Notes on some music startups
As a hard rocker, I always try to follow and be adapted to innovations in music and the music industry.
Let’s look at some of the fascinating developments in the music industry we should keep in sight.
Poolside FM is a radio which focuses on a specific genre, the 70s — 80s summertime. Compared to other platforms in the music industry, Radio always stayed one step behind. But today, Poolside FM brings a fresh breath.
In Poolside you can watch beautiful 70s videos while listening to the radio. It makes the radio more usable; either you can project to the wall at your party with your friends or just listen to the radio while cooking.
The first secret sauce is adding visual elements to the radio. Secondly, building a community with people from the same music taste and the dream (A beautiful & vintage summer). Lastly, which is new, they create new business models on top of the radio. (They started to sell sun cream online :))
When I discussed with my friends who produce and perform music (alternative and techno music), they tell a midi keyboard is a multi-tool pocketknife of their music. Today, with enormous sound libraries and capable production software, one tiny keyboard is more than enough to produce and perform multi-instrumental and qualified music.
What I most liked about Roli is that they are working on their UX-Focused (Traditional music software is capable but is like a maze) sound software in addition to the high-tech keyboard. I believe a software-enabled hardware business model will directly increase their scalability.
Discogs is a music database and a global marketplace. People can create their music wish list, see and buy rare albums from international music stores. Discogs is a 20-years-old company. Since the foundation, they have built an active community behind it (We know the registered user number was +400k in 2019). In 2020, Discogs saw a 40% increase in Vinyl sales and resulted in the sale of ~12m records (Also, a record sold for £30k; It is the most expensive record sold on Discogs.)
After 2006, Vinyls got on the stage again. (I) People love originals. (II) Playing vinyl is cool and, in terms of emotional user experience, it is a high level of connection. (III) There is a strong word-of-mouth effect (true story) on the user side about Vinyl music quality. (IV) Music is collectible affordable and, unique. In addition to an investment opportunity as a collectible, it also offers a musical experience. It is a higher level of investor experience compared to stamps or baseball cards.
I believe there is a long way in front of Discogs. Community-backed marketplaces are challenging but at the same time high rewarded!
Hooktheory is a sketchpad software that enables musicians and composers to work on their projects. They also offer a solution for music education. Berkeley Skydeck alumni startup aims to be songwriter’s number one tool.
After interviewing a couple of music teachers who gave lessons online in the corona time, I understand that sound quality and vision on a student are vital. Also, because there is no chance of working on hard-copy music sheets as homework, student’ performance on working on the given PDFs are questionable.
We see dozens of platforms for coding and design that enable students to learn and interact with a teacher. In that matter, from K12 education to private music lessons, a tool for makes the online experience perfect would be great since there are numerous music lessons.
A German music startup Idagio offers classical music-only streaming and concert subscription services to classic music lovers.
Understanding Classical Music market is important; Classical Music is the fourth most popular music genre with 40% of the classical music listeners were over 55 years old. However, compared to it’s popularity, growth potential is remarkable, in North America, leading classical music ecosystem, the total market size is just ~$146m.
One of the critical points is that the average penetration rate of classical music in age groups is 32% and people aged 25–34 are 2nd most listener group after the 55+, according to a report by MIDia research. Also, these people aged 25–34 prefer streaming.
- According to a survey in 8 countries, just 4% of the listeners (they called them Aficionados) are the most valuable and fanatic audience, in other terms direct targets for revenue generation.
Looks like Idagio’s user-friendly product and qualified content nurture their community from US to EU.+$10m funding also should be noted. Who knows what kind of sub-categoric music startups will we see in the upcoming years?
Day by day the technology develops itself to make our lives easier. I am sure that I will work less to do my current job because of automated processes. And, with the new extra time that I’ll get, humans will be able to concentrate on their artistic and social sides and find more time to play guitar, write lyrics, compose music. We would see a drastic growth in music and fine arts.