Having listened to probably more than a thousand artists as a songwriting contest judge and music startup person, I’m no stranger to giving feedback to musicians. And I have a confession to make: rarely is the feedback I give 100% honest. I’ll hear a track with major problems (out-of-tune vocals, scratchy production, uninspired lyrics, etc.) and tell the band “Maybe touch up the vocal production, but overall, it sounds great!”
Now entering the arena of countless social networks, Boomio is stepping forward. Reminiscent of Snapchat in the way it shares content, Boomio allows the sending of full length, fully licensed songs to large audiences or targeted groups with personalized messaging. The recipient will receive a notification otherwise known as a 'boom' - they'll be able to listen the track once before it 'blows up.' Now that the listener has had a chance to hear the track, they'll either be able to buy the song or share it with others for an additional play through.
HFA (Harry Fox Agency) has signed a licensing and royalty administration services arrangement with music streaming service TIDAL to support the launch of their new CD quality streaming service. TIDAL’s owner Aspiro focuses on streaming high-quality audio tracks to consumers. In 2010 Aspiro launched its original service called WiMP Music in Norway and has since expanded into Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Poland.
According to Billboard, Indie music comprises 34.5% of the United States music industry market. It is notoriously an underserved sector - Platformz mobile app aims to change that. The app aims to connect artists to their audiences in a new and increasingly meaningful way. Platformz gives artist's access to their most streamed music and breaks down the data into how long their music was streamed and where the traffic is coming from regionally, nationally, and even around the world. Being able to crack open this data could prove extremely valuable to Indie artists.
This story from Hootsuite shares how Ticketleap, an event marketing and online ticketer, stood out by empowering employees to share expertise and lend personality to the business.
Meet Ticketleap. This tech startup helps its customers sell more tickets to their events. But if you’ve ever created an event through Ticketleap, you know that the team leading the charge offers so much more than one-time products and services. They bring people together through events and experiences, empower and give the DIY event creators a voice, and encourage small teams, like themselves, to make a big impact.
Clowdy, the online creative community platform, has announced the release o new features that could rival LinkedIn for the creative industry. Currently, you can upload unlimited content, connect with your fans and followers, collaborate with other creative contributors, and sell your media and/or distribute to other services. Clowdy recognizes that there are a lot of individuals who contribute to creative projects, so in a week's time, everyone who contributes to a project has the ability to be recognized.
[UPDATED] The deadline is less than 2 weeks away to apply to showcase your music tech startup, product or new service at SXSW Accelerator 2015. The event takes place on March 8-9 as a part of the SXSW Interactive Festival which segues into SXSW Music. SXSW Accelerator is a great place to meet venture capitalists, build brand awareness and attract media attention. Details:
Allowing any website to become a social network with two lines of code, the company puts website owners back in the drivers seat by giving them more control over the management and monetization of their site traffic.
Global music streaming service Deezer is acquiring Stitcher, a talk radio and podcast platform. The combined assets will help Deezer differentiate itself in the increasingly crowded streaming sector by offering consumers one-stop access to 35 million music tracks alongside 35,000 radio shows and podcasts. Deezer says it will continue to support Stitcher's mobile app, where it is the top rated podcast app on Android and the second most popular app on iOS behind iTunes.
Eight music and entertainment companies have committed to providing seed investment funds to select startups through a 14 week music tech accelerator at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center. The six to eight companies chosen to participate in the accelerator will receive a seed investment of $20,000 or more to jumpstart their launch and push through the accelerator in exhange for equity.
[UPDATED] Music Biz is hosting the Music Startup Academy: Startups, Rights & Artists in New York at General Assembly on Tuesday November 4th. They've added an Elevator Pitch SharkTank which offers startups 3-5 minuted to give thier pitch to music and tech leaders including Bill Campbell, Barefoot Media; Richard Cruz, PepsiCo; Rob Dippold, Primary Wave Music; Myles Grosovsky, Q Prime; YiPing Ho, Warner Music Group; Jon Vanhala, Thesis Ventures and David Wander, Roc Nation.
The Crowd-funding market is pretty well saturated these days, but there's always room for innovation and improvemet, right? The folks at Rocket Fuel seem to think so - and perhaps they're onto something. The bread and butter of this new platform is in its sustainable career model. Rather than advocating the raising of funds for a specific item or event, they're encouraging artists (and fans) to be thinking long term by contributing regular donations over a set period of time.
