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MusicStack LLC

2920 Jay Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44113

David Stack, founder of MusicStack LLC

Briefly describe your company.

MusicStack is an online marketplace where record stores list their inventory of records and CDs for sale. Consumers can easily search through the website and buy the rare and hard-to-find items they have been looking for. MusicStack currently aggregates the inventory of over 1,100 record stores from all over the world, or approximately 25 million titles.
How did you come to be an entrepreneur?

Being an entrepreneur is in my blood. My father was an entrepreneur and ran his own real estate company. He was always very supportive of my ideas and ventures, which encouraged me to follow an entrepreneurial path. When I was 5 years old I started my first business selling golf balls that I recovered from the bottom of golf course ponds to golfers. Between the ages of 9 to 13 I fixed and resold items at flea markets that I garbage-picked from tree lawns for a profit. In high school I had a paper route that, as soon as I took over, immediately became more profitable. 
Why did you start your business?

I started MusicStack out of necessity. In the mid '90s when I started it Google didn't exist, so finding obscure music on the Internet was next to impossible. So, I created my own search engine for finding and buying music.
How did you come up with the idea?

I started off by selling my own records and CDs. I would buy the ones I thought were under-priced from local record stores (in the cheap bins) and mark them up and sell them on the Internet. I quickly realized in order to do this business and make any money that you had to carry a lot of inventory, which was expensive, and margins were pretty slim. Knowing this -- and knowing I didn't want to be just another record re-seller -- I figured there had to be a better way.  Around the same time I started listing a few of my friends' records and CDs along with my own and noticed they were selling better than mine. That is when I came up with the idea of aggregating and selling other people's inventory and taking a commission along the way.
What was the biggest surprise in starting your business?

The fact that my "hobby" has turned into my full-time business, and when you are doing something that you love it doesn't feel like work at all.
Where have you turned to find capital to grow your company and which institutions have provided it?

The great thing about running an Internet-based startup is that it doesn't take much to start or run, especially if you understand computers and programming like I do.
What are some of the advantages to doing business in Cleveland?

I run MusicStack from my home in Cleveland, but it could be operated from anywhere. That is the big advantage of owning an Internet business -- your clients are from everywhere and geographical location doesn't limit you.
What advice would you give to someone starting a company here?

Just get started. Getting started is the hardest part. Once you've started, your business (if it has legs to stand on) will take on a life of its own on and snowball and morph into a bigger and better business slowly over time.
What companies or founders do you admire and why?

I'm a big fan of Guy Kawasaki. He takes a logical, no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is approach to business and venture capital. I find this very refreshing in a world where most businesses or people are putting up smoke and mirrors as they are trying to be something they are not.
What's next for you and your company?

To just continue running MusicStack as a lifestyle business, all the while adding more value for my customers by making improvements and enjoying the ride as I go.

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