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Tips for music/tech startups from accelerators and incubators

Startup accelerators and incubators are a familiar part of the technology industry, working with emerging startups to help them build their products and services, and refine their pitches to investors and customers/users alike.

One of the positive trends in recent years has been the emergence of dedicated music-tech accelerators and incubators, backed by labels and other music companies, keen to support innovative new startups.

In the US, the well-regarded Techstars network has been running a music accelerator since 2017, but the UK has its own equivalents too: Abbey Road Red, launched in 2015 by London’s famous Abbey Road Studios, and Marathon Artists Labs, set up in 2016 by independent label Marathon Artists.

In this video, Abbey Road managing director Isabel Garvey and Marathon Artists chairman Paul-René Albertini explain how their programmes work; why they think it’s important for the music industry to have open arms to tech innovators; and offer some advice to startups wanting to work with the industry.

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Abbey Road Red seeks more diversity in startup founders

Abbey Road Studios wants to recruit more teams with women founders to its Abbey Road Red startup accelerator, according to the studios’ MD Isabel Garvey.

“We are acutely aware that we have no female founders, and very few women in our founder teams, and we are trying to be a little more diverse,” said Garvey, in her introduction at Abbey Road’s latest startup-demo event.

“If you know talented women running [music/tech] businesses, or looking to run businesses, send them our way.”

Abbey Road Red’s newest recruit, AI-music startup LifeScore, does have a female co-founder, COO, Chris Walch. In his presentation at the event last night, CEO Philip Sheppard also pointed out that three quarters of his company’s advisory board are women.

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Abbey Road talks its first hackathon: ‘A space for bright ideas’

Earlier this month, Abbey Road Studios in London held its first hackathon, with 80 participants from startups and universities as well as 30 music-industry experts coming together to experiment with AI, hardware and other technologies.

Organised by the Abbey Road Red incubator, the hackathon’s winning ideas included Rapple, an AI rap battler; HRMNI, a collaborative music-making app; a VR/AR synthesizer created by a team called XtraSynth; and a vegetable-based music tool called SoundSoup.

Music Ally talked to Abbey Road’s senior digital manager Dominika Dronska after the event, for her perspective on the hackathon itself, the trends that emerged from what participants created.

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Japanese lyric-animating startup Cotodama joins Abbey Road Red

UK-based music/tech incubator Abbey Road Red has announced the latest startup to join its program: Japanese firm Cotodama. The company will spend the next six months working with the incubator at Abbey Road Studios in London to refine its technology and business model.

Which is? Cotodama has developed software that can create visuals based on a song’s lyrics: “a proprietary Expression Engine algorithm which uses song structure and mood data to determine how to animate the lyrics for each song played and which Cotodama-designed animation template to use” as Abbey Road put it in its announcement yesterday.

“The lyrics are then animated using lyric timing information down to each individual letter exclusively supplied to Cotodama by metadata provider Sync Power Corporation. This all takes place in real-time while the listener is choosing and listening to songs.”

Posted inStartups

Abbey Road Red incubator adds two more startups… and a new boss

Abbey Road Studios in London has announced that HumTap and Lickd will be the next two companies to join its Abbey Road Red startup incubator, under the wing of a new boss for the program.

Karim Fanous, formerly head of research and insight at Music Ally (that’s us!) is taking over from Jon Eades, who has been in charge of Abbey Road Red since its launch in 2015.

“Karim is a classically-trained musician and brings a really broad skillset to Abbey Road Red. We’re really looking forward to seeing what he can do with Red going into the future,” said Isabel Garvey, managing director at Abbey Road Studios.