30 startups have been pitching at the Midemlab startups contest this year at Midem, with the winners announced this afternoon as part of the conference’s Visionary Monday strand.
Israeli startup InstruMagic won the Music Discovery, Recommendation and Curation category with its Songful iPad app, which lets people strum along to a selection of guitar tabs from the Ultimate Guitar website.
CEO Eyal Eldar showed the app off by (bravely, given the high notes) singing ‘Roxanne’ while playing the chords on his iPad. “The magic comes from having the songs built into the app. All you have to do is tap to move between the chords and strum along,” he said. “Pretty magically, anyone can become a guitar player… Our vision is to bring the joy of playing music to everyone.”
US startup Jamplify won the Marketing and Social Engagement category, with CEO Andy Pickens taking the stage to talk about his social marketing and analytics platform, which is based around “jampaigns”.
“It enables artists to turn their existing fanbase into a crazy-effective marketing force… In a digital age, how do we get our fans to evangelise and spread the word?” A modern equivalent of traditional street-teams, in other words.
Artists get to reward their fans based on the number of people they persuade to check the artist’s content out, using social media. The average fan sharing with Jamplify generates 30 referrals, apparently, through unique links. “Fans can share anywhere: we make it really easy for them to share on Facebook and Twitter, but they can share on any platform they like.
Finally, US startup StageIt won the Direct-to-Consumer Sales and Content Monetisation category. CEO Evan Lowenstein explained how it works, helping artists to make money from live web concerts – not gigs in big venues, but sitting in front of their laptop playing a private performance – including text chat – for fans. Those fans can then ‘tip’ the artist, with the best tippers getting rewards.
“We don’t sell music, we sell time. And fans know that time is money,” said Lowenstein. “They pay happily, to the tune of $13.40 on average per fan per show.” One example: Christina Grimmie did $21.1k of tips and $9k of ticket sales for a single performance. Toad the Wet Sprocket did 20% of their overall revenues in 2012 from StageIt, too.
One last winner: the overall Coup de Coeur prize, chosen by French minister for SMEs, innovation and digital economy. Parisian startup Audience.fm won that prize, with CEO Jules Terrien explaining the company’s mission to help artists understand more about who their fans are.
“There’s really no way to understand your individual fan, and this is a vital piece of information,” he said. “The first thing you should know is who your fan is.” The company blends data from social networks, streaming music services and other sites, packaging this data together for artists.