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After 500m app downloads, Gismart kicks off external investment with Jambl


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British music-apps developer Gismart has quietly become one of the bigger firms in the apps world, with more than 500m downloads of its products – which include Beat Maker Go, Piano Crush and DJ It. Now the company is starting to invest in external firms, starting with one of the winning music/tech startups from this summer’s Midemlab contest: Jambl.

Gismart is investing $500k in the German startup, whose iOS app helps people to create beats and melodies before adding videos and sharing them to social media. The deal is part of a wider initiative announced by Gismart in March this year, which will see it investing up to $1m in “selected developers across a wide range of product categories” including music, but also games, education and health.

In this case “Gismart will act as Jambl’s strategic partner and publisher, providing both financial support and expertise in product management, marketing and growth”. Jambl says that its initial app is the “first of many” to come, and has also announced that it is working on “an educational game within the app that would help users learn more about different music styles and to improve their skills”.

The competitive environment is interesting here: Gismart, Smule and BandLab are the big fish in this world of apps designed to be accessible to non-musicians. Independent apps like Groovepad and Endlesss are playing in this world too (although as the Jambl investment hints, they may be ripe for investment and ultimately acquisition by the bigger companies).

Over on the more educational side, companies like YousicianJoyTunes and Fender have built their audiences, while startups like Big Ear Games eye the market too.

Also interesting: the way business models have evolved towards subscriptions for these kinds of apps. The model for almost all of these apps has been about getting a free version into people’s hands, before encouraging (with varying degrees of aggression) them to sign up to monthly, annual or – the newer thing – weekly subscriptions.

“The whole music industry is shifting, and interactive content is shifting. We’ve got kids making beats daily, and we’re already making money!” said Jambl’s CEO Gad Baruch Hinkis in his Midemlab pitch in June, at which time the app had been installed around 70k times.

A few months on, Jambl is also part of the subscriptions trend: it has been testing a $7.99-a-week sub and, now listed with Gismart as its publisher on the App Store, will clearly be using that company’s playbook as it expands from here.

Stuart Dredge

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