E-learning meets iTunes at Demo 08

I''ve attended several Demo conferences over the years. The Demo format gives people with new companies, products, or technologies six minutes on stage, to introduce the audience of journalists, investors, and other entrepreneurs to their innovation.

Inevitably, as I chat in hotel halls and elevators with people getting ready to present at Demo, someone will ask me for ''tips.'' I haven''t uncovered one sure route to Demo magic over the years of observing, but I have one thing I always say (it''s my pet peeve, anyway). That is, where''s the money? How are you going to support the business and eventually show a profit?

Way to many entrepreneurs tell me they envision ''multiple revenue streams,'' a ''three-legged stool,'' or ''all sorts of ways of generating income.'' Bzzzt! Wrong answer. That''s telling me you''re hoping you can get money somehow, but really, you don''t have a clue.

That''s why meeting the team from iVideosongs was so refreshing. They may not be using the flashiest new technology, but they know where they''ll be looking for that revenue stream. And since my family will likely be sending some cash their way, I''m qualified to say, they''re looking in the right place.

IVideosongs is, at its most basic, selling e-learning. Ho hum, nothing new there, e-learning has been around for a long time, typically nichy stuff. Ivideosongs, however, has picked a hot niche''music, in particular, amateur musicians looking to learn hit songs. (Clearly a lot of them need lessons, browse some YouTube videos of people imitating their favorite stars; they''re not all virtuosos.) IVideosongs licensed the publishing rights to a wide range of popular music, they''ve convinced artists (like John Oates) to give the lessons, they''ve hired musicians to make the videos when the artists aren''t available. And each package is downloadable, music plus lesson, DRM free (that is, it can be moved from a computer to any device, burned to a CD, whatever). The price is $4.95 for downloaded lesson from a no-name artist, $9.95 for a lesson from the original artist.

My 16-year-old son is in the target market; aspiring musician who goes to the Web whenever he wants a new song, looking for guitar music, performances on YouTube; both often has errors, making learning the song a struggle. IVideosongs is in Beta; he''s already downloaded two lessons, Heaven (Los Lonely Boys) and Sweet Home Alabama (Lynryd Skynyrd). He reported that the downloads took a while, 30 minutes for one, nearly 40 for the other; the way the lessons are presented seem to be the way he wants to learn, and he''s eager to get started. I''ll give you an update once he gets a break from homework.


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