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Interview: Austin Transplant Startup Sprockster Is A Great Place For Kids And Families

After getting my start in media at the age of 12 for Radio Aahs (the precursor to Radio Disney), naturally kid focused startups occasionally catch my eye, especially when their done well, and with a little TLC.

Sprockster is one of those great kid and family focused startup. Sprockster is a gateway to family friendly entertainment. They have a collection of over 1,000 kid friendly songs, hundreds of music videos and they’ve promoted over 600+ family friendly events. Sprockster is reminiscent of the newest version of MySpace (post Justin Timberlake) except guaranteed family friendly.

Co-founder Jesse Atwell tells nibletz.com:

“Sprockster is an online community dedicated to the discovery and promotion of new and emerging family entertainment.  Initially focused on kids’ music and kids’ music videos, the site features 1000+ streaming songs, 500+ original music videos, and has promoted 600+ family-friendly events.  Sprockster’s users include parents, educators, artists, brands, educators, video producers, etc.  Our artist members have profiles that typically include streaming songs, videos, upcoming tour dates, pictures, current news, and more.  Any user can create an account and contribute and engage with artists and other users.  If you’re looking to explore, discover, and talk about new family-friendly entertainment, Sprockster is the place!”

There’s definitely a hole in aggregation services for family friendly entertainment.

“…If you visit iTunes and search “Kids Music” the first song you get is “Kids” by MGMT.  I LOVE iTunes and “Kids” by MGMT is a great, GREAT song.  One of my favorites.  But it’s not very helpful if you’re looking to sample, explore, and discover the next Laurie Berkner or Dan Zanes.  That’s not necessarily a perfect example, but ‘Family Music’ is a special case and definitely deserves its own neighborhood in the musical townscape . . . the main point being that not everything you find on traditional platforms is family-friendly and there’s a need to kind of clear the clutter.  This is what inspired Sprockster and – ultimately – what we are trying to solve” Atwell said.

Atwells co-founder is his wife. She has a background in child development while he has an extensive background in entertainment marketing and digital production development.  Before founding Sprockster Atwell held positions at Sony Music and Hallmark Cards.  While there are already sites dedicated to the discovery of music like iTunes, MySpace, and Pandora, the Atwells couldn’t find a solution dedicated to just family entertainment.”

More after the break



Is Sprockster a nationwide platform, where are you based?

The majority of our users are located in the United States, but family music is global and many of our users are international.  Our Top 5 regions in terms of site traffic are the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and Japan, but there is some great kids music being made in South Africa, Ireland, Germany, etc.

We just relocated the office from Nashville, TN to sunny Austin, TX.  Austin is quickly becoming a great place for start-ups and we are very happy to be here.  We have already met tons of talented, passionate folks down here that are ready to work, build, and ship.  Great, great town.  But I’m deeply concerned about the summer . . . my skin burns in nanoseconds!

How many artists, events etc do you have

“The majority of our active users are artists.  Our first goal with Sprockster was to roll up content so that there was stuff – music and videos – there when people visited the site.  Now that people are actively contributing lots of songs, videos, blogs, events, forum topics, etc, our next mission is to go out and tell the world that this stuff exists and begin to aggressively go after and acquire traditional users like parents, grandparents, and educators.

We have some really great emerging artists as well as some more established artists like Laurie Berkner, Dan Zanes, Lisa Loeb, and The Verve Pipe on the site.  Each artist is different and it’s great to see everyone come together, share their art, and move the genre forward.  I get excited thinking about what the community has been able to accomplish by working together and sharing ideas.

Every day we get more and more new content added to the site.  At the moment, we currently feature 1000+ streaming songs, 500+ original music videos, and our events calendar has helped promote over 600 family-friendly events.”

What’s your monetization strategy
“Community.  If we continue to build trust and value in our community, monetization will come.  We have nothing without our users, so that means that we must focus each and every effort on initiatives that create value for our community.  The next logical step is possibly a physical + digital e-commerce store, digital display ads, overlays on content, possibly services, etc.”
Are you bootstrapping it still or have you received funding.
“We are bootstrapping.  I like bootstrapping because we’re the only ones with skin in the game.  But as the site continues to grow, we definitely see the need – most likely, in the very near future – to bring on partners with access to additional capital, resources, skills, and more.  But we want to make sure our partners are passionate and excited, and not just looking for a quick ROI.”
What’s next for Sprockster
“Anything and everything fun!  We have lots of exciting things on the product map.  We are in the process of completing our team, building out our mobile product, and loads more.  I hope that Sprockster ends up surprising us and turns into something we didn’t even think about!  That idea puts butterflies in my stomach!”
Linkage:
To find out more about Sprockster go check them out at sprockster.com
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