Popgun takes its AI-powered Splash music-making app to Roblox


We’ve written regularly about Australian AI-music startup Popgun, including its belief that AI could be the secret sauce for a service “where teenagers come together to make music for each other… the ‘pop stars on training wheels’ place where they make music for each other, release it and watch each other pretend to be pop stars, but then go on to become legitimate pop stars”.

We also covered its launch of an app called Splash, using AI-generated beats and loops, to help kids make music. Now Popgun has turned Splash into a game for Roblox, the gaming platform with 115 million active users, including LOTS of children.

It takes the form of a virtual club – “Club Splash” – where people can DJ for their friends and other Roblox players by using Splash’s sound packs in genres including hip-hop, trap and dubstep. They can buy avatar clothing and stage props, while earning ‘fame’ and coins from their micro (sub-one-minute) sets.

The Roblox version of Splash launched quietly earlier this month, and it’s already had more than 93,000 visitors. Popgun CEO Stephen Phillips told us that it had nearly 20,000 yesterday alone. “The top players have spent more than 20 hours in-game in the five days to reach the top of the leaderboard,” he added.

Ready to see Music Ally strutting our superstar DJ stuff? Here’s a video of our (doomed) efforts to be down with the Roblox club kids…

The music industry should be well aware of Roblox by now. It’s been described as ‘the YouTube of gaming’, because rather than being just one game (like Fortnite) it’s a platform where developers and users alike can create their own games, to be discovered and played by the community.

“Old people are on Facebook, the 20 year-olds are on Instagram, and then there’s TikTok, but there’s even a generation below that. Who in the room knows Roblox?” said WMG’s chief innovation officer, recorded music, Scott Cohen at the NY:LON Conference earlier this year.

“It’s a gaming platform for kids, and they not only play games, they create their own games and play those games with their friends. The average age there is between eight and 18. The music business is like ‘Holy shit, that’s our audience!’. There’s over 100 million monthly active users on this platform, and almost nobody in this room has ever heard of it? This is where the target audience is… This is where the kids are. Roblox. 100 million of ‘em. Who’s engaged with it?”

Roblox also recently built a virtual music venue for players to gather in and co-view the One World: Together at Home Covid-19 relief livestreamed concert.

Written by: Stuart Dredge