This is the Nashville Briefing’s second week of profiling startups in partnership with Project Music. This week, we looked at Starsona, a company that creates unique online experiences for artists and fans. See our conversation with Founder & CEO Peter Karpas below.
TNB– Tell us about Starsona and how it works.
Karpas – Starsona is for anyone who has fans or followers. We believe they should be able to create joy, grow their brands, and make money, by connecting with individual fans in a safe way.
So any way the artist wants to connect – whether it’s video shout-outs, video Q&A, interacting on social media, phone or video calls, personalized merch – we enable them to get paid to do it and deliver it safely (meaning the fan never gets their personal info).
We even enable them to offer “Fun Stuff”, which is anything that can be delivered over the internet. They can critique a piece of work the fan sends them, give the fan music or fashion advice, record a personal ringtone, etc. The creator is in control (for example, they can decline any request for any reason), safe, grows their brand, and it’s free to get started.
TNB – What are some examples of exciting interactions that have occurred with Starsona?
Karpas – There have been many, but three of my favorites include…
I like these because they were all meaningful to the people involved, in their own way.
TNB– How does it stand out in the marketplace?
Karpas – Starsona enables artists to do something they never could before: safely and easily provide personalized experiences to individual fans. And it’s something fans can’t get anywhere else. Even better, the artist gets to grow their brand. They own the relationship and receive fans’ names and contact info to add to their mailing list. They really get to know who their best, as well as most financially supportive, fans are.
TNB– How can artists take advantage of it in the age of COVID?
Karpas – Starsona is a great way for fans to support and interact with an artist, especially when they can’t go to shows. We know the way many of our artists make their living is massively impacted by COVID — artists can’t make money off live music, athletes (especially retired ones) have no meet & greets or autographing sessions, etc. This means they need to make money in other ways – and Starsona is an incredibly fan-friendly, brand building, positive way for them to do that. It helps them maintain a connection with their fans.
TNB– What is the business model?
Karpas– We’re here to help artists make a better living. It’s free for them to get started and create their page! They set their prices for everything they offer, and Starsona covers its costs by earning a % of every request they fulfill (typically 18%).
TNB– Any funding history?
Karpas – It’s confidential, but our investors include ex-CEO’s of Activision, Intuit, and Symantec as well as an NBA Champion.
About founder Peter Karpas
But that’s where I’ve worked – it doesn’t tell you all that much about me. For Starsona, what you should probably know is I am unabashedly a fanboy geek. I have always loved connecting with the people who make the things I enjoy. Whether it’s visiting musicians or actors at the merch table after a small venue show, meeting authors in bookstores, going to comic conventions, or attending athlete signing sessions, I’ve always been thrilled to meet the artists, creators, actors, athletes, musicians, business people, etc. who make what I happily consume. Starsona takes that feeling and allows it to happen more frequently, more easily, and in more creative ways. It’s exciting.