Snafu Records

US startup Snafu Records is describing itself as the ‘first AI-enabled music label’, although its artists are all human. The role that AI is playing is on the talent discovery side of the business.

“The label’s proprietary algorithms analyse all open platforms like Spotify, SoundCloud, Youtube, and TikTok, scraping 150,000 unsigned tracks each week,” explained its launch press release yesterday.

The company says its system digs through streaming figures but also playlist adds, blog posts and even tweets to “predict which artists are likely to be popular, based on sentiment analysis, song structure, decision trees, and neural networks” before its team of A&Rs draw their conclusions on the ‘most promising’ 15-20 artists.

The label launched quietly last March and has signed 16 artists while raising $2.9m in funding, complete with an Abba member as an investor – no, not Björn Ulvaeus, who’s backed startups like Auddly: the investor is Agnetha Fältskog. The label’s founder is Ankit Desai, formerly of UMG Sweden and Capitol Records.

The AI talent-scanning angle isn’t brand new: Instrumental, Sodatone and Asaii were among the past startups exploring this. Sodatone was bought by Warner Music Group while Asaii’s team were acquihired by Apple.

Traditional labels do have access to the kind of tools that Snafu Records is using, but if the company can spot some gems before its established competition, it could carve out a niche for itself.

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