The final session of the NY:LON Connect conference showcased the winners of Music Ally’s SI:X initiative. Each startup had – appropriately – six minutes to introduce themselves to the NY:LON audience.

At the end, there was a vote – “just for fun!” noted host Paul Brindley of Music Ally – where audience members voted DAACI their favourite of the event. But all six startups are doing notably innovative work in the music tech space, and had plenty of milestones to share.

Xann Schwinn, Co-Founder & CEO, Biiah (US/UK)

Schwinn explained that one billion people live with a mental disorder – and singing can be part of improving how people feel. Singing, she said, is an ideal tool, as it is already “an intrinsic part of the human experience – an important regulator of health, and has been linked with slowing the progressions of neurodegenerative disease.”

Biiah, a structured and gamified in-app singing platform, is focussing on the workplace: singing helps with happiness and stress reduction at work and even with employee retention.  ExxonMobil is currently one employer that pays Biiah a subscription fee so that staff can use the platform. Biiah has 21 clients in the UK, is part of the Techstars programme in the US, and can now link the app to wearables – in order to better track users’ progress.

Tom Allen, CEO, Curve Royalty Systems (UK)

Both Allen and Curve have had a busy time recently: the company has just been acquired by Downtown Music Holdings, and Allen has just returned from paternity leave. Allen explained how Curve – which Allen says has grown steadily without taking any funding –  provides the interface for simple artist royalty reporting: “this isn’t the old 100-page PDF, with Germany on page 450.”

Clients, he said, now enjoy reporting royalties, and some are doing it faster – quarterly or even monthly. Their recently-launched Lite tier – priced at $20 per month – allows it to be available to a wider audience, and in 2022, Curve calculated over a billion dollars in royalties.

Rachel Lyske, CEO, DAACI (UK)

AI film composer DAACI helps users “tell a story journey over a period of time with music” that’s composed by a “meta composition tool”. Lyske explained how a platform like this could provide a dynamic soundtrack for gamers, who could listen to unique musical experiences, even if they are playing the same game together.

“We’re not replacing composers”, Lyske said, “they are essential to the system.” The company has been part of Abbey Road Red, and has just been granted the first patent of its kind in the US for its technology..

Les Seddon-Brown, Co-Founder, Hawkr (UK)

Merch, Seddon-Brown said, is an increasingly important part of the artist’s income mix. Hawkr allows artists to create virtual merch stands, and uses print-on-demand tech to produce the merch and send it to their home.

The current merch stand at venues is outdated, Seddon-Brown said, and Hawkr allows more options and creativity: merch stands can have timers to encourage purchases, or can be geo-located, allowing merch that’s exclusive to specific events.

Seddon-Brown thinks it’s a better system for fans: the stand never sells out and there’s no queue.  Artists appreciate it as they don’t need to lug merch around, and there’s no left-over stock – and Hawkr, he said, means artists make more money on average per fan.

Nicc Johnson, CEO and Co-Founder, Music Health (Australia)

The impact of music on the brains of dementia patients is measurable and effectrive, Johnson explained. But dementia care is hard, and there will be 150% more people living with dementia by 2050 – so caregivers need more tools to do their job better.

Music, Johnson said, can improve memory, behaviour and communication. Vera, its app, allows careers to easily augment important and stressful daily dementia care moments – and Vera, which has a catalogue of recognisable music via a deal with a major label, can provide mood-based music selections to help patients during interactions with carers. 

The technology can, in the future, be applied to other health issues, like Parkisons disease. The company already has $3m of deals in place with partners.

Mitchell Bayer-Goldman, Co-Founder & COO, Volta XR (UK)

Volta is a tool that allows artists to make their own interactive experiences, explained Bayer-Goldman. Artists are trying to impress fans in ever-new ways, and they want to create high quality visuals for fans.

Volta XR is a no-code platform that lets artists create their own visual space, and via native support for all the main DAWs, it can be connected to music that is being performed. It can then be connected to an LED wall in a venue, for instance, and monetisation comes by connecting with the crowd through interactions with the visuals. It has powered shows at Glastonbury, and will be involved with Richie Hawtin’s upcoming tour.

The NY:LON Connect global music summit is run by Music Biz and Music Ally. This year’s event is held in association with Orfium and Viberate, and hosted by Reed Smith. The Innovation and Startups track is sponsored by Artist Growth and Ingrooves Music Group. You can find all our coverage of the conference sessions here.

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