Building an Information Gold Mine
When Apple launched its online music store on April 28, we all heard a lot about iTunes, but not much about its Muze–the company that created the database of millions of songs. Paul Zullo launched Muze to provide searchable entertainment catalogs to retailers across the country. Muze data now powers more than 10,000 retail stores and more than 250 retail Web sites.
2004 FAST 50 WINNER
From Paul’s original entry:
Tell us what you do (or what your team or organization does) and the specific challenge you faced.
Paul Zullo is perhaps the best known person you’ve never heard about. If you’ve ever bought a CD online, searched for a book on the Web or ordered a video from your computer, you’ve experienced his work. As founder and CEO of Muze, Zullo has created the behind-the-scenes solution that powers the biggest names in online entertainment sales and makes your current web-based music buying experience possible. But after three decades in the entertainment industry, Zullo realized that perhaps the reason people were turning to Kazaa, Grogster and other illegal music downloading sites was because buying music had stopped being fun. Exploring and discovering music used to be about the experience.
What was your moment of truth?
Says Zullo: “I remember when I was a kid and I’d save up every week so I could go buy a record from the music store. Remember when that used to be fun? Nowadays it’s a chore to find and buy music, and you’re never exposed to new things, new artists. I want to make the experience of buying music more about the sights and sounds I had enjoyed. I want to make buying music fun again.” One day, Zullo started to catalogue his own collection because he was thinking about teaching a college course on 60s-70s pop culture. He wanted to share the sounds and sights from the books, music and movies of the era but couldn’t bring all of it into the classroom. A concept began to bloom. Working closely with a dedicated team at Muze, Zullo has taken the company’s existing databases light years beyond previous iterations to create what he believes will be the next revolution in the sale of entertainment products – Navigator. A multimedia, ultra-sensory, thematic shopping experience, Navigator is a new format for discovering a universe of entertainment products.
What were the results?
Muze has already witnessed a lot of excitement about this new format and has agreements with the Virgin Mega Store in San Francisco, J& R in New York and more than a dozen online retailers. The first iteration at Virgin in San Francisco graphically walks users through the 60s–a decade of entertainment. They can view clips of movies from and about that era, read about the artists and listen to sample clips of their songs. More stores plan to launch Navigator to bring the fun back to exploring, discovering and purchasing music, books, movies and games.
What’s your parting tip?
What are you passionate about? Follow it, and you will always love what you do and be successful at it.