Summer’s here, so that means it’s time for Music Festivals! Instead of giving you a potted history (not very exciting for a blog post), we’ve decided to offer you a selection of the most innovative, original and effective start-ups in Music Tech, as we have before for other sectors. No bum notes – GUARANTEED!

1. Education and creation: become a master musician

Learn music in a new way

The basis of Music Tech is still music. And music is something that has to be learned: unfortunately, what with the cost, availability of teachers at a time and place that suits you, courses in music theory and learning to play an instrument aren’t necessarily open to everyone. Some start-ups have decided to create concepts that enable everyone to learn music in a new way.

For example, this is the case with the French company Carpe Diese and the German company Skoove: the first offers you a choice of teachers who will give lessons via webcam, the second is a sort MOOC for the piano. Whether specialised or not, these platforms enable anyone who wants to, to learn at their own pace, however they want to and when they’ve got time to do so.

Another challenge with Music Tech is to get away from received ideas about ‘classic’ methods for learning music: music theory, notes, scales, scores… the huge amount of theoretical knowledge that represents a style of teaching that some find off-putting. So, like Dualo you can choose to invent a new musical instrument with a different arrangement of notes, to make understanding and playing easier. Another option: take an entirely different thought path with learning based on personal emotions, as with Meludia.

Artificial (musical) intelligence

If you thought Artificial Intelligence couldn’t be applied to the field of music, you thought wrong. And lots of Music Tech start-ups are there to prove it.

First, there’s Amper which is not only a composer and producer, but also an artiste. Starting with the choice of an ambiance, style and duration, it quite simply creates music that you can edit with ease using a few basic features, with no need for any musical knowledge. Still in its BETA version, Amper should nevertheless be watched closely, particularly by anyone (like us) looking for good copyright-free music for their corporate videos, product demos and other uses.

Along similar lines, the French solution AIVA should not be overlooked: this AI, which also composes music (“symphonic or emotional” according to its co-founders), is based on machine learning and major works (by Mozart, Bach and Beethoven, to name but a few) “to enhance its mathematical and intuitive musical model”. A model that has already proved itself, since Aiva recently saw its compositions registered at SACEM Luxembourg, alongside other (human) composers.

As for the Australian start-up PopGun, it’s all about pop music, as the name suggests. Its AI, Alice, initially conceived with the (slightly wacky) idea of creating a new, entirely made-up Top 50, can now be seen as a partner for humans to play with. Deep learning enables it to learn piano scores by the shovelful, and then go on to teach and support humans as they learn. Very useful for those who don’t have any musician friends to call on!

2. Musical financing: supporting the – maybe – great artistes of tomorrow

One company in France is making a big noise in the field of musical crowdfunding: MyMajorCompany. Of course, not all projects succeed, but at the end of the 2000s, a few careers were launched thanks to the platform (Grégoire, Joyce Jonathan, Irma…).

Tradiio is a Music Tech start-up born between Lisbon and Los Angeles. It enables anybody to discover and support new artistes via a monthly subscription of an amount chosen by the subscriber. For €1 per month you can get backstage photos or a ringtone; for €2 you can get a personalised video and an exclusive song… and so on. If you discover a star (or several), you can also claim additional rewards: festival tickets, backstage passes for concerts… A good way of engaging fans and bringing them closer to artistes.

Based on another, more comprehensive model, the American company Nimbit offers a range of services to ensure a direct relationship between artistes and fans. Amongst these services, a public profile (for posting news, content, events) and an online shop (that can be integrated into external sites) where artistes can sell tickets and other products. Artistes can also use Nimbit to launch funding campaigns, manage promotion of their events or analyse data from their fan base. Lots of very useful tools for artistes who are just starting out who, first and foremost, want to be close to their fans and need a simple way of promoting their work!

3. Promotion & distribution: for sharing and to spread the word

The jungle of the streaming platforms

In the same way as platforms for the home ordering and delivery of meals are the basis of Food Tech, music streaming platforms are the basis of Music Tech.

The French platforms Deezer and Qobuz, the German Soundcloud, the American Apple Music and Tidal, and the market leader, the Swedish platform Spotify… With varying monthly subscriptions, mobile apps, sound quality and wide-ranging music catalogues, platforms are popping up everywhere… and there’s not much to choose between them (apart from a few notable differences).

