Q+A with Mike McCready, Co-Founder & CEO of Music Xray
McCready thinks of his 18-month-old company as the Match.com of the music industry: Instead of potential lovebirds, though, Music Xray connects musicians with industry professionals who are looking for single song licenses or record deals.
McCready travels all over the U.S. and Europe for meetings with music companies. Below, he tells us more about Music Xray, and how he navigates life on the road.
Q: How does Music Xray work?
A: We build tools that help industry professionals—radio program directors, producers and managers, for example—glean high potential songs and talent from among the vast amount of independent music that’s available. Professionals can collectively filter through thousands of songs per day, identify quality material and pool their screening efforts. In other words, we empower our members to sort through a large haystack of music, pull out the needles and create a “needlestack” which other music pros can then cherry pick for the best songs and talent.
Thanks to Music Xray, thousands of songs and acts have been selected for opportunities ranging from single song licenses for TV, movies and ads to major label signings.
Q: How did you get interested in this line of work?
A: I’ve been in the music industry for 10 years. This business has been victim to technology disruption, so I wanted to help the industry harness new technology for a positive purpose.
Q: Where does your job take you most often?
A: I’m based in New York and travel extensively throughout the U.S. I also have a house in Barcelona that I use as a base in Europe.
Q: What are your favorite gadgets for listening to music while traveling?
A: My iPhone or iPad and Power Beats headphones. They are small, light and have hooks that keep them securely fastened. They’re ideal for sports and airports.
Q: When deciding on a business hotel, what are your most important criteria?
A: Location—near my meetings—and price. My company operates lean: When we need to entertain, we do it right, but when it’s just for ourselves, we’re frugal without being cheap.
Q: How do you fight jet lag?
A: I go for a 30 to 40 minute jog after I land and then, depending on the hour, I'll take a quick nap and power through the rest of the day. You have to be disciplined and not sleep too long.
Q: Where are some of your favorite places to go hear live music?
A: In New York, I like going to the Highline Ballroom on West 16th Street. Sala Razzmatazz is one of my choice venues in Barcelona.
Q: What are some of your to-go tips for air travel?
A: Sign up for Global Entry so you can get through security and customs faster. Get a credit card like Chase Sapphire Preferred that doesn’t charge you a conversion fee when you pay in other currencies. Get on a good loyalty program and stick with that airline as much as possible. The rewards and upgrades end up mattering a lot.
Q: What kind of luggage do you carry?
A: I take a Thule backpack or, for a dressier option, a soft leather Kenneth Cole briefcase that converts into a backpack. I also have a Swiss Army carry-on with four wheels. The four wheels are key—it’s so much easier to handle.