When I interviewed two of ToneDen's co-founders back in February, they told me they were planning a trip to SXSW to broaden their music industry contacts. So I decided we should touch base afterwards and find out what they learned on their first music industry networking excursion beyond the Bay Area. We finally got the chance to do that last week and to also chat a bit about their new customizable SoundCloud player.
StageBloc has become a unique hybrid web service as they've developed from what initially appeared to be a blogging platform to a more complete social platform that provides creators with the tools to do such things as communicate with fans and customers from one's own site, build a social network as part of the larger StageBloc network and sell both digital and physical items. They continue to iterate and this week launched Living Bundles, an innovative digital bundle to which items can be added after the purchase.
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) allow programmers the ability to access data and services from other companies to build their products. The release of a new API typically signals opportunities for new products as well as new relationships between companies. Beatport's new API launches with lofty goals while Seevl wishes to share data with those who've expressed interest. On the other hand, Equestrian Beats (logo at left) inhabits a world of their own where the next developer you meet just might be a Brony.
One now time-honored tradition for new business funding is the business plan competition. But often they're laden with limitations or college registration requirements that make them irrelevant to most founders. 43North is a bit different. Yes, you'll have to spend a year in Buffalo, New York but the prizes start at $250k and go up to a million dollars. And, unlike most tech funding sources, 43North is open to individual entrepreneurs who don't write code.
Just 14 months after launch, music marketing platform Zankme is shutting down. In an email to users the founder wrote, "Zankme is getting ready to shut its doors.. Zankme will stay open for the next 30 days, and on May 10th, 2014, be unavailable permanently."
So often we are met with laundry lists a mile long of what to do when embarking out on a new career move. Everyone has opinions, recommendations, and people they swear by, but what may prove to be most valuable are the warning signs you may not have seen otherwise. Choosing your manager may prove to be the most important decision of your entire career -- now would be a good time to do your homework.
Smule, the maker of popular social music apps including Sing! Karaoke, Ociana and Magic Piano has raised $16.6 million in new funding. The fuding was led by Roth Capital Partners along with Bessemer Venture, Shasta Ventures, and Granite Ventures. Smule has now raised a total of $42 million since launching in 2008.
Timbre, a local concert discovery app that has been a real leader in this area of tech activity, was acquired last week by Seatwave, a secondary ticketing marketplace based in London. Seatwave is not bringing on the team who will remain at Timbre parent company Intrepid Pursuits. The purchase price was not announced. Timbre will continue as an app while Intrepid Pursuits will turn to other mobile projects.
Living Indie is a live streaming service that works with indie bands to present live video streams of concerts for internet-connected devices. Until now they've been focused on shows in Spain. This weekend they live stream their first London show featuring Alaska Campus. It's a great deal for musicians since Living Indie provides their services for free, sending a video crew to the show, with the hopes of building a monetizable platform for viewing.
Nas and Anthony Saleh, his manager, were recently in Singapore investigating startups in which they might invest. They've already invested in startups from Korea and Indonesia and it's possible they'll be investing in many more from the region. Khailee Ng of 500 Startups helped introduce them to new companies but, so far, no word on who they were meeting with. Though they've invested in at least one or two that are music-related, most of their tech investments to date span a range of consumer-focused web sites and services.
Billing itself the “Switzerland of digital music,” Bop.fm allows you to create playlists and links to songs that source the music from multiple services based on your preference, including Spotify, Rdio, Beats Music, Deezer, SoundCloud and YouTube. One rationale for connecting to all these services is the ability to send playlists to friends without worrying about what service they belong to. Now Bop.fm is further connecting things with the ability to import playlists created on streaming services starting with Spotify and Rdio.
ArtistLink made it's initial appearance as an extension of the Topspin Media platform and is now on it's way up the food chain towards becoming a control panel of sorts for artists and the music industry. Knowing the tools that are available to you are crucial to being successful in today's technologically advanced culture.
This year's edition of Music TechPitch 4.5 takes place in London April 8. This event typically features music tech startups that are at a more developed stage than one finds at incubator demo days. While all are likely interested in additional funding and deals may be made, Music TechPitch 4.5 presents itself as an opportunity to get introductions and start conversations rather than close deals.
iRemix 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.
Rabbl launched in late 2012 with a focus on concert crowdfunding. They got a wave of publicity in fall 2013 due to a NY Times article but we haven't heard much since then. Apparently they're doing something right and have now raised $775K in seed funding including a $340K investment from FG Angels Syndicate. The funding will support further development of the platform and marketing to artists.
Making music a lucrative career is a lifelong battle for many musicians. While there are many new obstacles such as digital downloading, piracy, etc that can work against any rising musician, there are also ample opportunities to work new tools to your advantage. Crowdfunding is a major resource these days - but knowing how to approach and execute your efforts can make all the difference in the world.
There is no doubt music sales have changed enormously since the changeover to digital downloads. Being able to buy individual songs at the touch of a button has seriously limited the scale of full album sales. While this can be hugely successful for some musicians with hit singles, failing to consistently sell records can be the downfall of any artist's career.
Hey reader! Have we mentioned that the third Hypebot meet up was a enormous success? You showed up in droves and droves. You packed the panel. You sat quietly and listened. You packed the upstairs kitchen. You drank all the beer and wine. You helped yourself to cookies, chips, and peanuts. Most importantly, you talked to your “busy” friends and met several new ones, too.