BY JENNA KHAKOO
If anyone is under the impression that music journalism is struggling, Cameron Gibson is here to rock their world. As co-founder and CEO of the music news app JamFeed, Gibson has provided thousands of music fans across the world with a new way to stay connected to their favorite artists and festivals.
JamFeed was first conceived two and a half years ago when Gibson and his younger brother, Tyler, noticed the popularity of customized news sites and apps, such as the Bleacher Report Team Stream app, and realized they could apply those ideas to music news.
The company’s webpage describes JamFeed as an app that delivers “customized music news and updates.” The app notifies users about album releases, concerts, tour dates and other newsworthy content.
“It’s an easy way to stay up to date with music without having to dig around,” Gibson said.
In March, JamFeed acquired over 1,000 new users. The company expected to gain another 1,000 to 2,000 new users in April. About half of these users are in Texas, but the app boasts users worldwide. However, Gibson is focusing on Austin as the target city for JamFeed’s marketing efforts.
Although JamFeed has proven to be a valuable product to many individual music fans, Gibson wants the app to become a major marketing platform for the music industry. JamFeed already links fans with their favorite artists and festivals. That connection, Gibson said, has the potential to be a two-way street by providing music industry players with a way to market directly to enthusiastic music consumers.
“We’re actually solving a problem for both artists and for fans,” Gibson said. “I think that was where the green light really went off.”
From the start, Gibson wanted to base his company in Austin, his hometown. As the self-proclaimed “live music capital of the world,” and with its abundance of musicians, venues and festivals, Austin seemed like the perfect home for a music news app. It also didn’t hurt that Austin is an established breeding ground for startups, especially in the field of technology. In fact, the Kauffman Index ranked Austin as No. 1 in startup activity in 2015.
“I don’t think I’d ever be doing what I’m doing if I didn’t grow up into this environment and kind of watch this city turn into what it is,” Gibson said.
Through JamFeed, Gibson has found a way to integrate the growing technology industry with his passion of music. He believes that the future of Austin’s music industry lies in the creation of more music technology companies.
“The future of music tech is what really excites me outside of just JamFeed,” he said.
Gibson enjoys the lifestyle and opportunities that JamFeed has provided him. Some of his favorite moments with the company have been conducting interviews with artists like Lettuce, Spencer Ludwig and Jurassic 5’s Charlie Tuna.
“I’ve gotten to interview a few of my favorite artists of all time, and it’s probably the most fun I’ve ever had in music,” Gibson said.
Both of Gibson’s parents are entrepreneurs, so he was exposed to this lifestyle at a young age. In fact, Gibson had experiences with entrepreneurship prior to starting JamFeed. Gibson and his mother formed a company called Gibson Wealth Strategies, which dealt with financial planning, wealth management and tax strategies. He also started a company called Dollar A Day, which was a charitable giving platform aimed at millennials. Through experiences with these companies, Gibson learned valuable lessons about starting and owning a business, which aided his experience with JamFeed.
“I don’t think JamFeed would exist if I didn’t have all those other experiences,” Gibson said.
Gibson attributes some of his success, and therefore JamFeed’s success, to several key individuals. He said his approach to entrepreneurship was heavily influenced by Robert Kiyosaki’s book, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad.” In a piece for Business Insider, Kathleen Elkins summarized Kiyosaki’s book as a series of lessons about the different ways successful people manage their money. Gibson was inspired by Kiyosaki’s thought process.
“He was the one that really changed my perspective,” Gibson said. “He was the one that gave me the confidence to go a different route.”
Gibson also cited his high school basketball trainer, Leo, as an extremely powerful presence in his life. Leo, he said, was the one who taught him to push himself, ask important questions and identify and follow his passions.
“He said this one line that I’ll never forget,” Gibson said. “He said, ‘I wasn’t teaching you basketball. I was teaching you life through basketball.’ The mentality, the optimism, the drive goes back to him. He was probably the most influential mentor.”
Gibson has used the guidance bestowed upon him by these mentors to come up with his own advice for entrepreneurs: Actually start, accept the roller coaster ride and go with your gut. Just starting, he said, is often the most difficult part of the entrepreneurial process.
“One of my favorite quotes, I think ever, about entrepreneurship is ‘entrepreneurship is like jumping out of an airplane and building your parachute on the way down.’ You gotta jump.”
For Gibson, jumping into JamFeed has been and will continue to be a rewarding ride.