The most interesting thing about these streaming platforms, apart from the catalogues available on each of them or exclusives from some artistes (e.g. Jay-Z and Beyoncé have just released a surprise joint album on Tidal… before finally distributing it on all the platforms), is also the way in which they enable listeners to discover new artistes via personalisation and algorithms.

Via playlists, radios and other features (the terminology varies from one platform to another) compiled based on what you listen to (and so logically your tastes), you can find similar artistes, songs you should like, as well as enriching your musical knowledge.

More than just a streaming platform, you might also like to try Prizm: the French start-up that has created a device that enables streaming from web radios all over the world and offers every type of music, according to your choices and tastes. The Prizm algorithm also promotes web radios without advertising, a big plus. Prizm can be managed from your smartphone. It recognises you, learns continually from your tastes and then offers web radio stations that are most likely to please you, depending on the time of day, the atmosphere, etc.

To be watched closely: YouTube has just launched into music streaming with YouTube Music. The giant Google is also entering the race!

Music booking: “book” an artiste as easily as a hotel room

Are you organising an event for your company, a birthday party or a special get-together and you want to spice it all up with some live music? Don’t worry, there are loads of platforms in big cities where you can find musicians and bands that suit the ambiance you’re trying to create.

Amongst them, the French start-ups Live Tonight and Musilink for live concerts in your favourite musical genre, and oneclickdj and Soondy to help you find the perfect DJ. Encore (in the UK) and Gigmasters (in the USA) will also help you find what you’re looking for. Linkaband is aimed at musicians and allows them to respond to available offers of gigs. In the Netherlands, it’s Plugify that has thrown its hat into the musical ring.

4. Music data science: for artistes who want to find out more about their fans

“Data”: the word that has undoubtedly reigned supreme over the digital economy for several years now. No reason, then, why the Music Tech sector should be any different: data is just as (if not more?) important for an artiste as for a business. And many Music Tech start-ups across the world are well aware of this fact!

Tracking plays: the big challenge for artistes

Apart from album sales and plays on streaming platforms, it’s hard for artistes (particularly those who are less well-known) to keep track of their popularity. WARM, acronym for the World Airplay Radio Monitor, offers these independent artistes, writers, producers and managers the ability to track plays on radio stations the world over. With more than 21,000 registered radio stations in more than 100 countries, the data collected enables better targeting with regard to promotion and marketing.

Analysing fan communities to improve engagement with them

It’s not easy for an artiste or their record label to map types of fans with precision. Imagine artificial intelligence capable of analysing millions of fan profiles on Instagram along with their photos and then extracting their interests, hobbies, demographic information or likings for certain brands… That’s exactly what, a Japanese start-up specialising in data mining, is offering.

If you’re looking for the most comprehensive dashboard to analyse an artist’s “value”, it has to be the French company Soundcharts: ranking of sales, radio plays, selection from playlists on numerous streaming platforms, presence on social media… The start-up is already claiming several hundred clients including several record labels (both major and independent) all over the world.

A big help in planning the perfect tour

Stagelink is a start-up that was founded in Berlin, and is one of the most useful marketing tools for artistes and record labels looking for information to help plan the perfect tour programme. City, venue, and even ticket prices: fans leave their feedback, and via a dashboard, artistes and their managers can assess the potential profitability of an event.

Now broadened to all types of people and companies with fan communities on social media, the French company Bandsquare started out in much the same vein as Stagelink. The principle: artistes can offer surveys to their online communities. The platform then analyses the data collected from the survey, and in the case of an artiste for example, facilitates decisions on which city to play a gig.

From funding to marketing and the analysis of fan communities, via learning and creation, the aspects of Music Tech are varied and a great many music fans (both listeners and the musicians themselves!) are choosing to get in on the act to combine their passion with their professional life. In a musical sector where artists often have to fight to make a name for themselves and then to stay at the top, the same applies to start-ups: many set out on the journey but few succeed in getting to the top of the pops and maintaining their career trajectory in the long term.

To find out more about technologies that can help you accelerate your international growth, download our free white paper! While you wait, we hope you all have a great summer of music 🎼

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