I’ve been enjoying the BBC programme Dragon’s Den. In the show a group of entrepreneurs describe business ideas to a group of “dragons” (potential investors) in the hope that the dragons will give them some money. Most of the investment requests are in the order of £100,000.
The dragons question them on the details of their business plan and (in most case) explain why they won’t invest.
Last night I was particularly interested in the chaps from MusicControl.com. They claimed to be a business that allowed any musician to become a record label and take control of the distribution of their own music in digital form. What they actually had was a “template” web site that contained features to upload, display, sell and download MP3s. This could then be customised for individual artists.
On further investigation, it turned out that they didn’t own the software they were using to do all of this. Instead they were re-selling something that BT had written. The idea of a software company without any software astounded the dragons and they all declined to invest.
Now it strikes me that the software to do what they were talking about is actually pretty simple. A bit of Template Toolkit with a database and a bit ot of Perl at the back end and you’d be done. The only potentially tricky bit would be interfacing with an online payment system – but having done that a couple of times in the past I can’t see it being very difficult.
I bet that’s not how the BT software does it tho’. I bet it’s some over-complicated piece of Java or ASP. I’d be very interested to see how it works.
So I’ll be watching the MusicControl web site over the next few weeks to see how they do.