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MIMS' Manager Takes iRemix Demo To MIA Music HackDay Win and Beyond

Erik-mendelsoniRemix won MIA Music HackDay's commercialization award and, though it's still in the very early stages, I think it's worth a closer look. Erik Mendelson, who also manages MIMS, is planning to develop and release iRemix as a commercial product. He said the initial impetus came from MIMS but it's Mendelson who's going to take it from idea to finished product. iRemix will require a lot of buy-in from musicians and labels but with a clear path to monetization and a deep understanding of the music industry Mendelson might well pull this off.

I spoke with Erik Mendelson in Miami during the MIA Music Hackday that took place over the weekend before the MIA Music Summit's day of events.

Erik Mendelson (@erikanswerman), among other accomplishments, is owner of Answerman Management, manages the rapper MIMS as well as Jovi Rockwell and Blackout Movement, and is Senior VP of Marketing and Promotion for Digiwaxx. Mendelson signed Jason Derulo prior to Warner Brothers and has gotten major label deals for artists such as 2 Pistols and WISH.

His partner at iRemix is Corey "CL" Lewellyn who is the owner of Digiwaxx and manages Austin Brown.

There's a lot of history packed in there. You can get a much earlier take (around 2008 I think) from this interview with Mendelson which includes a bit of the "This Is Why I'm Hot" backstory.

From MIMS' Idea to a Music HackDay Demo

Mendelson says MIMS came to him with the idea of making remixing easy for the consumer. Mendelson's been working on it for awhile but initially had trouble finding developers. At an SF MusicTech Summit some VCs expressed interest but they wanted to see an actual product.

Mendelson's been learning about the startup scene as he goes. He said he didn't know about startup incubators till quite recently but began finding out about what was happening in Miami and ended up participating in the MIA Music HackDay at The Lab Miami.

Like many hackathons, MIA Music HackDay included the option to show up with an idea and see if anyone was interested in working on it together. So Mendelson pitched his idea and Brandon West stepped up to help. West, who says he's more of a designer than a programmer, did a great job of creating a demo which not only made it to the final presentations at the MIA Music Summit but won the commercialization award.

So What the Heck is iRemix?

The basic concept of iRemix at this stage is that the user can go in and pick from accapellas and instrumentals to mix together. This bypasses a lot of the initial decision making that would take everyday users out of the game while still giving them a lot of creative choices.

After picking a vocal and an instrumental the user just hits remix for an initial mix. S/he can then also record vocals over the mix and even send it out to social networks.

Mendelson says they'll only work with properly licensed music and foresees initially going directly to artists for licensing. Ultimately he believes this is something that most, if not all, artists will appreciate and that he will be able to get major labels on board.

While that sounds like quite a task it will be greatly helped by the fact that monetization is also a clear part of Mendelson's plans.

Monetization is a Basic Aspect of the iRemix Concept

Monetization can include selling the tracks to be remixed to the user. I'm not sure if remixes could also be sold but for some users that might work as well.

Premium options could also be included since the basic service is free.

But Mendelson feels the bigger play will be building iRemix as an ad-based platform focused on the users. If it is something that draws in everyday people who want to play around a bit then it will also be of interest to brands that aren't targeting music producers but would love to reach music fans.

There are a lot of possibilities for music and entertainment marketing as well beyond advertising. For example remix competitions could be held for new releases from albums to movies. Anything that has music that can be used for remixes could benefit and accapellas could take on expanded meanings for such projects, for example, a monologue that is compelling enough to work when mixed with music from other sources.

iRemix is a good example of a product intended to both delight users and create new revenue streams for rightsholders. It comes at a time when musicians and labels are recognizing the need for new approaches so despite the real challenges there's also a lot in its favor.


Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/Facebook) is currently relaunching All World Dance. To suggest topics about music tech, DIY music biz or music marketing for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.