Kerchoonz: Indianna Gregg and Ian Morrow
Founders Indianna Gregg and Ian Morrow on how internet piracy inspired their music download site.
Company name: Kerchoonz Website:www.kerchoonz.com Founders: Indianna Gregg & Ian Morrow Ages: 37 & 51 Based: Glasgow Date started: September 2008
Tell us what your business does.
It’s a music web 2.0 website – a social network. We give away artists’ music for free, but artists get paid for every free stream and download that they give away to their fans. It’s an ad-funded model.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
It came about a couple of years ago when we were building a website. We were talking about paying musicians for streams – we noticed a lot of the web 2.0 sites were exploiting music but not paying the musicians anything. Obviously, they were making lots of money out of advertising, so we started from that premise.
Then about a year ago we decided to add downloads in, really due to piracy. We had released records and a quarter of a million copies of the album were downloaded on pirate sites like BitTorrent. We found out that we had a pirated platinum album, but no cash. We decided we really need to do something about this, because if somebody doesn’t start paying musicians, art’s going to disappear.
How did you know there was a market for it?
We spent about £1.4m on the promotion of an album last year. We actually questioned our marketing campaign, questioned everything. A couple of months after the release, we thought, this hasn’t worked – how can no one have taken notice of a television campaign?
But when we got the figures from the International Federation of Phonographic Industries (IFPI), it showed the level of piracy that was actually out there – free downloads on limewire, etc. We thought oh – it did work!
So we had experienced the problem on a first-hand basis, having been victims of illegal downloading. It was obvious that there was a market for free music, so it wasn’t really rocket science.
What were you doing before starting up?
Ian has been a musician for a long, long time. He was basically a studio member of Wet Wet Wet. He has also worked with Trevor Horn and Rod Stewart. We met when the record label I was on contacted Ian to do a record with me. I’m a songwriter, composer and have been a touring musician for several years.
What has the impact on your home life been like?
It’s a big undertaking for us because we are a small company but we’re putting our heart and soul into it because we know that it’s got to be done. We don’t have regular schedules any more, that’s for sure – our schedules have all been turned upside down a bit. We used to sleep, but now we work 24 hours a day instead of just eight or 12! Sometimes we talk to each other, but usually we just chat with each other online.
We’re hoping it works out, and saves a lot of musicians. We’ve worried about being musicians for a long time.