A Passion for Music and Product-Led Growth – How Ola Sars’ SaaS Business Became So Successful

by | Aug 3, 2023 | SaaS Founders

Ola Sars has always been passionate about music. In fact, his belief that it’s an undervalued art form is what keeps him searching for ways to transform the music market. As a former DJ, Sars has been part of four music startups, including co-founding Beats Music and Spotify Business. He has always been dedicated to delivering the “right music to the right people at the right place [and] time.”

While working at these different companies, Sars found many brands reaching out to ask, “how can we actually use music streaming in our business?” Noticing this was a common concern many business owners encountered, Sars set out to fix the music streaming issue they were facing.

So, he decided to make his debut in the business-to-business (B2B) market by creating Soundtrack Your Brand.

What Is Soundtrack Your Brand?

Soundtrack Your Brand is a B2B SaaS business that solves the pain point of entrepreneurs not knowing what music to play for their customers. As Sars points out, “music is always present in the public domain—bars, restaurants, clubs, airports—wherever you [are], there’s music.” And as it turns out, the type of music played in your business matters.

By using Soundtrack, businesses can play seemingly anything they wish—whether that means creating a playlist from scratch or selecting a premade one that matches the situation, tone and atmosphere of the establishment.

Effectively, businesses can create a soundtrack for their brand that draws customers in and influences them to stay. From relaxed jazz for your coffee shop to throwback hits for your bar, Soundtrack Your Brand helps you nail down the right music for your patrons and employees to keep them coming back for more.

“We help the entrepreneur find her way through the different decisions she needs to make in order to get the right music for her brand,” Sars explains.

How Important Is Your Business’ Music?

Although selecting the right music for your business may seem like a simple task, it requires a great deal of forethought and can be a source of anxiety for many business owners. No one wants to be responsible for playing music that is inappropriate or clashes with the goals of the business.

“It’s much more complex than you would ever think,” Sars shares, especially once your business begins to grow. “Imagine [an entrepreneur] expands to 15 restaurants and now she’s in New York and Los Angeles and Miami,” Sars describes. “Our job is helping [her] create and scale [her] soundtrack without stressing out.”

Just how important is your business’ background music? As it turns out, very. In fact, statistics show that 84% of American consumers enjoy a better shopping experience when a business is playing the right music. What’s more, good background music can increase your staff’s productivity and help build your brand identity. Although it may seem trivial, your background music can be the determining factor in whether a customer stays and enjoys your product or service.

But instead of spending hours every week trying to create the right playlist while avoiding any issues regarding appropriateness or legality, Soundtrack does the heavy lifting to ensure your music is relevant, appealing and fits your environment.

So, How Does Soundtrack Your Brand Work?

“[Artificial intelligence] (AI) is a huge component [of Soundtrack],” says Sars. Although trying to scale human capabilities can be beneficial, “people can’t afford a 24/7 DJ filtering and selecting tracks,” he points out. This is where AI comes into play.

Sars has been focused on building out this AI component of Soundtrack for the last decade or so. “It’s all about building the music intelligence platform that helps an entrepreneur translate the brand DNA to music,” he shares. Essentially, Soundtrack allows you to input any relevant brand positioning data, which the software then uses to recommend a unique soundtrack.

Take an Italian restaurant for example. Let’s say you want to play low-tempo Italian music from the 60s, 70s and 80s while avoiding any explicit lyrics. Soundtrack would take the data you’ve fed it and use its AI component to create a playlist of songs that accomplish exactly what you’re looking for.

His Advice for SaaS Founders Looking to Scale

When it comes to scaling your SaaS business, Sars asserts the importance of focusing on product-led growth (PLG) as opposed to sales-led growth.

As Sars describes, “PLG is a whole philosophy around how you build a product and how you build a company.” Albeit a relatively new business methodology, PLG centers around the quality of your product rather than hard sales. When businesses focus on PLG, “their product becomes the primary driver of customer acquisition, conversion and expansion,” according to this blog post on OpenView.

“If you build a product that is easy enough for customers to try without humans involved, then you’re opening up a whole new way of letting people actually buy your service by liking the product, rather than being forced through some sales process,” Sars explains.

According to Sars, any decent product begins with a test drive. Whether you’re buying a new car or giving a new software a try, the test drive—where you can try out the product or service and decide if it’s worth the purchase—is critical to PLG.

“It’s all about user-centricity—understanding user pain points, solving for those pain points and then getting people to find your product and try it before buying it,” Sars elaborates. If you have a product that is good enough to the point where it helps solve user pain points, giving users the option to “test drive” (i.e., try a free trial) leaves you confident that your customers will want to buy your product after playing around with it.

Instead of hyper-focusing on how many sales your business is making, turning your attention toward solving consumer problems is bound to ensure greater success for your product. This product- and customer-focused mindset will likely boost your sales numbers anyway.

PLG: The Next Big Thing in SaaS

“I think PLG is the big [trend],” says Sars, and statistics would have to agree with him. In fact, OpenView’s 2020 Expansion SaaS Benchmarks show that “the SaaS companies in [their] PLG Index trade at a nearly 50% premium to the broader SaaS index, proving that product-led revenue is more valuable.”

Sars believes that this transition from sales-led growth to product-led growth will completely dominate the SaaS space for the next decade or so. “The ones that have the luxury of seeing this early and building a PLG focus from the beginning will obviously have an up on the others,” he states.

So, how do you go about implementing a PLG strategy? According to SaaS design partner, Eleken, there are a few things to consider. As outlined in this blog post, it’s essential to understand the value of your product, communicate this value to potential customers and deliver what you promise.

Eleken’s post goes on to explain that “product-led growth allows customers to make full use of all features of the application without paying.” As Sars mentioned earlier, incorporating a free trial in your SaaS business can be incredibly beneficial to your PLG strategy. If your product is valuable enough to users, the free trial may be what sways them to pay for an actual subscription.

Although sales-led growth may have been the longtime favorite for businesses looking to scale, product-led growth is an especially unique growth model that has proven to be most successful for many SaaS businesses.

So when you are looking to expand your business and acquire new customers, it may be best to ditch the obsolete sales process you’ve grown accustomed to. By creating a product that solves your users’ pain points and allows them to try it out for free, your sales numbers will take care of themselves.

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