el3ment is a new social networking platform that wants to help indie artists collaborate and build networks with music creators from around the world. While the idea of a social networking platform for artists has been tried out before, el3ment’s focus on facilitating global collaboration is particularly interesting, and timely – and it could open up new international markets for artists. We take a look at this ambitious new app.
What is el3ment’s ambition?
el3ment co-founders Jess Rosenbluth and Leslie Smith met while working for Nike’s brand marketing team – and when COVID-19 disrupted the activities of their own consulting agency, they pivoted – and recognised a common pain point for creatives around the world. They began developing el3ment when they observed that people in music weren’t meeting in person through studio sessions or live events – and with this, the social nuances of the subsequent connection and collaboration were lost.
Smith says that ease of collaboration is their goal: “Collaboration in the music industry overall has been really gated, unless you have access to an A&R department it’s very limited in scope. Our goal is to enable all types of musicians – anyone who touches the music process from songwriters, producers, instrumentalists etc. – to collaborate and develop their sound, making it more accessible and democratic.”
Though the app is just about to launch its Beta version (the team is finalising their closed testing period), el3ment has already signed up a variety of music creatives from 45 different countries, attracting songwriters, producers, DJs, composers, and more.
At the moment, the app allows users to connect with artists in a wide and varied number of regions, including North Africa, a number of LATAM countries, and a bunch in South East Asia, as well the as major western markets like the US, Germany, and the UK.
In a rapidly-internationalising industry, artists in western markets are looking to find success in far-flung countries – and vice versa. It means that el3ment may find a ready two-way audience, eager to collaborate with people in a slew of exciting international markets.
Rosenbluth empathises with artists who find their ambitions are not enabled by existing platforms or industry structures: “It’s so easy for artists to get geolocked by their collaborations. If they want to expand into new markets, they will want to work with a producer or artist from that area and release music with that person so they can access each other’s audiences.”
What opportunities could el3ment open up?
el3ment could be especially powerful for indie artists who find it hard to break through in one of the existing major music markets – but whose route to success might come via one of the huge emerging music markets such as India or Nigeria. By collaborating with songwriters or musicians in these territories, initial success on the ground there could grow authentically, and then later work its way back to their home country.
The app is thus in line with good, modern advice: in Music Ally’s recent Learn Live Session “Beyond The Usual Suspects: Key Alternative Platforms for Global Music Marketing”, we discussed how to resonate with audiences on Indian short-form video platform Moj – and one of the top tips was to localise content by collaborating with Indian artists. Furthermore, music territories like India are further fragmented by local dialects and cultures: so seeking multiple partners would be an ideal – but complicated – situation. It’s this kind of connectivity that el3ment aims to enable.The ‘Trigger City’ concept coined by Chartmetric, which addresses how many hit songs first break in urban hotspots in countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines or Mexico – all places with large streaming audiences – before they take off globally.
Therefore, an app like el3ment could significantly help indie artists pursue a strategy like this where they focus on building audiences in non-traditional markets. Equally, if artists in these markets are keen to connect with other artists in major music markets, that’s possible too.
How does the app work?
When opening the app, users can search for locations and add additional filters such as artist type (e.g. producer, composer, DJ), their genre, and even the instruments they play. el3ment places all musicians on a map and will show all artists that match a user’s search criteria. Users can then tap on the artist’s avatar to find a dedicated profile that’s akin to a mini EPK.
This contains an artist bio, up to three samples of their music, and links to their full catalogue. From here, users can go into an artist carousel where they are able to swipe through all relevant artist profiles until they find something they like. This carousel-view is audio-forward with a hero track in the centre so you can easily sample the artist’s work.
It’s a little bit like a dating app for musicians. The app will automatically show the top artists first – that is, those that hit certain goals, like frequently establishing connections on the app, or have a completed profile, etc. Once a user has found an artist they want to reach out to, they can request to connect and start a conversation. In order to help break down language barriers, el3ment has in-chat translation functions.
Future aims and pricing
Ultimately, the el3ment team wants the platform to become a place where artists can build their professional network, tag their collaborators and discover producers, session musicians and more. The app is free at this point, with plans to launch premium features further down the line. The Beta version should emerge in the next couple of weeks – you can sign up for the waitlist here.