Two respected digtal music veterans, Tim Quirk and Brian Calhoun, are joining forces to launch Freeform Development, a new music tech startup. Quirk recently left Google Play and before that was an executive at Rhapsody. Calhoun held a high level position at SoundExchange and more recently as a digital strategist for artist managers The Blueprint Group. Exactly what the pair is planning, however, is a bit of a mystery.
Lessons From Mobile Gaming
Citing competitive reasons, Quirk and Calhoun are being tight lipped. They do hint at using lessons learned in free mobile gaming to increase the revenue that creators receive for their work.
Their plans are much more nuanced than the current crop of streaming services that offer free music hoping you'll pay $10 a month to eliminate an occasional ad. While they are borrowing from gaming, Freeform is not trying to "gamify" music. "We're not gamifying music so much as adopting a distribution model akin to free-to-play mobile games," Quirk told Hypebot, "and then being as disciplined and rigorous as gaming companies are about converting free listeners to paid.
More Revenue For Artists
Going a bit further on his LinkedIn profile Quirk wrote: "Freeform is an application development platform that lets musicians and other digital media creators generate additional revenues by distributing their work much like free-to-play mobile game. By offering a ‘compelling enough’ version of their content for free, artists amass the largest possible audience for their work; Freeform’s platform then makes it fun and easy for consumers to unlock more and better content.”