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Posted inNews

Startup Files: Serenade offers another spin on music NFTs

In August, Serenade announced itself as the latest startup looking to help musicians and music brands create and sell NFTs.

It promised to be both accessible – fans could pay using regular debit and credit cards – and environmentally sustainable through its use of an ‘eco-friendly’ blockchain called Polygon.

Since then, Serenade has worked with artists including Super Furry Animals and Jungle, as well as music festival Strawberries & Creem. Upcoming drops include NFTs from Kaiser Chiefs, Ride, Alexis Taylor out of Hot Chip, The Game and Emeli Sandé.

Posted inNews

Startup files: Fave builds community with BTS and Taylor Swift superfans

If you’re building a platform based around superfans, launching with Taylor Swift’s ‘Swifties’ community is a bold statement of intent. As is following that up with the famous BTS Army.

This is what US-based startup Fave has done since its launch in April 2021, while also raising funding from companies including Hybe, Sony Music and Warner Music, and taking part in the Techstars Music accelerator.

Posted inNews

Music Ally startup files: Unitea rewards music’s superfans

In the last 12 months, the music industry has quickly untethered itself from the touring/streaming duopoly and more fully realised the potential of various previously-untested platforms, approaches, and products.

Artists have embraced the Direct-to-Fan ethos in all its forms: whether it’s livestream performances on Twitch, building a Patreon supporter base, or selling limited edition merchandise.

Startup Unitea thinks it has found a simple way to leverage the eagerness of super-fans and turn an artist’s direct-to-fan relationship: by turning their repeated plays of a song into its bespoke ‘Karma’ points – and those points into rewards. Brands and artists collaborate to provide those rewards and turn fandom into strong connections between all three parties.

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Music Ally startup files: Skrachy brings the livestreaming party to DJs

In the last year, a slew of new livestreaming platforms have been launched and established ones thrust to prominence. The livestreaming ecosystem is now settling down, and the various platforms are figuring out their niches and unique selling points.

For newcomer Skrachy, that niche is livestreaming specifically for DJs, with a built in discovery system and booking shop-front, plus licensing arrangements to ensure they don’t have to worry about copyright takedowns.

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Music Ally startup files: Loudly wants to create ‘Roblox for music’

Originally, Berlin-based music tech startup Loudly’s aim was to build a platform that let users quickly remix songs with the help of its AI. One swift pivot later, and Loudly now offers online creators brand-new, high-quality, personalised, and royalty-free music to be used however they like.

The switch to offering AI-powered music to creators comes despite Loudly’s AI-remixing technology sounding like the kind of things that fans, artists and labels all want: users would upload a track, and then Loudly’s AI would create remixes in different genres. The mix could then be downloaded, perhaps tweaked in a DAW, and shared. The AI seems to work well – whipping MØ’s ‘Blur’ into various remixes, including drum’n’bass, trap, and a ‘stripped down’ (i.e. acoustic) version.

Building on experience gained from sibling product Music Maker Jam – the smartphone music creation app that has been around for nearly a decade and has 25m installs – CEO and co-founder Rory Kenny had an idea. “Wouldn’t it be great if people could remix tracks by artists they love? So we went to labels and there was interest.”

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Music Ally startup files: Anything World’s voice-created metaverses

The metaverse, along with things like the seemingly all-pervasive NFTs, is one of those buzzy ideas that feels like the future but can be hard to precisely grasp.

Broadly speaking, the Metaverse is a virtual “other” space where you play or hangout with other (virtual) people. It could be something as simple as a game arena like Fortnite, it could be something less gun-toting, like the creative build-it-and-play-it game space Roblox, or it could be a virtual world like Second Life, Rec Room or Facebook Horizon, where people gather for a social experience.

Essentially, a metaverse can be what you want it to be: the point is you go somewhere and have fun with other people, unified behind a common purpose. It’s a bit like going to a football match: there’s a defined environment and activity, but what you personally get out of it is up to you.

Metaverses are clearly also ideal spaces to host virtual concerts, and 2020 was littered with examples of artists, their live shows stricken by coronavirus, leaping into virtual spaces to perform.

Posted inNews

Music Ally Startup Files: Freeme invests in Afrobeats’ bright future

Freeme – pronounced “free me” – is an independent distributor & label services company based in Lagos. Founder and CEO Michael Ugwu has international industry experience: he was previously general manager at Sony Music West Africa, and is the first Black person to be appointed to the Merlin Board.

As a business, Freeme has twin focuses: providing services in the Nigerian market, and acting as a bridge between Afrobeats culture and curious markets in the rest of the world.

Freeme has recently relaunched, with a new platform, Freeme+, providing A&R, marketing, sync licensing and publishing services for independent African rights holders. Freeme+ will operate under Freeme Digital’s new premium label services and distribution arm Freeme Music.

Ugwu’s explanation of what Freeme does is simple: “We offer access to the African content. We’re in Lagos, working with Afrobeats. Our focus is squarely on music of African origin. Our African DNA and roots makes us different, and we educate and guide clients across the industry.”