Jon McCollin, MSc ’20 Business Analytics, Co-Founder of Shori AI and Associate Data Scientist at IBM, on helping musicians understand the business of music
Jon McCollin, MSc ’20 BA, was about to sign his first song writing publishing deal when he realized how little he understood about the business side of the music industry.
He found himself having to Google the terms he was expected to agree to, only to find most of the information was old or incorrect.
That’s when McCollin and three friends came up with the idea of creating Shori AI, a resource for independent artists, songwriters, and producers to access the information and tools needed to successfully navigate the business of music.
“We thought it would be cool to have just one place where musicians and songwriters could go to get the correct information, a virtual assistant for the music industry,” says McCollin, who is also a Data Scientist at IBM.
Shori began as a variety of tools for creators in the music space, or what McCollin calls “Alexa for music.” He and his team are now building a synch tool to connect musicians to music supervisors who are looking for music for TV shows or other productions.
“The biggest problem in the music industry is it can sometimes take advantage of writers’ and creators’ lack of business knowledge. You have a lot of people signing these 360 deals and all these different contracts without knowing what they’re agreeing to,” he says.
“I guess you could say we’re trying to democratize this entire thing.”
For McCollin, providing musicians and content creators with the tools they need to understand the industry they’re operating within isn’t unlike his experience stepping onto the Ivey campus to gain the business acumen he needed to execute his entrepreneurial ideas.
“I love start-ups, I love the entrepreneurial side, and I also love the creative side, but I knew at the base of everything that I did, business had to be there,” he says.
“I needed that foundation and knowledge of business.”
The combination of business acumen, formal data science training and hands-on business communication skills were crucial for McCollin to merge his creative and business goals.
“I always like to take what I know and try to see if I can fix problems, but Ivey taught me how to manoeuvre in any setting,” he says.
“It taught me how to have executive presence, and a lot of the soft skills necessary to be successful, which are applicable no matter what role you’re in.”