Smule appears to be going from success to success with its roster of karaoke and music apps designed for participation as well as listening. Over the last year they've turned their efforts to building a platform for those users many of whom are now part of a growing community. This has already been good business for Smule with around 125 million checking out their apps but, according to co-founder and CEO Jeff Smith, "We think we'll have a couple of billion people creating music on our network over time. That's why we're here."
Last night Will.i.am introduced the debut products from his new company i.am+. Catching the most attention is the PULS smartband (I'm calling it a smartcuff) based on the concept of a cuff rather than a watch. From there on out it's a unique wearable that's not a watch, supports calls and texting without a phone and can connect with a range of wearables including a backpack, a jacket and shoes though info's slim on that part. Plus it plays music.
If you're venturing down the road of becoming a DIY Musician but fear that means going it alone, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Do it yourself does not, and especially in the music industry, should not mean doing it by yourself. It is true that when you're first starting out there are logistical limitations that create obstacles in your path. It is hard to hire the good help you need when your budget is breathing down your neck, but with a little balance between learned self-sufficiency and knowing when to reach out, you'll be on your way in no time.
By 2ndLine Co-founder & CEO Stephen Backer.
Your goals as an artist are to make music, to share your music with fans, and to support yourself with the proceeds. But, in an era of slumping album sales, often-negligible streaming revenues, and constant competition for listeners’ attention, it’s grown increasingly difficult to make a living unless you have a blockbuster hit on your hands.
Social music platform SoundCloud's efforts to find a sustainable business model have hit a major roadblock. Talks with the three major label groups have stalled, according to new reports, because rightsholders are not satisfied with the royalties that SoundCloud is offering. Communications with Universal were reportedly cut off more than two weeks ago.
The Pressure Mounts
So much of the future of music, especially in the aesthetic wake of the 20th Century, is about how new technologies will affect our experience of music. One example, that of Brainwave, involves enabling simple control of your mobile music with hand gestures as an early step in wireless human/machine interaction. Another example, that of iHeartRadio's integration into Android Wear, heads in a different direction in which tech that controls music devices is worn.
Equipboard is an interesting new startup that, on the face of it, is a crowdsourced site for posting the gear musicians use. But when you dig in you see it's quite a bit more than that combining multiple sources for gear identification but also fashion spotting and ecommerce. In addition, Equipboard is now including a broader range of subjects beyond musicians in its database such as athletes and actors which, in essence, illustrates their path forward.
Today concert discovery and friend matching app Jukely announced a $2.4 million seed round led by Northzone and 14W bringing their total raise to date to $3.3 million. Jukely, which helps connect music fans with shows and friends with which to go to shows, previously teased their unlimited concert subscription service and got some of their Twitter friends all worked up. Today they also officially launch Unlimited Concerts, an invite-only membership subscription service.
There may be no better opportunity to showcase your emerging technology product or service in front of industry leaders than by participating in the 2015 SXSW Accelerator. I've been proud to serve on it's Advisory Board for several years. SXSW Accelerator takes place on March 14 -15 as a part of the SXSW Interactive Festival and the deadline to apply is less than a month away.
Today's music tech funding news focuses on three startups that aren't music-only but include music in the mix and are part of the competitive landscape for numerous music-related startups. Rowl, an event planning and discovery app, announced a $4 million Series A round. Secondary ticket marketplace Ticketbis raised €5.2 million. Sensbeat, which combines a photo, text and music to express an emotion, recently closed a $500k round.
Following last week's defiant response to its major loss in court, embattled music streamer Grooveshark is now promising to appeal the ruling, saying it is “preparing for the appeal process.” Appeal may be the company's last best option. As I wrote last week, paying the likely penalties and fighting of the inevitable lawsuits from other labels, publishers and artists would likely cripple the company. Industry observers are asking:
Lots of deals and funding news of late. Here's a quick roundup including funding for Artiphon and Musikki, deals between Deezer x Bose and SoundHound x TouchTunes plus Gracenote's acquisition of HWW. In addition, Jay Z's Life + Times has a content deal with Fusion, Michelle Phan joined with Cutting Edge Group to create Shift Media Group and RZA is releasing Wu-Tang music via the Boombot Rex.