Pretty much everyone involved in the music the music industry is aware of Austin's annual SXSW, but they may not be as familiar with SXSW V2V, a festival which focuses on the development of startups and entrepreneurial skills. Included here is a breakdown of the three music-related startups of particular note.
Guest Post by Dae Bogan of DaeBoganMusic.com
SXSW Music is one of the most important annual music, networking, and business development experiences nested atop my “must attend” events list in the world of music and music tech stardom.
From its insightful conferences and entertaining live music scene to its indulgent nightlife and brand activations, SXSW Music offers anyone in any corner of the music industry a place to make connections, promote, and discover.
But SXSW is more than just its annual Austin takeover. SXSW offers startups a smaller, more intimate space to network, engage, learn, and showcase.
Enter SXSW V2V.
Now in its third season, SXSW V2V is an extension and re-imagining of the legendary SXSW experience with an emphasis on the nuts and bolts education startups need to ensure entrepreneurial innovation and success.
This four-day boutique event brings the startup and venture capital communities together with the creative industries that have helped to make SXSW so special. V2V serves innovators and entrepreneurs from across all the industries at the core of the SXSW Family of events—technology, music, film, fashion, health, education, sustainability, and more—as they learn the skills, make the connections, and find the inspiration to take their ideas and talents to the next level.
This year’s excitement-packed event took place last week in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Hundreds of startup entrepreneurs, investors, and service providers convened at Bellagio Las Vegas to participate in workshops, panels, pitch events, and keynote talks including Dave McClure of 500 Startups and Brady Forrest of Highway1.
I had the honor of participating as a mentor where I met with and discussed startup issues with several budding entrepreneurs.
Here is a recap of a few music tech startups that stood out to me:
Company Name: Musicnodes
Founders: Preben Alexander Lugg, Gary Vanderhill
Founded: Founded Sept. 2009 - Launched current platform May 2013
Location/HQ: Oslo, Norway
Brief Description of Product: Musicnodes.com is an all-in-one platform for music marketing and content publishers. Our platform makes the complex task of aggregating the popular music services simple. With a few simple steps, you can have Spotify, YouTube, Tidal, Deezer, Rdio, iTunes, Google, SoundCloud, (and many more) all neatly wrapped up in our wide range of simple and elegant widgets (nodes) and campaign pages, ready to play and promote. Musicnodes service-agnostic platform is tailor made for labels, artists, promoters, media and social networks.. a great way to put music where it belongs - anywhere, for everyone.
Target Users: Music marketing and promotion professionals
Monetization Strategy: Subscription
Company Name: Mixette
Founders: Kelly Snow (CEO), Graham Wert (CTO), Jagath Wanninayake (Chairman), Amity Swain (CSO)
Location/HQ: Conshohocken, PA
Brief Description of Product: Mixette was created to bring back the art of the mixtape in a creative, elegant and personal manner for the digital age. Easily express yourself to someone special using music, photos and a written message, all wrapped up in a beautifully designed digital package.
Target Users: Men and women ages 20-45 (though we have users both older and younger than that target)
Monetization Strategy: We currently offer a 1-song Mixette at $1.99 and a 2-song Mixette at $2.99.
Company Name: weeSPIN Inc
Founders: Darius Fong, Wilson Cheng
Launched: May 12th, 2015
Location/HQ: Los Angeles, CA
Brief Description of Product: A live music app that let's you share music together in real time.
Target Users: Music streamers, millennials
Monetization Strategy: Sponsorship & technology licensing
While these fresh new music tech startups offer consumers three uniquely different ways of experiencing and sharing music, they all face similar challenges. Besides having to cut through the clutter to gain traction, they face the raft of the broken music licensing ecosystem that cannibalizes revenue and it makes it difficult for many music apps to launch or grow beyond early adopters.
Mixette has been able to land a deal with a major label, but limitations include only being able to send one track (for now) in your Mixette package to a friend. weeSPIN uses Soundcloud’s API to power its music assets, but from my experience with numerous music tech clients, this can be limiting in the long-run and opens up questions regarding performance license liability.
Nevertheless, it is refreshing to see cool and consumer-friendly new ways of experiencing music.
Dae Bogan is a music industry consultant and serial entrepreneur. Through his firm, ENT Ventures, Dae advises and mentors over a dozen tech startups in entertainment (primarily music), digital media, and education. Dae is also an active member in the independent music community as a speaker at numerous music conferences and guest lecturer at music production schools across the United States. In his free time, Dae writes on his blog www.DaeBoganMusic.com and travels. Connect with Dae on Twitter at @DaeBoganMusic.