly-defined consumer audiences.

MS is providing the DRM. Universal is providing the content, and in this case the content really is compelling. SpiralFrog's real task is to focus on driving ad sales and adoption.

Of course, they could blow the whole thing with their DRM strategy, but that remains to be seen.

At August 30, 2006 8:10 PM, Blogger Andrew Fife said...

assuming that you are specifically referring to my comment about the c-level execs doubling as software developers, than I completely agree with you... it does assume that they are a tech/software company. Yet, regardless of what type of company they actually are, I find is strange that they have 5 C-Level executives when they are still 2 months away from releasing a product. It smacks of too much strategy and not enough execution. That said, I think that ad-supported music is a good idea and I hope they are successful.


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